Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Supper Club: Californios

This week marked our inaugural supper club dinner!  The concept is simple: get a group of foodies together and take turns coordinating reservations at some of the most in-demand, renowned restaurants.  Our current crew consists of Brittany, Ari, Maryana, Elyse (who unfortunately couldn't make this one!), and myself. 

Brittany kicked us off with the Michelin-rated Californios, featuring a seasonal 16-course tasting menu that builds on traditional Mexican cuisine.  The food was simple and delightful, not to mention refreshing for summer.  Many dishes took tried and true recipes to the next level by focusing on the technique, such as grinding grain longer for a smoother texture, or adding incredibly high quality, rare ingredients to the mix.

Walking in reminded me of Alinea, as the building was minimalist and unmarked.  The restaurant itself was very small, with only about six tables lining one wall, and an exposed bar/kitchen on the other. The tones were dark, with splashes of color in the art on the walls or the dahlias on the tables. 

We were infatuated with the staff, who kept things light and friendly.  There was never an air of pretension, and we had a great time with them!

I'll walk you through our meal with captions, and highlight any anecdotes along the way.

"Let's jump a page and go right into France." 
-Assistant GM, and our favorite on staff

Melon agua fresca, hella fancy watermelon, and cured wagyu chicharron

You can't have a Michelin meal without wagyu beef and caviar (both to make appearances later on, too)!  I think it might be a rule.

Masa and pineapple al pastor in a treasure box

Soft-shell crab taco
Black bean tamale
(they ground the masa for 6 hours-it was SO smooth!)

Delicately folded coconut ceviche

Corn and crickets (we found out the latter later) 
A crowd favorite!

Lobster taco (!!)

Octopus with tomato water

Three bean puree with caviar
Another winner!

Bass with carrots
"I've never tasted a more carroty carrot" -Brittany
(We all agreed.)

Carne asada wagyu 
(The 2012 Mi Sueno cab was spectacular!)

DIY lamb tacos

At this point I was starting to hope we were almost done...16 courses really starts to catch up with you!

I love how Maryana almost looks like she's in prayer as she takes in each new dish.  I have multiple photos of her looking just like this at different points in the meal, hands in lap, head bowed, taking in the miracle of food before her!

 Goat cheese and berries

White guava sorbet on pistachio butter

This pistachio butter had us all raving.  It was so tacky (great describing word, Maryana) and smooth.  We told them to bottle it, and we would've bought several on our way out! 

At this point I'd had enough wine (plus the margaritas we'd had at El Techo before dinner!) that I thought Maryana's head in a glass was an elevated form of art.  Nailed it.


Finally, here's a look at the menu they give you at the end of dinner.  Not a ton of insight into exactly all we ate and the details they put into each dish, but a good reminder of our journey at Californios!

The whole evening was an absolute delight-looking around the table and laughing with ladies I love, indulging ourselves at our every turn, learning from the meal and from each other-I can't wait for more nights just like this one.

Stay tuned for the next Supper Club in October!

Return to the Lighthouse

We decided to make the most of Lauren's trip to California by planning a quick girls' getaway at Pigeon Point.  Brittany and I had been three years ago for #lighthousepartyofsix, and were excited to share the spot's magic with Maryana and Lauren.

It was a beautiful weekend, with wisps of white clouds polka-dotting the blue skies.  We picked up rations in Pescadero and settled into the hostel at Pigeon Point.  Now I'm not normally one to stay in hostels, but this place is all about location.  It's right off Highway 1 near Halfmoon Bay, surrounded by nothing, on the cliffs of the Pacific Ocean.  The place is absolutely serene, with sweeping views, bright stars in the sky, and the sounds of ocean waves rolling through your windows.  Twenty-four hours here can feel like a week, in the best way!

I was liable to bust a gut the whole time, the girls had me laughing so hard.  From disaster pants to Mother Teresa (don't ask), we were holding our sides or wiping tears from our eyes more often than not.  So much silliness. 

There was plenty of time for quiet moments as well, taking in the beauty around us and some much-needed R&R. 

Dinner was perfect.  We snagged lots of fresh produce, artichoke bread, and local goat cheese from the market and created quite a spread for ourselves while overlooking the water.

Finally it was time for the long-awaited moment: hot tub on the cliffs at sunset!  We played lightning rounds of the question game and tried not to boil alive as we took in the phenomenal view. 

That night Brittany taught the girls shithead (which appropriately we learned at a hostel bar in Puerto Rico, she reminded me), and after a few rounds we moved on to the fire pit to roast marshmallows and chatted a bit with the other people staying on-site. 

Next morning, we explored Pescadero, making stops at Harley Farms and Pie Ranch. 

As you know, Brittany loves baby goats

We played more shithead throughout the morning at various stops, got at some delicious goat cheese, and later finished it all off with pie.

It was an absolutely rejuvenating, soul-nourishing weekend with people I love!  Pigeon Point will always be such a special place to me, with new memories built upon those before.