Friday, July 9, 2010

artisan bistro

Michelin. This word has always given me visions of rubber tires dancing in my head ... up until last week when I understood what a Michelin Recommendation means to the world of food. While my mom was in town, we tried out a new restaurant – Artisan. Artisan is situated off the beaten path in a quaint little house in Lafayette. The food and restaurant are laid back California cuisine with a twist of fancy. (that's my description, you won't find that on their website.) True to the home’s character, the bathroom is still the home’s main floor half bath (call me crazy but I really liked that.)

We decided that, although a bit chilly, we would sit outside on the patio for dinner. Mental note to self, always bring an extra layer when you dine outdoors … this is Northern California, after all. Things cool down quickly, even in the East Bay where temperatures always seem to be 80 degrees warmer than what Sam Champion from Good Morning America says that San Francisco will be enjoying any given day. (Ok, 80 degrees may be a bit of an exaggeration but the 30 degree swing just by driving through the Caldecott tunnel is very real. Why, oh why, do we live on this side of the Caldecott tunnel, you ask? Frankly, we ask ourselves that All. The. Time. )

After looking over the menu once, I thought, hmm... I’m not sure that I want to order anything on the menu. Then I looked at the menu again and realized to put away my Midwestern taste buds and be adventurous and ask the waiter about what he recommends.

Enter John Dory.

(I think Harry Belafonte sings a song about John Dory. Scratch that, Harry sings a song about John Henry, although maybe he should eat the John Dory and then write a song about it. John Dory is completely worthy of a song.) Now, before I asked the waiter, I had no idea what a John Dory was, but as it turns out, John Dory is a delicious white flaky fish. Sooo Tasty. The John Dory was plated with some kale (I think) and some white beans. We ordered a side of squash for the table. (Think zucchini – like squash, roasted. Not butternut squash, like I was expecting.) The roasted squash was excellent and I was able to get past the fact I wasn’t enjoying a fall favorite in the butternut variety. My mom enjoyed the scallops with caviar on top. Yum. Mike tried the steak with bone marrow. Yes, bone marrow. He said it was very good. I took his word for it.
For dessert we shared the Meyer lemon tart which was excellent. It even earned high marks with my mother, who makes the best lemon meringue pie in the entire world. Yes, the world. She has a trophy to prove it, or at least she should. We love our lemon meringue in my family. The lemony the better and this tart was top notch.

The wine was chose was the Kunde Zinfandel from Sonoma. We’ve never been to Kunde before, but I think now having tried the Zin, we’ll have to go check out the winery. It was really good, but to be honest, I don’t remember a single thing about it anymore. I’m still stuck on that lemon tart.

Forgive me. I am blessed with my father’s sweet tooth.

For more information on the Michelin Man, check out this article featured on the Artisan's website. See, even the Michelin Man was star struck with that lemon tart.

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