A very rare dinner
Dinner tonight at Cafe Pierre, in Manhattan Beach. Our last night down here, and a celebration because my brother David joined us as well as Cousin Marty, who was celebrating his 60th birthday.
Gail spent the morning googling fine dining, and came up with a winner. Dinner was not only good, the menu had many things you just don’t often see.
For starters, I had the foie gras, which is rare and getting rarer. I don’t think you can even get the goose liver in California; this was duck. Still great, still way too rich and fattening to enjoy very often. Not to mention pricey. I don’t think I’ve had any since we were in Reno for the nationals a year ago last March, but it’s still as good as I remember.
Gail had the marrow bones–another dish that’s almost all fat, hard to find on menus and extravagantly delicious. This portion was so large that Gail and I both couldn’t finish it, although it seems criminal to leave any. The soft, creamy marrow, spread on stiff crackers, is a delight you should try in the rare event that it is available.
David, at least, had something healthy–the tuna tartare. A lovely presentation of a tower of the raw fish with waffle cut fries to scoop it up with.
Kate had the salad with the burrata–but she probably would have just ordered the burrata if she could. It’s one of those items which become popular seemingly out of nowhere, and then you can’t imagine living without. Fresh mozzarella, injected with cream. Add just the tiniest pinch of fleur du sel (French sea salt) and you’re in heaven.
The appetizers were so good Gail just had 3 of them for dinner. Here is the pork belly–which sounds like it should be a backwoods Arkansas meal, but is on all the best menus these days. Her third appetizer were the escargots, in a modern presentation I can’t describe, but you would love.
My entree was the breast of veal, but not like the one mother used to make. This was just the sheet of tender veal, removed from the ribs and rolled, then dressed with a sauce/dressing of roasted peppers. The mashed potatoes were napped with olive oil, for a different and exciting presentation. I haven’t had a breast of veal in years, and this was just delightful.
Three people at the table ordered the 70 hours short ribs–ribs that had been cooked for 3 days, until the meat was just falling apart. I saw no leftovers.
Desserts, of course. The best was the bread pudding, which was the eggiest I have ever seen, and so good we ordered a second one.
We sang to Marty, undoubtedly annoying everyone else in the place.
We’ve had a lot of good food on this trip, but Cafe Pierre was a major highlight. Not only was the food excellent, but it was a pleasure to find a menu so different and varied. Most restaurants don’t have the nerve to stray from the common menu items, and Cafe Pierre earns plenty of credit for breaking free of the boring norms.