My new favorite cheese

If you eat in restaurants as much as we do, you notice as new foods become the latest rage, only to be supplanted by the next big thing being marketed.

Fourteen years ago, I first saw a salad with warm goat cheese, at Lulu in Reno.  Then I saw it at Rivoli, in Albany.  Then I saw it everywhere.

Later, figs were on every menu.  In salads, mixed with vegetables, roasted with the prime rib.

Sweetbreads came and went.

Beets were big a couple of years ago.

Brussels sprouts, the over-cooked bane of Micky’s fraternity experience, have come back fried, sauteéd, poached, roasted and who knows how else.

And now, all the best places are offering burrata, a mind blowing hybrid of fresh mozzarella and fresh cream.  It comes in a ball shape, and when you cut into it the a cream and cheese mixture flows out.  I am unable to pass it up–if it’s on the menu, it will be in front of me to start the meal–burrata is served as an appetizer/first course, with bread and Italian cured meats, or as a caprese salad with the ripest, freshest tomatoes available.

Tonight we had dinner in Mill Valley at Bungalow 44, and you know what I started with:

Burrata, toast, olives and cured meat–the perfect way to start a meal.

 

Strangely, not everyone thinks the same way I do,so they offer a few other dishes.  I don’t much care for oysters, but the presentation is good to look at:

 

Fresh oysters on a bed of ice.

 

Brussels sprouts may not be the latest big thing, but they’re still popular, and Bungalow 44 knows just what to do with them.  This is a warm salad, with sprouts, eggs, bacon (which is always overcooked in my opinion) and a vinegary dressing.  If they’d had this at Eta Beta Pi when Mike went to Cornell, he’d love it as much as I do.

 

Not exactly salad with thousand island dressing, the warm brussels sprout salad in a work of art.

 

Another new item suddenly common on plates is quinoa (pronounced keen-wa), a South American grain supposedly rich in all sorts of good things for you.  All I know for sure is that it tastes great.

Quinoa was the bed my Ahi was balanced on.  Ahi that was perfectly seared; light and delicious.

The right way to serve Ahi tuna, resting atop red quinoa

Bungalow 44 is part of a restaurant group including the Buckeye Ranch in Marin and Trevigne in the Napa Valley, and they know what they are doing.  We completely enjoyed our meal, right through the butterscotch pudding we had for dessert.  It’s a good enough reason to go to Mill Valley all by itself.

 

 

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