Mar 23, 2007

schwa. 3.15.07 (you can see the very grainy and dark photos here. i'm missing shots of the sorbet and craig's dessert.)

after trying for 4 different occasions and not getting a reservation, craig and i finally just took what we could get at schwa, which we decided would be our 4 year wedding anniversary celebration dinner, just a month early. i can honestly say without a doubt that this was the most amazing dining experience i have ever had.

each course surprised and delighted me, and although there were one or two parts of the dishes that i wouldn't call my favorite, i didn't NOT like a single one. each course inspired me to experiment with the same unlikely pairing of ingredients at home, starting with the amuse:

1. amuse - beet truffle with chocolate and bacon, beet puree with white chocolate creme and powdered bacon fat

a great start to the meal. the truffle was incredibly beet-y, with a surprising gelatin-like texture and a creamy center with pure bacon essence. we were instructed to take the puree as a shot, which i did with enthusiasm anticipating the powdered bacon fat, but i didn't really taste it, but the puree was a fantastic flavor combination with the white chocolate.

2. oysters - steel cut oats with raisins, cinnamon and fried oysters, raw oyster shooter with almond milk

i was hesitant about the shooter at first, but it was actually very good. very fishy, but the fishiness paired with the sweet almond milk was great. the oats were fantastic, paired with the plump raisins and perfectly fried oysters, still wonderfully soft and creamy with a thin crunchy shell.

3. chestnut - chestnut purree with serrano ham, persimmon puree

it just kept getting better! craig described the puree as "fall in a cup". it was just that, wonderfully earthy, salty with a touch of sweetness, the serrano ham cubes added the touch of savory that sent it over the top. on the side were a persimmon puree and serrano ham both sliced thinly and cubed.

4. quail egg ravioli - ravioli with quail egg and ricotta, in brown butter with parmigiano reggiano

my favorite course. i was expecting to be thrown off by the raw egg center, but instead was blown away by the perfection of this dish. the ravioli was cooked perfectly al dente, the center warm and creamy, with the perfect egg yolk flavor. the brown butter sauce was intense and added a warm and delicate ending that made me sigh.

5. arctic char caviar - celery root and quince puree with smoked arctic char caviar, bruleed top and pink peppercorn

a very interesting dish, you break through the brulee to find smoked arctic char caviar atop pureed celery root and quince. this was a step down from the ravioli, but i thoroughly enjoyed eating this course.

6. lobster - butter poached lobster with brussel sprout leaves, parsnip puree, mushroom foam and black truffle shavings

easily just behind the ravioli in my favorites list, although the lobster was just a tad overcooked. craig said that two of his three pieces were perfect, but all three of mine were just a tad chewy. i quickly let that slide, though, because the mushroom foam, paired with the brussel sprout leaves and truffles made my mouth so happy i couldn't talk. it was a challenge not to lick the dish when we were finished.

7. rabbit- rabbit confit with pomegranate arils and puree, turnip puree and queso de valdeon

i found this dish rather unmemorable. it was delicious, don't get me wrong, but between the lobster and the beef it sort of got lost in my culinary memory. the turnip puree was a great flavor addition to the sweet/tart pomegranate puree and melt-in-your-mouth rabbit, but it was hard to get onto my fork as it was thinly spread about the undulating rim of the dish.

8. beef - trio of beef - tartare with quail egg, pickled tongue, braised short ribs with sweet potato puree

great presentation, the tartare was atop a plastic ice cube with the quail egg delicately balanced on top. it was the perfect temperature, very simple, not overseasoned, just the essence of beef and egg. the tongue was so tender, not too pickly, absolutely delicious. but the best was saved for last with the beef short rib. so tender it just fell apart when i touched it with my fork, and paired with the sweet potato puree it was just like heaven. we definitely lingered on this part of the dish for as long as we could. it was at this point during the meal that we both vocalized that we wished the meal would never end.

9. cheese - morbier cheese risotto with summer puree

wow, this was amazing. my #3 of the night. a little spoon with a bite of morbier cheese risotto, so strong and pungent with a tiny taste of an intense green summer puree to bring the taste buds back down. more than a taste would have been too much to handle, but still that one taste left me wanting more.

10. sorbet - rose water sorbet with raspberry puree

served atop another plastic ice cube, the sorbet was balanced in a little crater of the raspberry puree. it was so fresh and delicate, with the intense flavor of rose, it revived a flood of emotion in me, reminding me of my childhood. i couldn't put my finger on exactly what it was, but i shed a tiny tear as my feelings ran wild. i've never had a reaction to food like this, and it was a good thing, again, that it was only a taste or else it would have been too overwhelming.

11. dessert -me- chocolate brownies with some sort of ice cream, one of which was coated in finely crushed nuts (i'd had a lot of wine) -craig- pretzel crusted dates stuffed with caramel and mustard seed, anchor steam foam, pretzel sticks, tumeric ice cream

at this point we were offered some dessert wine that the table next to us had left behind, and we gleefully accepted. then the desserts came out. craig had the dates and i had chocolate brownies. craig's dish was a great flavor combo with the cooling creamy ice cream, salty pretzel, sweet dates and tangy mustard, but i felt that it was a bit too much for me. (though i've been salivating over the memory of the flavors ever since) at the time i very much preferred my chocolate brownies with ice cream, although unfortunately i don't remember the details. two+ bottles of wine will do that.

1 comment:

Erielle said...

Wow, that sounds amazing. I can't wait to go someday. Can't wait. I might even be able to get excited about eating an oyster and/or a quail egg, if you say they are delicious. You were right about the blood orange cosmo at Lula, so you must be right about the ravioli too!