Saturday, February 07, 2009


So last night the Lovely Bride and I went out to celebrate our Anniversary. In numbers, we have exceeded the yearly scale that can be found at Wikipedia, but one site I tracked down calls it the "Original Pictures" anniversary. You may take that as you see fit (My first reaction was - watch Star Wars when Han shoots first).

Last year we went to Hawaii for a major number anniversary, and while this year was smaller, it was no less impressive. We went to Canlis for dinner. Now Canlis is the best (and I believe priciest) restaurant in Seattle. It is perched at the south end of the Aurora bridge such that, unless you are looking for it, you shoot right past it heading north. It has a great view out on Gasworks Park and Lake Union. It has a dress code (I know, shock). It is very, very expensive.

And it is worth it. The Lovely Bride and I took the tasting menu, which I have recommended before in these pages. The tasting menu is an ever-changing selection of many smaller courses, each one paired with a suitable wine. I like it because it gets me out of my comfort zone into foods and preparations that I would otherwise shy away from.

Last night we started with steelhead roe served on a smoked potato panna cotta and baked potato gélee. Now as an appetizer this might send one back to safer choices (a smoked potato panna cotta? What the heck is that? Very delicious, is the answer). A yellow fin tuna, with satsuma mandarins, fennel and taggiasca olives. A dorade (its a fish - I didn't know), served with sunchokes, bouillabaisse and chorizo (and tapioca pearls). A beef tenderloin with truffles, the beef cooked in the sous vide style (meaning the meat appeared rare but tasted medium, and melted in the mouth), a chaser of a fromage blanc sorbet before finishing with milk chocolate mousse, espresso caramel and mascarpone sorbet.

This is serious food, to be savored, not shoveled. Small portions that inspire small bites. Excellent presentation. Food as art form, to be appreciated. You shouldn't barrel through the Louvre (though there are those that do), and this is a meal that you linger over. The pacing from the staff is perfectly meshed, so the wine pairings, the courses, and the clearing all moved with a sense of sorcerous mystery.

And yes, the wine pairings. The idea that wine goes with food is a bit of a mystery to many of us, and indeed, I am often drinking what is available/what the Lovely Bride ordered. But this meal makes the case that wine pairings are not an urban legend. The wines matched each course perfectly. And yeah, the sommelier's task is made tougher by the fact that the Lovely Bride's allergies forced a substitution on the desert course, and getting a wine to pair with grapefruit sorbet is a challenge (On the other hand, I had tawny port for the first time last night. Hmmmmm port...)

The end result was a perfect evening that completely worked, melting away a stressful day and creating a perfect evening. The morning, after all the variety of wines, both LB and I are paying a bit of the price. But like the meal itself, it was worth it.

More later,