I have been trying to test out more restaurants and the fact that my friend Denise just rejoined Microsoft and flies in from San Diego regularly has given me a perfectly enjoyable excuse to do that. We try to go out to someplace nice each time she is in town. Last night we tried Café Juanita. It's one of those restaurants you hear about a lot. We decided to go impulsively last night. I love to talk about food so if you are anything like me and want all the details, here's what I had:
To drink with dinner: Verdicchio di Castello di Jesi '06 Vallerosa, Marche
Note: super light, buttery and slightly acidic. Paired well with butter/oil based foods.
Baby Beets with Marcona Almond Butter and Gorgonzola Bombolino
Note: I could have done without the Bambolino (not implying that I didn't eat it anyway), but this was my favorite thing I ate (I adore beets). The almond butter had a nice saltiness to balance out the beets and the texture was interesting. I am still thinking about it today, wondering when I can score some again. Amazing.
Then I had:
Tagliatelle with Chanterelles and Parmigiano Reggiano
Note: I am not one of those people that loves mushrooms, but their meat selections didn't meet my boring chicken/fish/beef taste (sorry, I just don't go for the darker gamey meets like rabbit, lamb and goose and we know how I feel about pork. But if you like those meats, this is a great place for you). Anyway, the chanterelles were lovely in this dish; very meaty, not chewy and they were whole so you could tell you were getting the good stuff. The sauce (which I think was the liquid from cooking the mushrooms) was light and pulled it together. Pasta was also light an not eggy like they can be sometimes. Nothing sticky, just the illusion of lightness :)
And then we split:
Pumpkin Cake with Cider Caramel
Note: I think it was described differently on the menu and had ginger ice cream and boozy nuts. Great seasonal dessert for when you want something like that. But nothing really surprising on the plate. Still quite good.
Malted Creme Brulee.
Note: This was sick in a good way. Will definitely get this again.You could definitely taste the maltiness. Mmmmm.
And because I was feeling adventurous, I drank some liqueur that was very herbal and eucalyptusy and started with an "F" but I can't remember the name and it was oddly good and weird.
I'm definitely adding Café Juanita to my list of preferred restaurants. The service was appropriate, bordering on charming, but not hovering. And they had the best music piping in. I'm not sure how I would describe it but it was music that you recognize but wouldn't normally think of as dinner music. Loved it.
Big thumbs up for Café Juanita. Plus, I love playing informal food critic!