July 29, 2023

Cali night

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It's been a while since we last hung out with Mr. and Mrs. Birdiegolf, and we finally got a chance to do so after they returned from their globetrotting. When I asked for venue suggestion, I wasn't the least bit surprised when Neighborhood came up. It HAS been quite some time since my last visit to what has been my favorite restaurant for years, and I'd been thinking about dropping in, so I was only too happy to say 'YES'.

I knew that the Kitchen Nazi Man in White T-shirt isn't around as he's gallavanting in China, and in fact Shirley was told to remind me of this fact. Well... I'm perfectly happy to come here when the boss isn't around, as the downside of having fewer special dishes is offset by the upside of being able to order dishes I really wanna eat. So here we go!

Smoked fourfinger threadfin - smoked fish here is always a good idea, and tonight it was a relatively small fourfinger threadfin (馬友) which, to be honest, could be an individual portion.

Celtuce salad / Parmesan / anchovy / bacon - celtuce is now easily one of Foursheets' favorite vegetables, so I wasn't at all surprised when we ordered this up. Curiously this was done like a Caesar salad, and somehow I'm not really used to seeing celtuce cut into cross sections as little round discs. My only complain is that we didn't get enough bacon...

Sicilian red prawn tartare / burrata / piquillo pepper - I thought the prawn tartare worked well with the piquillo peppers, but not sure why the burrata has been added into the mix...

Morrisseau mussels from Normandy / curry / dill

Handmade garganelli / wild boar ragu - YES!!!! With the Kitchen Nazi away, I am free to order up my perennial favorite pasta! So, soooo happy!

Roast pigeon / fig - the pigeon was pretty nice, as always, and the local figs were very sweet. I do love the fragrance from the fig leaves, too.

Pork sausage stuffed turban sea whelk - I had a similar dish on my last visit, so I was pretty happy to take this. The minced pork came with some spicy kick, which was pretty nice.

"Mayura Station" wagyu short rib roast beef / potato / lettuce / garlic confit - with two bottles of big Cali reds, beef seemed like a good idea. This is a perennial favorite, as the slices of fatty wagyu is just so, sooo smooth. In fact, just the thought of this would make me drool. And it was still very, very tasty... if only slightly less juicy and moreish tonight compared to previous visits. Flavors were still the same, though... especially those chunky and bewitchingly tasty taters.

Roast marrow bone / "Perseus" ossetra caviar - this combination has always been a crowd-pleaser, too. But we left this a little late in the game, and I didn't feel I should have this my customary way - on sourdough bread. That doesn't make it any less tasty.

Giant grouper collar / tomato / potato - one of the daily specials, and cooked just the way I've always enjoyed it here. The tomato provides refreshing acidity, the piment d'espelette with extra layers and a slight hint of kick, and of course garlic just makes everything better. Having said that, this was a little too big for our little group at this stage of the meal.

White chocolate cannoli / pistachio - half our party normally wouldn't touch dessert, but this was tasty nonetheless. Very fluffy and airy filling.

Canelés - and cat anus to finish our wonderful meal, as always.

The wine theme tonight was Californian, and we brought an interesting mix:

2014 Ultramarine Heintz Vineyard Rosé, disgorged November 13, 2018 - a little salty plum on the palate. It's nice and easy to drink, but I felt it was a little too simple.

The Film Buff was also in the house, and very kindly shared a glass of Chinese white wine with me:

2017 Adong Cru - medium ripeness but the acidity is here. Not too toasty, and comparatively mild. Nose was a little strange, like some kind of baijiu but without the sharp alcohol. Not really a fan.

2006 Marcassin Chardonnay Three Sisters Vineyard - pretty nutty on the nose, lovely toasty notes. After being in glass for more than an hour, this opened up and turned really buttery, with lots of vanilla like crème brûlée. Still nutty around 2½ hours later. This was so, sooo good.

2006 Sine Qua Non Syrah Raven No.5 - drank 45 minutes after decanting. Pretty ripe and almost jammy, with fragrant spices, almost like potpourri and forest. Pretty smooth on the palate now.

2013 Toymaker Cabernet Sauvignon - decanted around 1 hour after opening, and drank around 1 hour after decanting. Smoky nose. Sweet on the palate. Very Californian.

Much too much food... but so good to be back!

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