Friday, April 23, 2010

40th Birthday dinner

I've had a couple of people ask about the birthday dinner that the Sweet Partner in Crime and I had to celebrate my official passage into middle age. We had dinner at Hugo in Oakley. We'd never eaten there before, but we kept hearing great things about it. 

Predictably, Wednesday night was pretty slow at the restaurant, so we were able to sit back, relax, and soak in the decadence. We weren't disappointed. We chose to do the "tasting menu" -- a slate of small plates paired with appropriate wines. When we sat down, the maitre'd asked us if we'd like to "augment our meal with a foie gras course" for a small charge. We said yes. How often do you get foie gras, after all?

Here's how it ended up with the wines -- let the games begin. (Please forgive me, I can't remember some of the garnishes and sides or the wine producers, but they were divine...)
  • Diver scallop with arugula salad (Australian Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc)
  • Green bean salad (New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc)
  • Twice-cooked pork belly (Alsatian Pinot Blanc)
  • Yellowtail in thin pastry with gnudi (Oregon Pinot Noir)
  • Foie gras on buttermilk biscuits w/almond butter & grape compote (PB&J! --  Moscato d'Asti)
  • Homemade spicy pork & beef sausage on white bean puree (Rioja Tempranillo)
  • Shrimp & grits (richest grits I've ever tasted -- Australian Shiraz)
  • Huguenot tort (apples & walnuts) with maple syrup ice cream milkshake blended with Frangelico & vodka.
We were fine up through the foie gras, which was unbelievably good. The last couple of courses were just so rich that we had a hard time working our way through them. We managed, don't get me wrong -- but we were painfully full after that little adventure. Not much more to the evening than to get home and collapse.  So worth it, though. Absolute overindulgent bliss. 

Hugo definitely gets a thumbs up as an "occasion" restaurant. The service was efficient, but our waiter had a shtick that was clear he stuck to almost robotically. Questions were met with a little annoyance for breaking his Shatner-cadenced delivery. That aside, we never felt rushed. The whole experience lasted better than 2 1/2 hours. Great pace and a great place.

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