Sunday, October 28, 2012

Different type of blog entry - Per Se dining report!!!

As many people who know me know, I love to exercise and race, but I love to eat almost just as much. Which probably explains why I am a chubby little thing in spite of exercising all the time! Anyway, in that spirit, and because my mother has been asking about this a lot, I decided to do a Per Se dining report. Per Se is a restaurant that is super fancy. I had been wanting to go forever and when my friend Randy decided to come to town for a wedding I got us reservations. Which was kind of a quest in and of itself, and definitely took a while. It reminded me of when you really want to go to a concert and you have to get online the day tickets go on sale and you try and try to get them and hopefully you do. But I got us a lunch reservation and so we went!!

I thought I would go through the pictures and talk about everything we ate and the overall experience. We are food dorks so I made Randy take pictures of pretty much everything we ate. Luckily we did a five course lunch menu so there is only so much food you have to look at.

First up were two amuse bouches which we did not photograph. Tiny gougeres (basically bread wrapped around melted cheese, yum) and a little cone with salmon tartar inside it. Bananas.

Next was something I was nervous about - sea urchin "panna cotta". Now sea urchin (often called Uni at sushi restaurants where it is most commonly served) is definitely not beginner sushi. It is briny, funky, and can cause all kinds of weird feelings when you eat it. And I must say I know I must not have a sophisticated palate or whatever but I didn't love it. It is just a very strong flavor. 

For the rest of the courses there was often a choice so we would get one of each and trade halfway through. So many flavors. This was a kampachi dish (google it, I don't really know what it is) which was incredible. Very light, lots of citrus and bright flavors. I really enjoyed it. The picture doesn't do it justice but the colors were incredible.
That was a nice counterpoint to a much heavier dish which was veal sweetbreads. No this is not like a sweet roll (google it, I don't want to think about what it actually is, but it was delicious!!).
I think the next course was perhaps the highlight but well frankly everything was so amazing it's hard to say. I had half an order of these scallops:
I can't even remember everything that came with them (and they've already changed the menu) except I know there was pistachio involved. It reminded me of California. Awesome. We also split an order of halibut which was amazing:
There's crispy potato on top and then soft potato below it. So many flavors and textures that all went together so well.

After that we had a crazy Wagyu brisket that we forgot to take a picture of. It was amazing. They braised it for a day or something ridiculous so it was quite tender, and it came with pasta, spinach, and a crazy sauce. I can't give it a better description than that - it was insane.

That was followed by the fanciest "cookies and cream" dish I've ever had.

This kind of shows why I love Thomas Keller so much. He clearly was obsessed with Oreos as a child, as was I. Yet he elevates the idea of an Oreo to a fancy and amazing dessert. On the right it is a marshmallow-like substance that was bruleed. It was so good.

So you would think well that is pretty good. BUT there is more. After all that they bring you more treats in a fancy French thing called MIGNARDISES. I love them whatever they are. Some nice young man came by and showed us 24 chocolates and let us take as many as we wanted!!!
We only got four, I mean how gross can you be. They were fun to try. The best one was dark chocolate with salted caramel inside.

Then they brought something called 'coffee and donuts'. LOVE. The coffee substance was a semifreddo (kind of like ice cream) and then the donuts were warm and soft and perfect.  And there was also a tin with macarons, more chocolates, and then these little candies that looked like taffy inside.
This is seriously like heaven for me. They apparently have a five course dessert tasting menu which I will go and do if I ever reach my goal weight. Ha, like that'll happen in this lifetime, living where I live.

Anyway, I think we both agreed it was the best meal we'd ever had and just an incredible experience. The service was ridiculous. You couldn't even walk to the bathroom by yourself - they insisted on showing you the way. They sent us on our way with little bags of shortbread sandwich cookies and a book on where they get all their ingredients. Truly a meal of a lifetime and I am really lucky to have had it with my food soulmate!

Thanks also to Hurricane Sandy for barricading me in my apartment so I would get this written!


  1. Sounds like a great day Barb. Great food. BTW, we were without TV for a while, but now we have it. I LUV the food shows. :)

    You will get to race weight this winter. Trust me, nothing better than running in cool temps. :)

    Enjoy your afternoon. :)

  2. Amazing!! Thanks for blogging about it. Great pictures and wonderful descriptions!!