Posted by Lauren
Last night Kyle and I went out for a special dinner. I wanted to thank him for teaching me how to be a robot and make mechanical noises without moving my lips. I am now a robot ventriloquist.
How much of that is true? Beepbo Bopp Phizzzzip Phizzzzip Boooop Beep.
Hahaha …. um … Regardless of the occasion, I chose Cin Cin Wine Bar in Los Gatos (368 Village Lane) to say “THANKS!!!!” to my boyfriend and that’s all you need to know :)
Cin-Cin [pronounced chin-chin] is an Italian toast meaning “to your health.” This wine bar caters to families, friends, and lovebirds alike. Their food + wine is sustainable, organic, and thoughtful. “Cin-Cin is a place where you can nourish your palate with pure, sophisticated and intense flavors.”
There are three eating areas within the small, dimly lit restaurant. When you first walk in, you get a great view of the bar and a few scattered tables. When I walked in Kyle was sipping on a beer reading his Economist. Cute.
The other two dining areas are open, feature both high and low tables, and highlight many natural surfaces (bamboo, cork, recycled glass, and black walnut). The hostess directed Kyle and I to the back of the restaurant (the back’s where it’s at!), next to a window that let in great, natural food photography light.
Too bad the sun set while we scoured the menu. There were simply too many enticing dishes to choose from! Cheers to three courses…
First Course – Soba Noodle Wraps - shaved apple, fennel confit, chipotle aioli, fried shiitake mushrooms, cilantro-mint vinaigrette, bibb lettuce cups
I loved the texture of the fried shiitake mushrooms; they tasted like bacon! The chipotle aioli packed great heat. The shaved apple was overwhelmed by the mound of soba noodles, which were covered in a light cilantro-mint dressing. Less soba noodles would have made these lettuce cups more finger-food friendly, but overall I totally enjoyed the flavor combinations (esp. that chipotle aioli!).
Second Course – Huevos Rancheros - truffled Cauliflower steak, 63 degree egg, salsa guajillo, crème fraiche, quinoa, charred avocado guacamole, crispy tortilla
Phizzzzip Dadooo Phizzzzip Dadooo – in robot that means HOLY MOLY HOLY MOLY.
Our waiter surprised us with this dish (we couldn’t choose between three of the small plates, so we had him choose!). Later he explained how this dish originated: after a night out drinking with the chef, both of them headed back to Cin Cin around 3 am and pulled these wild flavors together. Our waiter was the first to try it and I’m glad he gave it his seal of approval, because it was wildly delicious.
Let’s break it down:
- 63 degree egg is cooked in a sous vide machine (1 hour at 63 degrees Celsius, cooked in shell = perfect, custard-like egg whites + thick, gooey yolk)
- salsa guajillo – I learned on Wikipedia’s guajillo entry that the guajillo pepper has both a green tea flavor and berry undertones. I did not pick up on those while eating this dish, but I certainly LOVED the consistency and delicate heat
- truffled cauliflower – I could not discern the truffle-age but I am a fan of cauliflower regardless!
Third Course – Crispy Duck Confit - coriander and herb spaetzle, pinot jelly, St. Andre cheese, ancho cress and orange salad
Kyle divided the ancho cress + oranges between our two side plates and then took the meat off the bone. We decided to swirl the shredded duck, spaetzle, and pinot jelly together. Great idea! Between the spaetzle and pinot jelly, I could have been a happy robot, but adding duck – which I, um, never ever eat – made this a dish to remember. I’m no cheese head, but the St. Andre cheese chunks reminded me a lot of brie. Maybe they are in different cheese families? Alton Brown would know.
Dinner deserved two enthusiastic thumbs up! (Pretend I look enthusiastic, because I really was.)
While the cheesecake beignets at Cin Cin looked good, I knew that dessert would have to be enjoyed elsewhere… A few months ago, my aunt Cori, cousin Morgan, mom, Nicole, and I ate a glorious meal at California Cafe (50 University Ave, Los Gatos, CA). We had two or three dessert plates and one of them became my holy grail of dessert. That’s saying a LOT for this sweet-toothed girl!!
California Cafe’s mission is to “provide an escape from the outside world.” That is the epitome of what this dish does to me.
Butterscotch Bread Pudding with house made caramel ice cream (for two).
This is silly good. One spoonful of the warm, gooey, silky bread pudding and I’m transformed to putty… Silly Putty. The top layer provides some crunch, the caramel ice cream provides contrast (hot ‘n’ cold ooh baby), and the rich butterscotch provides ME with one fatty smile. BBP, you are my obsession.
p.s. this is the dress I bought at Anthropologie this weekend! I tried to get a picture with Kyle when we were outside of California Cafe, but it’s apparently impossible for someone to take a picture with my Canon Rebel T1i. Come on, people. Put your eye on the viewfinder, press and hold the button. Sheesh. Sometimes a point-and-shoot would really be helpful… I might have to snag my mom’s for Vegas this weekend. Is that cool, Shirley?
Question: When was the last time you went out to dinner to celebrate? It is #BRAG time, tell us a story of your recent accomplishments!!
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