Kaiseki – Wakuriya (San Mateo, California
Kaiseki is a traditional multi-course Japanese dinner (in our case, 9 courses) that features food prepared in a distinctly artistic way. From Wikipedia: kaiseki is a type of art form that balances the taste, texture, appearance, and colors of food.
Our dinner at Wakuriya was definitely one that elevated food into art and vice versa. All the dishes were little worlds unto themselves — each one providing a distinct flavor, texture and visual experience. Service was top-notch and the timing of the dishes was perfectly choreographed to increase enjoyment. I would go on to say that this experience was like attending the symphony if music could be tasted. Five stars!!!
Fritto Misto – Caruso’s (Sirmione-Lake Garda, Italy)
Imagine biting into perfectly crisped fruit de mer, served with a wedge of lemon and refreshing white wine. Now imagine enjoying all that while sitting on an outdoor deck situated above a beautiful aqua lake, the sun shining warmly on you. Aaaah…yes.
House-made Burrata & Warm Marinated Grape Tomatoes – Trattoria Alessi (Desenzano dela Garda, Italy)
This amazing dish was the highlight of my meal at this quaint restaurant. The thin mozzarella pouch was tied off expertly, enclosing the creamy curds. Needless to say, it was cheese heaven!
Here’s a burrata recipe for you to try out!
Squash Blossoms // Caesar Salad with house-made croutons // Pork Ragu with cavatappi pasta // Golden Tomatoes Pizza with sausage and egg – Bantam (Santa Cruz, California)
White Chocolate Bread Pudding – Bazille (San Jose, California)
It still blows my mind how a restaurant inside Nordstrom can serve up such an amazing dessert. Looks like their attention to quality/customer service isn’t just reserved for their merchandise. This bread pudding was everything I needed it to be…soft on the inside, crispy caramelized on the outside. The creamy decadence of white chocolate and raspberry sauce brought this dish to another level. I could eat two of these in one sitting. Shopping is exercise, isn’t it?
Focaccia Prosciutto e Funghi – Bar Pasticceria alla Bragora (Venice, Italy)
I forgot the difference between a pizza and focaccia while in Italy, but I can’t forget how delicious this dish was. Look at all that ham and those mushrooms, along with the cheese melted on top. It’s enough to make you forget your own name.
Cappuccino – Torrefazione Marchi (Venice, Italy)
We discovered this espresso bar while wandering the streets of Venice. Tiny and nondescript, it was easy to walk by entrance and not know the delights that lay within. They roast their own beans and there is no seating available – a true espresso bar. We came back to this one several times during our stay, enjoying our delicious and well-made espresso drinks standing up at the bar…just like the locals!