Saturday, January 27, 2007
I can't believe I've walked past this one. Right past the Chocolate Cow in Sonoma, where I've brought the twins, and been in the company of Miss Olivia, is LaSalette. When in child attention mode, I guess my restaurant radar is off. I enjoyed a leisurely lunch here while my father said good bye to his friends at Merrill Gardens. LaSalette offers contemporary Portuguese cuisine in a warm and ambient setting. The tables are made of old port cases, and the colors are earthy autumns.
My first time to try Portuguese cuisine, I decided to try something traditional, PORCO à ALENTEJANA, the classic Portuguese stew of marinated pork, tomatoes and clams. It also included thickly cut bacon and Caseira Linguica, a rustic style Portuguese Sausage, as well as lightly pan fried potatoes. I feared that I might have ordered something rather heavy/oily, but to my delight it was in a fresh light sauce and was absolutely flavorful. The rolls served with lunch were also a special Portuguese variety, crisp on the outside with a soft, dense and slightly sweet interior, accompanied by a sweet cream butter.
Needing to burn some more time, I checked out the dessert menu - very promising with lots of dishes having a fig component. (I love figs!). But when I saw the Port selection, it was all over. Being totally decadent I tried a Barros White Port from Portugal to finish off my meal. It was just as the menu note said, made with predominately muscatel grapes, a fruity white port light amber in color, with an intense aroma of honey. LaSalette also offers a small "Portuguese Market" where some authentic foods are available, including the dinner rolls in half dozen. The menu also offers a nice selection of cheese and charcuterie plates, inviting one to think of lingering in a corner just sampling these and great wines off their extensive list. A very cool find to have happened upon!