Wednesday, August 17, 2011

An Enchanted Evening

The Tavern at Lark Creek

A friend and I decided to try an evening at The Tavern at Lark Creek when Chef Bradley Ogden was making a guest appearance.  I'll bottom line it here: Chef Ogden is making a guest appearance one more time this summer, and it's a great opportunity for a delicious evening!  More details on the last opportunity on August 25 at the end of the post.

Years before I moved to Marin, I came to the bay area on frequent business trips.  I remember driving by the grove of Redwoods by the the Lark Creek Inn, and thinking it was the patch that reminded me most of my hometown area north of Seattle.  It was what attracted me to put Marin at the top of my list when I was transferred here and was looking for a home.  And finally I was eating under this very grove!  

It was such a pleasant evening, the weather was just right and the setting was elegant.  My friend chose to go with Chef Ogden's prix fixe $35 menu.  

Heirloom Tomato Salad

So she started with the Organic Cucumber and Heirloom Tomato Salad, as did I.  This was exquisite!  So fresh and bursting with flavor!


The next course on the special prix fixe menu was Mom's Meatloaf with garlic mashed potatoes and Blue Lake Beans.  My friend raved about this dish.  She reported that the meatloaf seemed to be made out of delicious and tender steak, very meaty.  And the potato flavor of the potatoes actually showed through beautifully.  And the beans had a nice snap.

Idaho Rainbow Trout

I diverged to try one of the regular menu items, Idaho Rainbow Trout, brown butter, hazelnuts and  zucchini hazelnut salad with sauce gribiche.  It was delicious, and I especially was interested in the zucchini salad as it was so tender.  I wasn't sure if it were steamed or just lightly marinated.

My menu questions were answered since both Chef Ogden Bradley and Chef Aaron Wright came out and strolled among the tables to introduce themselves and find out how guests were enjoying their meals.  Chef Bradley mentioned that the zucchini were lightly marinated.  Chef Wright and I chatted about Canlis in Seattle where he once was chef, and I knew from growing up in the area.

Cheesecake Brulee

Instead of the Caramel Swirl Angel Food Cake with plum and blueberry compote that would be the finale of the prix fixe menu, my friend chose the Lemon Cheesecake Brulée, with peach coulis, and strawberries.  I took a taste; it was remarkable.  Creamy with distinct flavors of peach and strawberries with the cooling sensation of lemon.

Strawberry Shortcake

I chose the Strawberry Shortcake, with vanilla cream biscuit, mascarpone, and fresh berries.  It was a great old fashioned version.  Growing up in what once was the strawberry capital of the world (Marysville, Washington) summer isn't summer unless you've enjoyed one of these.

The Redwood grove was cooling off, and my friend and I had a leisurely and delicious evening.  Our waiter even quoted us a poem in perfect cadence.  What a night!

What I missed was going to the market that morning with the chefs.  August 25th one can start the day by meeting up with the chefs at the Marin Farmers Market at the Star Route Farms booth at 9:30 a.m.  Shop together and get tips on picking the best produce.  In the evening will the final dinner with Chef Ogden, reservations recommended.  The menu for the 25th is:

Corn Chowder with corn and shrimp fritter, parsley pesto
Grilled Albacore Tuna with warm tomato bread salad and tomato basil sauce
Coconut Cake with buttermilk ice cream
Watermelon Margarita (for an additional $9.50)

Restaurant Inspection Results
Critical: 1
Noncritical: 0
Last inspected: 3/22/2011