So I love it when friends call and say “hey, we grabbed a room at a hotel on the beach and you should come join us for dinner.” You can do that here. And you can be assured of a terrific time and heart stopping sunset every time.
So Marisol, at the Cliffs Resort in Shell Beach, CA, is one of our foodie haunts. Mostly because the location is ungodly beautiful, and we love Gregg Wangard the chef there. The menu is pretty standard by now. I noticed the Bautista Wild Rocket Salad that is one of my favorite salads of all time, anywhere, but this time opted to share a beet salad with Mel, while Bob and Hillary shared the mushroom soup. I think I got the better end of that deal. The beets were seasoned with a little grapefruit and mint, with clouds of goat cheese and slivered almonds hovering over top, and between the multicolored sunset-like explosion of color, and the sunset over the ocean, I wasn’t sure which I was enjoying more. Amazing beet salad. Highly recommended.
We also ordered 3 of 6 cheeses from the cheese board, served with spiced walnuts and other goodies. The Mt. Tam cheese from Cowgirl Creamery is always a favorite, and this time we also tried a 12 year aged Cheddar. Crumbly, salty, sharp goodness. And I recently found out that aged cheeses are highly likely to not cause lactose intolerance. So yes, I became your experimental subject, dear readers, and took one for the team of intolerants everywhere – and live to tell about it. I have noticed that it is true – the longer a cheese ages, the more of that nasty lactose the enzymes seem to eat, and the safer it is for us to eat. Great news for me.
Dinner was an obvious choice – the Braised Beef Short Ribs with potato puree and reduction. I have searched all over the Central Coast and have found very few short rib entrees that measure up. This one is always perfectly seasoned, big thick chunks of largely unfatty meat, without the gaminess of some. Moist, delicious, a dab of sauce, heaped like imposing clouds on the horizon over a sea of creamy potatoes that are also perfectly seasoned. They always seem to get this one right.
Finally, a dessert that’s not to be missed. I don’t remember the exact name. It was something like “Strawberry Crunch Funnel Cake” with bananas and a salted caramel ice cream. I know. There was some chocolate thingy on the table too, but when that funnel cake came out, showered with strawberries and licked by the melting salted caramel ice cream, four spoons were immediately battling to stake their claim anywhere they could until there we nothing left but groans of delight and that one tiny piece that nobody wants to eat out of consideration for everybody else. Sticky gooey thumbs WAY up on that one.
So another successful dinner. Another ridiculous sunset. And another memorable evening with dear friends that we’ll be talking about for a while.
Check out Hillary’s post for a recap of the great wines we had!