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I am the luckiest guy in the world August 21, 2006

Posted by Jim in Food.
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Cafe Juanita 

So out of nowhere a friend at work I had helped with some computer rebuilding and some warez issues (ahem), invited me to a sort of tradition in food tasting he does for his birthday.  So I meet him and his wife at Cafe Juanita and we have this amazing multi course meal.  If you check out the menu you can see it was designed to be eaten that way.  I started with an apertivo of Prosecco (sort of the Italian version of champaign) with organic parmigano reggiano.  For an antipasti, I had the bufala mozzarella with little fritti (fried baby veggies).  (I also learned that the buffalo in bufala mozz is the American buffalo!!  Apparently brought over by a king of Naples because he was into the American West – this is so strange a story I need to check it out and see if it’s the real story)

We all shared, which is the perfect way to enjoy this type of meal.  The other two antipasti we had were the prosciutto with summer fruit and the Foie Gras with nectarines which also had the amazing addition of cocoa nibs – really an interesting and complex flavor blend.  For the antipasti I had a very nice white wine (forget the name) similar to a chardonay.

For salad I had the green bean salad with creme fraiche and tomatos.  My buddy had the beet salad.  The creme fraiche was laced with garlic and just an amazing coating and the tiny heirloom tomatoes were sweet, tart and juicy like candy.  The beet salad was very good also but no where near the bean salad in taste and texture.  By the way, the marcona almonds (never had before) were amazing – so different than the overpowering almonds you usually get with salads.  They were more subtle in flavor but also much deeper.

For pasta I had the rabbit ravioli with sage butter.  My friends wife tried the Risotto Barbaresco which as the name portends is an unusual Risotto flavored mostly of that deep red Barbaresco wine – unusual and really good.  The ravioli was perfect and very good – my first rabbit ever.

For the main course we all really differed, my friend got the lamb and his wife tried the wagyu strip steak and I got the braised rabbit.  All three were just amazing but of the three the rabbit was an eye opening melange of flavors and textures – really a masterpiece.  It was fall-apart tender and just delectible.  The lamb was also remarkable.

For dessert I had an off the menu fig tart with chocolate gelato.  Oh my… we also had two differnent and very nice reds for the pasta and the main course. 

We met there at about 7pm and got out at around 11 with of course a lot of great conversation.  I think I need to start doing this for my bday as well – really a wonderful tradition.

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