Critical Section

In praise of Michael's

Saturday,  07/30/05  09:20 AM

Last night Shirley and I celebrated our 13th anniversary.  (Thirteen!  Wow.)  As is our tradition, we had dinner at Michael's in Santa Monica, still one of L.A.'s best restaurants after all these years.  I proposed to Shirley there - unplanned, inspired by an out-of-this-world '81 Mayacamas - and so we go back to revisit the scene, so to speak.  Not to mention, the food is always great, always interesting and great, the service is top-notch, etc.

man in a red suit - by Kim McCartyYou probably don't care but for posterity I'll note last night's menu.  We brought a bottle of '97 Araujo Eisele which was about as great as California Cabernet gets, which is to say, perfect.

  • Oysters, three kinds, with Champagne.  (Shirley had an heirloom tomato salad.)
  • Foie gras, perfect, on polenta with pear, accompanied by a glass of Sauterne.
  • Quail with a wine reduction sauce, over a light salad of greens.  Perfect with the Araujo.
  • Duck, two ways, a small breast and thin slices, with a Grand Marnier basting, and baby potatoes.  Unbelievable.
  • Rack of Lamb, rare, with an olive jus that could be the best sauce I've ever had on meat.  The lamb was perfect, and the sauce played off the Cabernet beautifully.  (Who really really likes mint on lamb, right?  This is how you do it.)
  • Cheese, five kinds, with figs.  I would note especially the Epoisse which was awesome.
  • Flourless chocolate cake, with vanilla bean ice cream; Shirley had a creme brulee which was [as usual at Michael's] perfect.  Accompanied by a '94 Taylor port which was amazing.

I may have had a better meal but I can't remember it.  And of course Shirley was there to share it with, so what could be better than that?

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