Thursday, August 30, 2012

A fine time with food and wine

I was dressed and ready. My husband and two year old son were taking me out to a fancy pre-birthday dinner during our end of summer stay in Solvang. Since we had been wine and food-ing all day in the charming Danish inspired town, it was best to stick close to our temporary home, instead of driving through the valley to Los Olivos for dinner. Responsible right?!

We had heard from friends that a new chef had taken over the upscale restaurant Root 246, just a few blocks walk away on Alisal (420 Alisal Road in Solvang, CA to be exact) and after checking out their menu online it seemed like just what we were looking for, to please our sometimes finicky pallet.

Upon arrival, and after my son tried to blow out every burning torch as we walked up the grey stone steps... I was immediately drawn to their outdoor patio, who's perimeter was surrounded by glass as to not obstruct the view of the charming downtown Solvang, with a gorgeous, massive smooth white rock fireplace and comfy couches scattered tastefully in pods, inviting you to snuggle in and stay awhile.

As we pulled open the giant carved wood front double doors, we were greeted by a friendly hostess in the stunning entry of painted white brick rocks and as I looked up, a giant chandelier of what seemed to be falling silver stars danced around our heads.

I peeked into the bar before we were seated to snap a photo of the sapphire blue drenched velveteen room. A room of utter urban sophistication and comfort, classically combined together, with the common theme of warmth emoting from not just the neon glow of the overhead lights, but from a humongous fireplace of white washed bricks.

I have to say my favorite part of Root 246's upscale decor was their Wall 'O Wine (need I say more? I'm gonna dream of this wall in my own home for years to come.) stationed between the lounge and dining rooms. What a exquisite display of an extensive wine list. Even my son was impressed.

We were seated in the first dining room that reminded me more of a fancy living room, with very contemporary off white, high backed sofas and chairs surrounding the wooden tables. Once inside, the hight of the furniture gives a very private feel and shoot, it's kind of fun to eat on a sofa.

The menu was different from the one online, as it seems to change ever so slightly daily, depending on what is farm fresh in the valley.

I always glance at the menu and then move on to the wine list, since of course I had spied a few beauties on the Wine Wall already. I chose the most F#c*ing fantastic 100% Cabernet Franc from Andrew Will of the Columbia Valley in Washington. Please, do yourself a favor and go pick up a bottle tomorrow, as it will be my wine pick for many weeks to come. Luscious, Dry and leathery, oh my it was fantastic.. I need another stat!

After the wine was served and I could shut my mouth about how damn good it was, we quickly decided on our meal. (Again, I have a two year old, I am not stupid. This night could be over in the blink of an eye if we didn't move it along accordingly.)

We stated off with a farmers market fresh Tomato Salad. A colorful presentation tossed with Grenache, beets, fried pickles, heirlooms, ricotta and basil. Since we knew it was the season of the tomato, the salad tasted like it was harvested that very moment with the ripest heirlooms and earthy beets. Every summer meal should begin with this light luscious fruit.

Our second course was the Rock Shrimp Tempura. This dish was my favorite and I would have ordered two had I known beforehand of the lively flavors.(sometimes it's hard to share) The tempura was a light breading on the shrimp, with roasted peppers and a spicy Cajun Aioli drenching the seafood. Scattered on top were crispy fried onions and light pea shoots for color, creating that bit of texture that sets your mouth a watering for more.

I have to mention that my son's penne pasta that he happily nibbled, was so deliciously el dente and butter drenched (do they use farm fresh churned butter too? Cause our butter doesn't taste that good) it was hard to keep myself and my hubby away from his plate.

Our main course, the Loch Etive Trout Steak, arrived split perfectly in two, both artfully arranged over an artichoke, fennel and olive salad that was tossed with a light barigoule dressing and a touch of (gasp!) chorizo dusted on the plate. Hmmmmmm, here comes the hard part. We are Pescatarian, meaning we only eat fish. This fact is sometimes hard for people to understand, but since we had explained that fact to our server from the start, just in case the Chef wanted to get 'meaty' with his dishes for flair, our bases should have been covered. What can I say? Sometimes there are still misunderstandings. (Maybe I should drink less wine and read the menu before I order) We took the picture anyways, so as to represent the dish properly, before changing it to meet our dietary choices.

When the last glass of wine had been poured, the fire-lit entry patio was calling our names so after ordering our desert, we retired to the great outdoors to bask in the golden glows.

Our desert arrived with ooh's and ahh's from the three of us, the ultra puffy cinnamon and sugar covered donuts holes, serve with hot fudge, a latte cream glaze, and a farmers churn of good ole whipped buttercream. They we're gone almost before we could take a picture. (note my sons hand getting caught in the act)

It was a sweet end that just got sweeter, as my husband cuddled close and my son crawled up into my lap, to stare quietly content into the roaring fire.

I say well done to Root 246, the service was warm but not intrusive, ascetically they have blended this gem of comfort and elegance, then backed up their glamorous digs with mouth watering farm fresh American cuisine to keep this family coming back year after year.

1 comment:

  1. AMAZING! You must become a "Traveling Gourmet" - You made me want to go there!