Thursday, January 2, 2014

Fearless Palates at La Balena Carmel

When I made reservations at our absolutely favorite restaurant - La Balena Carmel - for our capodanno dinner, I had no idea what we would order. Truth be told, it doesn't matter what you order there, everything is always delicious and unique.

So, the menus came, the boys perused, I didn't even blink when they made their choices.

Riley: I want to try the bone marrow dish.
Dylan: Which one is that?
Camilla: Okay, Riley. Dyn, it is osseo puttanesca. What else should we get?
Riley: Can I get the tripe, too?
Camilla: Sure. Are you going to share?
Riley: Do I have to?
Dylan: Yes, you have to share. Oh, Mom, I want the octopus tentacles.

Camilla: What else do we want? What do you want for your main dishes?
Dylan: I want the wild boar. Whatever they have that's wild boar.
Camilla: They have pappardelle with wild boar. It's a wide noodle. Is that fine?
Dylan: Yep.
Riley: I'll get the gnocchi.
Camilla: With the gorgonzola sauce?
Riley: No! I want the beef heart bolognese.
Dylan: What are you and Daddy going to get? Can we try?!

Here's part of the savory parade that made me smile with pride. My goal of raising kids with fearless palates is coming true. I love these boys! Riley was relishing his trippa Fiorentina (tripe, braised tomato, chili, mint, and pecorino) while Dylan dug into the osseo puttanesca (bone marrow, braised tomato, capers, olives, anchovy, and taleggio).

 The osseo puttanesca was completely devoured.

I ordered the pesce Romano - a whole fried sea bass stuffed with dungeness crab, topped with parsley, Meyer lemon, and olive oil. While I don't normally like fried things, Chef Brad Briske and his crew did an outstanding job with this. And the boys battled over the head; I think they were searching for the eyeballs.

Jake ordered the granchio fritto. It was a little bit messy to eat, but it, too, was amazingly delicious.

I love that Riley declared, at the end of the meal, "Mom, Andrew Zimmern would be proud of me. I ate octopus tentacles, tripe, bone marrow, and beef hearts all in one dinner." Yes, Mr. Bizarre Foods himself would be proud. But, so am I!

Grazie mille to everyone at La Balena. You are true culinary artists and I so appreciate being dazzled every time I set foot in your restaurant....and you're helping me raise kids with fearless palates. I love it. Buon anno a tutti! 

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