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Tantalizing Tapas at La Crème

Last night we celebrated Brian's 40th birthday with a surprise party at La Crème in Pacific Grove. Though he suspected something was up - and claims to know that he knew I was lying about it - Pia managed to keep the scale of the bash under wraps. Brian had no idea friends from near and far would be in attendance to celebrate the start of his fourth decade.

Once again, Chef Jon Moser and La Crème owner Tamie Aceves whipped up some culinary magic. Here's what was served...

 Scallop Crudo
An über-fresh scallop was perched atop a poached garnet yam with a dot of lemon salsa and fresh mint. I think I ate half a dozen of these myself!

Tarte Flambée
I wondered why this appetizer was called a flambée since it was obviously not flambéed. So I did some reading. A Tarte Flambée, from the Alsace region in France, is a "pie baked in the flames." Chef Jon's version was smeared with an herb fromage blanc mixed with caramelized onions and topped with applewood smoked bacon. Creamy, salty deliciousness.

Stuffed New Potato
I didn't get to try this but it looked fabulous: a potato filled with braised fennel and roasted pepper.

Blood Orange & Almond Salad
After the passed hors d’œuvres, we sat down and started with this salad - County Line Farms' winter greens tossed with succulent blood orange segments and toasted almonds, dressed with an orange-balsamic vinaigrette.

Grilled California Rock Cod
I thought these were parsnips, but when Chef Jon sent me the menu, I realized that it was actually a puree of celeriac. I loved the sautéed cavolo nero and the drizzle of mixed citrus butter. This might just have been my favorite course. 

Slow Cooked Angus Beef Short Rib
These ribs were so tender we could have eaten them with a spoon! That they were on a bed of garlic mashed potatoes only added to their magic. Oh, and the black pepper infused braising juices didn't hurt either.

Roasted Apple Crostata
By the time these made it out, I was stuffed. Completely stuffed. But that didn't stop me from devouring the entire crostata with a Fiscalini cheddar cheese crust and its side of vanilla bean ice cream.

What a great night! While this was a special dinner and menu, La Crème's Tapas and Wine Bar - which has been open for just over a month -  provided the first three items on our menu. Jake and I will definitely be back there for a date night soon.

Happy birthday, Brian! And thank you, Chef Jon and Tamie, for another amazing evening. La Crème is fully cemented as one of our favorites. 


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