Gregory G. H. Rihn (milwaukeesfs) wrote,
Gregory G. H. Rihn

Oct 6, Anniversary Dinner

October sixth is our wedding anniversary, and this one was number 20. Although we are hosting a party on the 9th, we decided as a private celebration to get the most splendid meal in town. (Foodies, hold on to your hats!) We frequently go to Sanford Restaurant for occasions, and have taken note of what is now called the ‘Surprise Menu.’ Seven courses, all people at the table have to have it, seventy-five dollars each. Matching wine pairs are an additional $30. We ordered the Surprise Menu for both of us and one set of wine pairings—we figured we could trade sips, and did.

What we got was spectacular beyond our dreams. Several of the courses paired small servings of different items, so in fact we sampled ten different dishes, all delicious, and seven different wines.

All Sanford meals start with an “amuse” or pre-appetizer. Lately it has been a poached mussel in saffron broth, served in a square shot glass with a straw to suck up the broth. This was good as always AND doesn’t count toward the seven courses.

First course: Roasted beet and garlic soup with rock shrimp. 2003 Rose de Pinot Noir, Saintsbury, California. Many of the items were form the menu, and this was no exception. What was exceptional was the bright beet flavor without the “root cellar” undertone that makes beets problematic. The garlic only served to mellow the beets, and the grilled rock shrimp garnish with a bit of seared endive was just right.

Second course: Lobster on a buckwheat blini, topped with caviar and herbed vermouth Vinaigrette, plus house smoked salmon, ditto. 2002 Riesling Qualitatswein Dry, Selbach, Germany. Delicious appetisers. Georgie preferred the salmon over the lobster, but I thought both were good. The Vinaigrette was just the right touch with the caviar.

Third course: Seared sea scallop on a Basil corn cake with caramel corn sauce, plus Quahog clam chowder. 2002 Sauvignon Blanc, Mason, Nappa. The clam chowder was excellent of its type, but neither of us is a big fan of it. Sanfor has a marvellous touch with scallops, and the "caramel corn" was fun both as a taste experience and to show that sanfor hasn't lost his sense of humor.

Fourth course: Squab with fig and foie gras on dried fig couscous, fig reduction. 2001 Pinot Noir, Sanford, California. Lovely squab, and the fig couscous was a very good and unique addition.

Fifth (Main) course: Grilled Elk loin on butter poached root vegetable medley, red cabbage and red currant sauce. 1999 Shiraz, Voss Vineyards, California. The grilled elk is one of Sanford's regular entrees which both Georgie and I have enjoyed in the past. It was as good as ever and did not disappoint.

Sixth Course: Chilled Pineapple soup, with grilled pineapple compote and coconut ice cream. We were charmed by this unusual palate cleanser. The small scoop of ice cream was floated in the soup like sour cream in borscht.

Seventh (dessert) course: Bittersweet Chocolate tart, coffee ice cream, and caramelized rice pudding. 2000 Monbazillac, Grande Maison, Cuvee Chateau and 1997 LBV Porto, Taylor Fladgate. Yes, there were two dessert wines with this course, since none accompanied the pineapple soup. The porto was matched with the dark chocolate tart, and the sauternes with the rice pudding. There was a berry sauce and whipped cram with the tart as well, and another one of Sanford's miniature scoops of a different ice cream along with the rice pudding.

And, of course, when you get the check, they leave with you three little homemade candies—which we carried away with us! We didn't want to explode!

This was unquestionably one of the most magnificent dining experiences we have ever had--although still not the most expensive, although close to it--. Well worth it, in our opinion.
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