Tuesday, August 4, 2009


Cobaya Dinner August 4, 2009 from Talula Chef Andrea Curto-Randazzo and Sous Chef Kyle Foster:

Blue Moon Beer Sorbet, Pickled Ginger, Mint Sea Salt
Homestead Lychees, House Smoked Bacon, Toasted Almonds, Root Beer Gastrique
Buttered Popcorn Puree, Raisin-Cocoa Nib Jus
Green Apple, Red Cabbage, House Smoked Tasso, Walnuts, Aged Marisa
Summer Stone Fruit Panzanella, Arugula, "Blackberry Wine," Crispy Shallots
House Made Mostarda, Truffle-Honey
Strawberry, Tarragon, Spiced White Balsamic Syrup


  1. Ok, I guess this is an appropriate place to post comments on the dinner seeing that the menu is here and all...

    First off, Im disappointed in myself for not high 5-ing Chef Curto-Randazzo last night for this menu. It was LOADED with my favorites - scallops, foie, quail, risotto (with tripe!), cheese, and the only dessert I like to eat - panna cotta. Here are my thoughts on the dishes:

    Diver Scallop Crudo - LOVED the mint salt and the creaminess of a fresh diver scallop. I didnt really taste much beer flavor in the sorbet, rather found it to supplement the sweetness of the scallop rather than compliment it. Overall though, it was a killer way to start the meal.

    Pan Seared Foie - Loved it, loved every little thing about it! The sweetness of the lychees and gastrique, saltiness and chew of the bacon, smokiness of the almonds, and then the foie struttin its stuff. This was a home run for me.

    Ancho Chile Roasted Quail - I thought the quail was cooked perfectly and the popcorn puree was a nice touch. The raisins were enjoyable as well. Good dish but probably my least favorite overall..

    Braised Tripe Risotto - Another total homerun for me. The textures and flavors of all the ingredients all worked in harmony. I could eat a vat of this anyday.

    Char Grilled Prime Aged Spinalis - Having googled "spinalis" to figure out what the heck it was and then still not being absolutely sure, this was the only true "mystery dish" for me. Well, it blew me away. That meat was so tender and loaded with flavor! The panzanella was another favorite part of the dish for me as well. Chef rocked it with this one, fo' sho'.

    Cheeses - I remember liking them but dont really remember what they were. I guess compared to the heavy lineup of domination that came before this dish, this one was kinda forgettable but a nice pre-dessert dish.

    Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta - I loved the use of tarragon in this dish. Ive had quite a few basil panna cotta but never a tarragon. A nice, light dish to end an awesome meal.

  2. Overall the dinner was spectacular and the flavor combinations quite remarkable. The inventiveness of the individual dishes was a step above the regular Talula menu, which I already find impressive.

    The four dishes that I thought were flawless were the foie gras, tripe risotto, spinalis and panna cotta. All were sophisticated constructs that not only delivered on their promise but often elevated the dish with some unexpected twist. My favorite examples were the root beer gastrique, the use of nuts with both the foie and the risotto, the choice of the spinalis as the cut to serve and the unconventional texture of the panna cotta.

    In the context of such a high quality dinner, the remaining three dishes fell short, although they would be deemed excellent in any other context. The crudo was actually my favorite of this second set due to the quality of the scallop, the pairing with a slightly sweet sorbet and the pungency from the microgreens. The only flaw here was a disconnect between the menu description and the dish to the extent that I could not taste the pickled ginger at all and the beer flavor in the sorbet was relatively muted. The quail dish had perfectly good flavors as well but the complementary flavors failed to penetrate the meat and the format of eating quail hindered the mixing of flavors in each mouthful. Finally, the cheese course was the most puzzling. The menu says that we were supposed to be served the River Bend Sheep's Milk cheese and Bessie's Blend Goat and Cow's Milk cheese but there seemed to be different cheeses on different plates. I am pretty certain that one of my cheeses was Mobay based on the Carr Valey site description: "Sid's whimsically delicious take on the famous French cheese, Morbier. Our version features a layer of sheep milk cheese and a layer of goat milk cheese separated by a layer of grape vine ash and pressed together." The other cheese was probably Bessie's Blend. Not that I disliked the cheeses that I was served but I would have preferred some stronger flavored cheeses and at least three cheeses for a proper cheese plate. As for the accompaniments, the truffle honey was great with either cheese but the mostarda, which I liked in itself, was overpowering relative to the cheeses that it was paired with, at least the cheeses on my plate.

    I thought the wine pairings worked out well given the information that we had to work with. In hindsight, the scallop dish could have used a bone dry white, the quail might have benefited from a softer red and the brunello needed much more aeration before drinking. The sweet wine with the foie worked well although the pepper/clove notes were a bit forceful relative to some of the softer flavors in the dish. The zinfandel pairing with the beef and the second champagne for the panna cotta were definitely the most successful matches of the night.

    Thanks again to the organizers and the chefs for an outstanding dining experience.

  3. i wrote to Chef Curto-Randazzo yesterday to thank her for the meal and she said that they are mulling a monthly 'Cobaya' tapas night where we can continue to enjoy her dishes on a smaller and more economical scale. I think that would be a great idea and it would gain some popularity throughout.

  4. Here's my thoughts on the dinner. I wonder if there's any of that tripe risotto left over.