New Year’s Eve Dinner at The Loft (Montage Resort)

Based on an incredible dinner there  in November, we selected The Loft at the Montage Resort in Laguna for New Year’s Eve, which was also a special birthday for our visiting friend Barry and his wife Kathi, from New York.  We arrived at Sunset, which was beautiful.  The fog rolled in 15 minutes later, but we didn’t care!

We asked in advance for Sam, a fabulous server who we’d had last time, and we also had the benefit of excellent Sommelier Gary!  The food and wine were really great in every way.

We started with a glass of their house Piper Sonoma Champagne, then had cocktails like a French 75 and other Gin based drinks.  The first courses included:

BLACK TRUFFLE RISOTTO – Brunoise of Winter Pumpkin and Aged Parmesan.  The Risotto was cooked perfectly, the flavors were layered and subtle.  Sublime!  I can’t make Risotto this good.

 

SPINY LOBSTER AND KING ARTHUR LEEK TERRINE – Petite Tarragon and Mousse Ame’ricaine.  The lobster was fresh and flavorful and the sauces were perfect.

 

Gary then recommended a great French Red Burgundy (Pinot Noir Grape) that he said was “drinking well”.  Amazingly, it went perfectly with everything we were eating:  Bernard Moreau Santenots, a Premier Cru of 2005.  It was fresh yet leathery, fruity yet mineral-y.

Our second courses included:

WILD SPANISH TURBOT – Rainbow Chard and Bronze Fennel, Red Wine Sauce.  Tender, buttery, flavorful.

CONFIT KUROBUTA PORK SHANK – Black Rice and Charred Haricots Verts, Passionfruit.  3 of the 4 of us had this dish, and almost dropped our forks when we tasted it.  Fall off the bone tender, perfectly seasoned and perfectly cooked, with the most interesting flavors in the rice and sauce.  I was a little concerned that a confit of pork would be too fatty, but this was not at all.

A fourth course is the ARTISANAL CHEESE BITE with House-Made Accoutrements.  This was a Robiola, a very smooth and rich combo of sheep and cow’s milk.  We wished we could have had a choice, from The Loft’s friendly Fromager, but this was delicious.

We all chose the chocolate dessert, which was a beautiful concoction of:

DARK CHOCOLATE PEPPERMINT AFTER EIGHT – Chocolate Leaves, Fresh Peppermint Cream and Dark Cocoa Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream.  The picture doesn’t do it justice.  Everything with a different flavor and texture.

My friend Barry, joking with the server who came over, said, “I thought you were coming to offer us the second dessert!”  Within moments, he was served the second dessert (sorry no photo):

CHAMPAGNE, WHITE COFFEE AND GOLD – Champagne Jelly, Iced White Coffee and Golden Truffles.  I was the only one who loved the Champagne Jelly (served in a martini glass), but everyone else loved the truffles and white coffee ice cream.

We then went up to the Montage lobby, where a big crowd was gathered for a relaxed setting with live music and drinks.  We hung out for a few more hours, then went to Andrei’s for a nitecap and were home by midnight!  Great evening!  Gary and Sam made the evening very special, and the entire staff at the Montage is first rate.

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