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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Food Glow In Camino

Christmas time always seems to always be an excuse to indulge. And then with New Year's around the corner, it is a constant excuse to further limit yourself.  I know this because of my past week for example. After I last checked in, I had the opportunity to go over to CAMINO in Oakland for a mid-week dinner treat with a good friend, Lori.  Of course, I will use any excuse to see my friend Jennifer, who bartends there. She immediately puts a smile on my face and her drinks are not so bad either. ; ) Gin, lime, absinthe and gym syrup; now who's game?  I also had the other Gin drink with spatlese Riesling, house-peach and hibiscus bitters. Also, quite outstanding for a lad that swears by whiskey and beer most his life.  She seduces me everytime...that Gin...ifer. Oh and Lori had the Pisco drink with lemon, raspberry, vermouth and egg white. Everyone draws to that one. It's quite pleasant and just darn easy to drink down quickly before moving on to their Tequila drink.  That one is made with Tequila resposado, lime, pomegranate and agave. Now let me get into the fare. Lori leaned toward the Artichoke salad with lemon, parmesan and capers. I felt stong about the Arugula salad with sheepsmilk ricotta and persimmons. We shared both, and to me, simplicity and proper dressing are always key in a great salad.  And these are great salads.  The method to these salads... there is a distinctive signature and taste that is really achieved. The persimmon and the ricotta were truly a delicious pairing.  In terms of main courses, I ordered the Grilled duck breast and leg with winter chicories, kabocha squash and duck liver toast. I loved the 3 styles of something CAMINO does extremely well. And that is, using the duck or any meat for that matter and throwing at you, obvious thought and utter brilliance. I was gushing while eating that gizzard toast.  The breast was succulent and cooked to perfection. Lori ordered the Wood oven-roasted chantrelle and black trumpet mushrooms with sunchoke sformato. All I know is, she allowed me to basically eat her meal as well. I gladly helped out.  The plate was screaming with flavor and you just feel happy eating everything that is offered up.  Thank goodness they over looked my eagerness in the original order and didn't bring the Flatbread. Slow-cooked lamb ragu with Moroccan spices in addition to what we had would reach moronic levels.  And let's not forget we had to order dessert as well.  Lori got the Tart and I the Persimmon Pudding.  Holy Mother! That pudding is one of the most amazing things I have ever tasted.  The whip cream had liquor and it was divine. The tart wasn't bad either, but that pudding. OMG! WTF!  I mean I took up a whole blog on my love affair with this place. I do this because there is so much to write about from this past week.  Up next is a visit to Town Hall and Christmas eve. Stay tuned...

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