Year 33 is off to a dang good start. Vacation, family, good weather and good food will do that to you. And after arriving home from a nice week away, I’m still salivating a bit from this…
Thanks to The Wife’s thoughtfulness, my new year started in Yountville, CA at Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc. I’d like to think this was her way of saying “thank you” for the items I’ve prepared out one of my favorite cookbooks with the same name. In reality, it was likely her way of telling me to stop reading quotes from a cookbook aloud. Either way, thanks babe!
That said, this is a post about a great meal, a fantastic evening, and a few of those small tricks of the trade that make a huge difference.
Ad Hoc is the type of restaurant that requires trust. And if you’re going to trust anyone, let it be Chef Keller’s crew. The menu changes daily, is served family style and is basically the type of food everyone wants to cook at home but doesn’t have the time, skill or quality ingredients to realistically pull it off. Here’s what we were in for…
Reading the menu, it’s easy not to get overly excited. I would probably order pork loin on a menu one out of every hundred times out. It’s a simple cut, inexpensive and I think I make a good grilled loin at home. A salad is a salad, right? The octopus did have me hooked immediately (aww, Spain, you were great!), but then again, you don’t necessarily think ice cream sundae when thinking of fine dining desserts.
To the people that sat down at the bar next to us, read the menu, then walked out: suckers.
What the menu fails to clue the naive in on is that you’re getting salad greens, tomatoes, radishes and more picked from the garden just out back. That you’re getting a pork loin brined for 10 hours and cooked two different ways. That you’re getting the best octopus you’ve ever had. That you’re getting Keller’s “Sunday Sundaes” served to weekly with perfect house made ice cream and differing toppings.
Here are some highlights:
To top everything off, it’s not crazy priced and they’ve got a tiny bar available first come, first serve with no reservations. You’re getting great food, in a great, laid back atmosphere for a totally reasonable price. Well worth the night! Cheers to this new year!