Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Since tonight will be post 1,001 for Trust Your Style, I thought it only fitting to talk about Cavallo Point, which contains the fairytale elements of fantasy, fate, bliss and of course, an unreliable narrator--yours truly.
By far, the most fun part of my stay was taking a Summer Salads class with former Chez Panisse Chef Kelsie Kerr. The Cooking School at Cavallo Point is situated in a an old-fashioned/modern farmhouse kitchen, and is every bit as pretty as a Martha Stewart dream kitchen.
Kelsey had such an easy and unpretentious way about her, by the end of the evening I found myself begging her to start a food/cooking blog. And then of course there were the delectable salads we made under her supervision using mind-blowing locally grown produce. Who knew that heaven tastes like a Purple German tomato? There were some delicious sophisticated offerings like Duck Breast Salad with Green Lentils and Garden Greens and Warm Spinach Salad with Goat Cheese and Bacon-wrapped Figs, but in the end, the simple Caesar Salad was my favorite. I learned a lot about how to taste the dressing--always use a lettuce leaf. It's also important to make an effort to use the best olive oil and vinegar (not necessarily Balsamic) you can find, and toss the salad with your hands for best results.
It wouldn't be a real TYS story without some art, so next I have to mention our surprise to come across a world class collection of 55 original vintage prints by Imogen Cunningham hanging in the dining room. (The photo above is one of them). It's the largest single exhibition of the late artist's work in over 30 years. There are also some stunning photographic works by Gregory Colbert installed throughout the premises. You may remember Colbert's acclaimed Ashes and Snow exhibit debuted at the Venice Arsenale in 2002. One of my favorite pieces in Cavallo Point's expansive permanent and rotating exhibits of contemporary art is a large-scale photograph by Arno Minkkinen (see below) in the Healing Arts Center & Spa.
This leads me to the glorious 90 minute massage that I enjoyed before my flight out on Sunday. Ted, my fantastic masseuse presented me with a selection of hand-mixed aromatherapy oil choices and away I went to into what can only be described as deep bliss. I've had a lot of massages as a beauty editor, so you're just going to have to take my word--it was knock-your-socks-off good.
I could go into endless detail over the great wine and food up in Northern California, but I'll cut it short and just say that the Farley Bar nestled in the midst of the Cavallo Point Lodge is a cool little place to hang out. With it's Nakashima inspired bar and tables, dim but warm lighting, fire places and original restored tin ceiling, it's not hard to see why it's also a destination for locals looking to impress a date or drop in after a night out on the town. I'm not usually one for fancy drinks, but the bartender eventually convinced me to try a Fennel-infused vodka concoction. Not bad!
And because I love you (yes, I really do) and am feeling very guilty that I've been so time-challenged the last few weeks that I've barely had a moment to comment on all my favorite bloggers' sites, I'm going to share Chef Kelsie Kerr's delicious Caesar Salad recipe:
For the croutons:
3 ounces day old country style bread
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
For the salad:
2 heads of romaine
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 cloves garlic pounded to a puree
1 tablespoon salt-packed anchovy fillets (about 4 to 6 fillets) chopped
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese (about 1 1/2 ounces)
First make the croutons. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove the crusts from the bread and cut into small cubes, about 1/2 inch s quare. You should have about 20 cubes. Toss in a bowl with the olive oil and salt. Spread out in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake until crisp and golden, about 10 to 12 minutes. Stir the croutons occasionally so they will bake evenly.
Remove the outer darker green leaves of the romaine heads. Cut off the stem end and separate the remaining lighter leaves. Wash well and spin-dry in batches. Keep cool until ready to dress. To make the dressing, mix in a small bowl the vinegar, lemon juice, pounded garlic, chopped anchovies, salt and pepper. Whisk in the olive oil. Just before serving add a handful of grated cheese and the crack in the egg. Whisk together until thick. Taste for salt and acid with a piece of romaine. Adjust as needed. Put the romaine in a large bowl, pour the dressing over the salad, and toss well. Sprinkle almost all of the grated cheese in and toss lightly. Arrange the salad on a plate. Toss the croutons in the bowl, scraping up the last of the dressing and then scatter them over the salad. Garnish with the last of the cheese and a final grind of pepper.