Good Morning Darlings!
Our second day at The Ritz Carlton Amelia Island found John and me at the Chef’s Tasting at Salt, their signature restaurant. And what a tasting it was. We were bowled over.
We met my friend, Joe Murphy, PR Director for the hotel, at the bar for a pre-dinner cocktail.
But let me backtrack just a tiny bit. The day before, Joe took us all through the property, where we first met Matt, the Restaurant Captain. Matt gave us a lesson on all the salts used in the restaurant. It was fascinating and I could have stayed there for hours, learning where all the different salts are from. There is even a salt menu.
Have you ever heard of a salt menu? I had not either. I believe this might be the only of its kind. We learned that all pink salt is mined from rivers only and that salt may be flavored with things like horseradish. One of my favorite stories was from Isabelle, Salt’s Maitre’ D, who told us of bringing dregs from a burgundy cask on her family’s vineyard in France to flavor the salt. It had a rich color, just like the wine. Brilliant. Everyone here is full of creative ideas. It was exhilarating to learn of every contribution the staff makes.
Ok, back to the meal. At the bar we were served the most unusual nibbles – tapioca crisps. They were light, salty little snacks. And something I had never seen or tasted before. Salt is a treasure chest of unusual treats.
Our cocktails were expertly crafted by the beautiful bartender, Stephanie. Doesn’t she look like Laura Linney?
After our cocktails and visits with Joe and Stephanie, we said our goodbyes and were led to our table by Maitre’ D, Isabelle, from Burgundy, France. Isabelle was fabulous and we loved hearing all about how she came to find herself in Amelia Island, along with our servers Sorina and Patti. Everyone is so interesting here.
The time had come. It was tasting time. You know how some people get a thrill when they are waiting in line to ride a roller coaster? That’s what I feel when I know the tasting is about to begin. It is so exciting to me.
The first thing we notice is the salt on the table. We recognize the red salt as Isabelle’s contribution of burgundy and the fresh garlic salt. Sprinkled on bread after buttering, it was divine.
The meal began with an amuse of briny oysters that tasted of the ocean.
Before the first course, I had a chance to admire the lovely table dressings.
I loved how the knives were set on the blade – very clever.
First course – Chilled Heirloom Tomato Soup/Crispy Goat Cheese/Aged Balsamic/Basil
Wine – Peter Lehmann “Layers” Adelaide
Tucking into this dish surprised me with the gooey goat cheese oozing from its crispy shell. So delicious.
Second Course – Pappardelle Pasta/Bay Scallops/Prawns/Lobster/Chanterelles/Fava Beans
Wine – Rombauer Chardonnay
This was so decadent, all that lusciously prepared seafood had us marveling at the flavors. Flawlessly executed.
Third Course – Scottish Salmon/Cucumber/Heirloom Beans/Bacon/Fennel/Watercress
Wine – Rex Hill Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
Salmon perfectly prepared, set on a intricately sliced bed of cucumber. A work of art.
Just when I thought I could not eat one more bite, Sorina delivered this to us:
Fourth Course – New York Strip/Foie Gras/Green Asparagus/Georgia Grits/Quail Egg
Wine – Mt. Veede Winery Cabernet Sauvignon
This might have been my favorite savory course of the night. I am a total pushover for foie gras and tender beef. I’m pretty surprised we didn’t lick the plates. But you know, polite society and all.
Ok, so we are four courses and four glasses of wine in. John and I are feeling very giddy.
Time for dessert! By now we are best friends with the staff and having the time of our lives. John had a great birthday and I got to spend some quality time with my bestie.
I chose the Meyer Lemon Souffle/Grapefruit Sorbet/Lemon Curd/Vanilla Bean Anglaise for the end to my meal. Honestly, I have never had a better dessert. This was incredible.
John went with the Chocolate Mocha Souffle/Coffee Ice Cream/Kahlua Anglaise. Another fabulous dessert. These were both paired with “Electra” Dessert Wine.
After the table was cleared, we were invited into the kitchen to meet Chef Rick and his staff. You know I love to peek into a restaurant’s kitchen. And this certainly did not disappoint.
I even ran into our dear Adrienne from the night before.
I just cannot say enough wonderful things about The Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island. Their hospitality knew no boundaries. John and I had the most spectacular time. So much so that we got to gabbing on the way home and missed our turn. We ended up here:
But we turned around and made it home to Atlanta just fine.
Visit beautiful Amelia Island and stay at The Ritz-Carlton. You will be so glad you did.
Today blogging to Owl City – The Saltwater Room