While my birthday was not the reason for the trip, I was thrilled to be able to celebrate my special day in such a beautiful part of the country!
Nov 7, 2011
Woke up to the smell of bacon and French toast at our B&B in Healdsburg.
One thing I really wanted to do on our vacation was go for a hike and see some Redwoods! So that is just what we did after breakfast.
We swung by the market to grab sandwiches to pack for lunch and drove out to the Armstrong Redwoods State Reserve.
Seeing those trees in person is indescribable…they are just so marvelous, and HUGE!
After hiking and a picnic lunch we stopped by a couple wineries on our way back to the B&B.
The properties were all so gorgeous.
Once we returned, changed, rested, and enjoyed cocktail hour at the B&B…we headed to dinner.
Cyrus restaurant. I debated for a while on where I wanted to have my birthday dinner….there are just SO many amazing restaurants out there!! Ultimately I chose Cyrus because I’ve never been to a Michelin star restaurant (Cyrus has 2 Michelin stars), and have never had this type of multi-course dinner “experience” before.
And an experience it was!
I’ll apologize now for the low-lit craptastic iphone photos, but I HAD to document this meal and it was NOT the time or place to be whipping out my big DSLR…so discrete iphone photos it was!
After sitting down and starting to look over the menus, a cart (the first of many that evening) comes rolling over with a selection of champagne and caviar. The cart also contained an old fashion scale to weigh out your selections.
We decided to pass on the caviar this time ;)
Next up was a tower of canapés to stimulate all the different taste buds and flavors: sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and Umami
Starting from the bottom:
Umami - a mushroom broth (can’t remember the type of mushroom).
Sweet - Next level on one of the spoons was a grape “bubble”: not quite sure how it’s done but it was a bubble that popped in your mouth containing a sweet grape liquid. So interesting!
Bitter – Another spoon held a grapefruit gel with candied grapefruit peel
Salty – A small gruyere cheese puff (delicious!)
Sour - carrot pixi stix!! (shown below), inside those straws was a sour carrot powder that you ate like a pixi stick!! So creative! Granted mine went down wrong and I was coughing for a while after, but I loved the concept.
I enjoyed a refreshing cocktail:
Hangar One Orange Blossom Vodka, Pomegranate Juice, Lime Juice, Black Pepper-Allspice Syrup,
Pomegranate Seeds, Fresh Mint
The Amuse Bouche was a parfait of 4 squashes. I don’t have this one written down but it was four different squashes in different forms/textures all layered. We were told to dig down to the bottom to get all 4 layers in a bite.
One of MY favorite parts was a warm bread basket that kept coming around with 5 or 6 different types of bread, rolls, and biscuits all waiting to be tasted.
I started with a pretzel croissant and a brioche bun…
For our meals I opted for the 8-course tasting menu and Brian went with the 5 course but with wine pairings. There is no way I’d be able to drink all that wine!!
They are also very accommodating in that you could switch items from the vegetarian tasting menu if something catches your eye.
Next up for both of us was the Roasted Lobster with Cauliflower Cream, Uni Emulsion.
Third course for both of us: Halibut with Braised Romaine, Yuzu Kosho Butter.
Next was my 4th course while Brian “sat out” this round.
Steamed Matsutake with Pine Nuts, Junsai and Mitsuba. For someone who doesn’t exactly “love” mushrooms (texture issue), I was proud of myself this night.
Course 4 For Brian – Prime Striploin with Potato, Short Rib, and Crimini, Sauce Bordelaise.
I loved everything about this!! Those little light colored cylinders were the potato, the little cubes were the short rib, and the little circles were crimini sauce. The flavors were incredible.
Course 5 for me: Crispy Chicken thigh with truffled risotto and celery, parmesan foam.
My 6th course might have been the best…it involved another cart rolling over to the table but this time it was full of CHEESE!!!
The menu stated a selection of 3 cheeses, but our waitress was awesome and let us taste more. I chose 4 but she was ready to slice off even more for us.
Again, I do not have the names of these. but I know there was a triple cream in there, a bit of Epoisses which is a very stinky cheese! (I looove stinky cheese), a goats milk cheese with ash rind, and the hard cheese was a sheep's milk.
Brian’s 5-course didn’t have a cheese course, but this was plenty for the two of us!
Next up was my most anticipated item of the evening as I had read about it in reviews!
That contraption right there has a balloon attached to a valve connecting to this lit up dome covered plate. Inside the dome are two perfectly warm chocolate chip cookies and cocoa powder scattered throughout.
The birthday person gets to flip the lever on the valve, and all the air inside the balloon is released into the dome causing all the cocoa powder to fly around like a snowball shaker!!
It’s just a fun way to acknowledge the birthday!
Along with the cookies, we received mini chocolate egg creams
Next were the real desserts. I had a 7th and 8th course dessert. The first one was
Those “pieces” in there are the meringue but also the ice cream! The cream cheese ice cream was flash frozen (liquid nitrogen can do that) and broken into pieces…it was like grown up Dippin’ Dots!
For our final dessert choices, I went with:
The fun didn’t stop there though…
The final cart they roll over to your table is the Sweets Cart!! At the end of your meal you can choose any of the candies on this cart and as many as you’d like!
They also give you a little gift box containing a little pastry to take home and luckily there was room in the box for our candies because I was WAY too full to eat them then.
But if that wasn’t the icing on the birthday cake…with the check came two mini hot bourbon glazed donuts..
Yeah. Don’t worry those were eaten right then and there…I mean they were hot!
If you add it all up it’s more like 12 or 13 courses…also the most expensive dinner we’ve ever had, but it was definitely worth it! You’re paying not only for the food but for the amazing experience and top notch service.
They also provide you with a nice print out of the menu you selected all night with the date, your name, and what you were celebrating!
I’ll always remember this birthday!! Good thing too since I plan on having many more 29th birthdays in the future ;)