Monday, 10 November 2008

02.11.08: Corktree Cellars, Carpinteria, CA

His flatiron steak with sweet potato fries
We stopped in this little joint on the sleepy main street of this charming little beach town for an aperitif, intending to roll down to the old hotel down the road for a slap-up seafood meal. But. One glance around the dining room of The Palms - brightly lit salad bar, dimly lit and dreaded 'carving station' - and we fled back to the cosy Cork.

HE SAYS: I had the flatiron steak with a pinot noir reduction gravy and a green salad with blue cheese, walnuts, and balsamic vinaigrette dressing. On the side, I tucked into some crunchy sweet potato fries with a creole mustard dip. We sat at the bar, and the staff were friendly and prompt.

My steak was cooked just right and very tender. The pinot noir reduction was darkly flavoursome with a fruity note. I loved the fries, which were very crispy and slightly sweet, glazed with rock salt. The mustard dip, although a little weird, really balanced the sweetness and delivered a little tang to my tongue. I was happy to have stumbled upon this quiet little Sideways-esque bistro in such a quaint little beach town.

Her lobster melt and nice salad
SHE SAYS: I've not been able to avoid bread as much as I normally do while travelling and still enjoy an affordable, satisfying meal. So I went for broke: the lobster melt with havarti and an excellent salad of field greens, purple haze goat chz, caramelised beets and almonds, plus a citrus vinaigrette, proved not too bloaty and didn't break the bank.

The lobster chunks were sweet and tender, and the havarti was judiciously applied to merely bind bread and seafood, not overwhelm. The vinaigrette was v. light with a hint of grapefruit, and our barmistress later confirmed they put no oil in it. Casual gourmet, all in all, and well-suited to both our needs and wants for the evening.

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