As the weather cools, we can’t help but notice all the little changes signifying that fall, is here. This is the time when I’ll find an array of different produce at my local farmers’ markets which inevitably ends up on my dining table. The same is true when you dine at restaurants committed to serving the best of what’s in season.
At Old Vine Kitchen & Bar, Chef Mark McDonald, is an industry leader when it comes to creating as close to a scratch kitchen as possible. Just about everything is made in-house, from all the extra virgin olive oil infusions, to all breads baked in-house. Chef Mark is committed to keeping options fresh for diners, so special menu items are always added, or rotated, including market fish, steak specials, soups, and more.
One of the ways to enjoy these seasonal dishes is The Chef’s Seasonal Tasting Menu: a four-course dinner ($125) with the option of wine pairings (/$140).
The Chef’s Seasonal Tasting Menu:
Panko Crusted Crab is paired with sauteed shrimp, braised calamari, and mussels, on a bed of celery root puree. The crabcake is exceptionally delicate, with a pillowy center, and a welcoming crunchy texture from the panko crust.
**Leduc-Frouin, Anjou, Chennin Blanc, Anjou, France
Second Course: For someone who isn’t big on ravioli, or truffle for that matter, I thoroughly enjoyed the Black Truffle & Pecorino Ravioli. The black truffle was subtle — I loathe the overuse of truffle — which accentuated the flavor of the mushrooms without overwhelming. I’m so happy to see seared shimeiji as an accoutrement, as these beech mushrooms are one of my favorites. However, the star of the plate was definitely the porcini-leek consomme. The broth is light in mouthfeel, but the depth in flavor is phenomenal. I want a constant supply of this brodo in my fridge!
**Vignoble Edmond Latour, Cotes du Rhone Villages, Rhone, France
Duroc Pork Cheek Confit is one which will delight pork and mole lovers. This reimagined mole is well-executed, and fork tender. Peanut Mole adds a hearty element to the plate, while arroz rojo lends itself perfectly as a vehicle to soak up all the excess mole sauce. The fried poblano strips add a nice crunch! I love how each component on the plate presented a contrasting textural element to the next.
**Preston, Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma, California
I don’t have a sweet tooth, but boy did I enjoy this Caramel Custard Tart dessert! I didn’t think I would enjoy it since caramel tends to run sweet, but of course, it was perfectly balanced, not cloyingly sweet, and paired exquisitely with the apple butter mousse. What a thoughtfully balanced dessert this turned out to be.
**Domaine de la Margotterie, Ugni Blanc, Gironde, France
Enjoy these seasonal dishes while they are available. Reservations are highly recommended and there is patio seating!
Interior: Old Vine Kitchen & Bar
Food: Olivia Wu
Old Vine Kitchen & Bar
at The Camp
2937 Bristol Street
Costa Mesa, CA 92626