Foie Gras Cookies
Was visiting family in San Diego yesterday and finally got to dine at Juniper and Ivy. Took at 5:30 reservation (partially due to the fact that we had a five year old in tow) and the place was fairly packed and booming within a half hour. Service was great, especially with the little one to take into consideration. I was initially concerned with the fact that the food came out rather quickly, but it certainly did not suffer. Highlights were the ahi (which had the seemingly incongruous accompaniments of a short rib ravioli and cream-style kale, but were rather harmonious), the bbq carrots (the jalapeno chutney that dressed them would make an awesome bottled condiment), and that pretty darned perfect buttermilk biscuit. The desserts were all good but very SWEEEET!!! Blais and his pastry team seem to like a fair amount of sugar in your face.
As a long time Top Chef watcher, I was always skeptical of Blais need to push innovation through the competitions, and if it really did produce on-the-ground delicious food. My experiences with modernist food have been from one extreme to the other: really great or puzzlingly disappointing. Blais is the real deal. The whimsy that is inherent on the menu actually results in some tasty food. All of us at the table want to come back and try more stuff on the menu.