I went down for a treatment at at the Garden Gate Day Spa and at walked over to the Greenhouse Bistro and Bakery to wait for Suzette for dinner. After sitting for a few minutes Chef Eric brought me a plate with a lovely small plastic container filled with a fresh carrot and turnip bisque made from the fresh carrots and turnips from the Greenhouse Bistro’s gardens. The Greenhouse Bistro sits on a six acre site that is part of the Center for Ageless Living that is owned by Suzette Lindemuth, who is my life partner or companera de vida as the Mexicans say and is the visionary who has created the Center for Ageless Living in
. Los Lunas, New Mexico
Shortly after being served the soup, Ann Sesler, the Executive Chef and Director of Cuisine for the Center brought a plate of fresh baked soda bread and a cruet of a fresh tomato and herb coulis, which was a tasty addition to the soup.
After waiting a bit longer I began getting hungry, as I watched others eating their dinners, so I ordered a bowl of the Seafood Stew that was the prix fix meal of the day and a glass of Raymond Sauvignon Blanc Reserve. Suzette arrived as the soup was being served.
The soup was served in a dark brown French crock filled with a lovely light broth (caldo) and lots of bay scallops, mussels, shrimp and ringlets of squid. Suzette and I shared it and I really enjoyed it as the soup and fish course of the dinner with sips of the Sauvignon Blanc white wine.
I then ordered one of the dishes from the regular menu, a 6 oz. filet mignon served on a round of fried eggplant and garnished with Sauce Béarnaise plated with a pile of wonderfully delicious garlic mashed potatoes and a pile of sautéed green picked fresh from the Center’s garden that day. The greens included snow peas, arugula, mizutaki, Swiss chard, and other greens. I especially liked the snow pea peas. It is the end of the season for snow peas and some of them have grown large peas inside their shells and those peas have a sweeter, less dense flavor that an English pea when sautéed.
The meat was cooked to medium rare and was delicious. The Béarnaise Sauce was thick and creamy yet had that sharp bite of vinegar and fresh tarragon that makes it so appealing with beef. The round of eggplant was coated with panko and fried in oil, like in eggplant parmesan. On top of the steak was a sautéed mushroom cap filled with crab meat and the whole piled up stack of eggplant, steak and crab filled mushroom was drizzled with the Sauce Bearnaise. This is my favorite way to eat steak and I loved the presentation and all of the elements of the dish. A small filet mignon ha been my favorite steak since I was a small child growing up in Fort Worth, Texas, which was one of the greatest places to find a good steak in the world in the 50’s, since it was one of the main rail heads and packing plants for cattle in the U.S. I remember many great evenings of eating petit filet mignon at the Farmer Daughter and the Cattlemen’s Restaurants.
Suzette ordered her favorite dish from the Northern California Special Menu, Crab Cakes served on a bed of green pea puree with a cucumber and coriander slaw. She also asked for the sautéed fresh vegetables. I handed her my glass of Sauvignon Blanc and took a glass of Parducci Pinot Noir. Parducci is located in
in Ukiah, California in Mendocino County Northern California, which is my favorite area for pinot noir. We had just been to the Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival, which is only about 20 miles from Ukiah, where Parducci is located and from which it probably gets some of the fruit for its pinot noir wine (See May 19, 2012 review for more on the Pinot Noir Festival).
After we finished our large platters of food, Ann asked if we wanted dessert and I asked what they had that was special and she said, “Armando (the chief baker) made a lemon chiffon cheese cake that we are serving with a cherry coulis made from fresh cherries from the trees in the garden.” Although I was full and could not eat another bite, I asked Ann to