So This is What it Feels Like to be a Food Judge

After the offsite bonanza (see post) with my colleagues and being judged on my food, it was time for ME to judge other people's food.

I had to go to Ondine in Sausalito for a dinner tasting. My boyfriend's brother lives in Japan and is getting married in September, so he needed us to go to the venue and taste the food. I obviously, was more than ecstatic to complete this task. Free food? I'm there!

We sat at a round table with two other couples and tasted a wide variety of dishes. We started off with a trio of appetizers – lobster "BLT," crab cake and garlic crostini with tomato raisin chutney. My favorite was the lobster BLT with its cherry tomatoes, frisee and candied bacon on a wafer-like cracker. It was a nice modern twist to a classic. Plus, an easy to eat hor devours – an always must.

First course included two salads – Caesar and baby field greens. Caesar's a Caesar, nothing that unique. The baby field greens was bright, full of color, but slightly over dressed with its basil-buttermilk dressing. If it was better dressed, it would have been a clear winner.

Main course started with grilled organic salmon with a citrus reduction, leek fondue and roasted new potatoes. The dish, as listed on the menu, was suppose to come with couscous, salted almonds and swiss chard, so not sure what exactly happened in the kitchen. The fish was slightly undercooked, otherwise, not bad.

Second option was grilled chicken breast in a mushroom Marsala sauce with potato gnocchi and brussel sprouts. The chicken was moist, but it would have easily won extra points if it came de-boned (I hate eating off the bone). The sauce was good, not too heavy and had the right consistency.

Next came the filet mignon with cheese potato cake, broccolini and red wine shallots. I loved the potato cake (basically, mashed potatoes with cheese, grilled). It was so soft and fluffy, I could eat that all day. The filet mignon was extra tender, maybe too tender where it seemed unnatural. I know, I know, that sounds crazy, you want your meat to be tender, but I would have enjoyed a little bit more chewiness.

We were lucky and had a vegetarian option that was not planned. The dish was a large, grilled portobello with micro-salad and couscous. Hmm, so  this is where the couscous from the salmon dish went… The portobello mushroom was drenched in balsamic vinegar and complimented the light couscous very well. This would have been my favorite dish if it was not for the potato cake earlier.

Needless to say, we were stuffed and couldn't finish every dish. The dishes were satisfying and had a good variety of flavors to choose from.

After all the savory flavors, my taste buds needed something sweet. We headed to an ice cream shop down the street and I ordered a scoop of guava sorbet. I love guava and was excited to try it – not bad. I don't think I'd get it again, but it quickly fulfilled my sweet tooth.

Ondine and Sausalito were gorgeous, right on the ocean with views of beautiful San Francisco. It is definitely an excellent venue to have a wedding. Congratulations again to Ray and Aki! Thank you for letting us taste for you.

See and download the full gallery on posterous

Posted via email from i like to eat.


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