Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Spago - Beverly Hills, CA

This weekend I went to a surprise baby shower for my friend J that her husband, her sister-in-law and her friends planned at Spago. Look at these cute cookies the pastry chef baked up. Can you guess what my next class is going to be??? hahaha.
Look at the beautiful centerpieces that J's friend made.
Each chair had these little onesies tied to the back of them. Cute!
The back of the chairs for the guests of honor had a string of alphabet blocks that spelled out "mommy" and "daddy" on them.

Now for the food! When most of the guests arrived, we were served several hors d'oeuvres. I tried a potato and pea samosa with some kind of chutney, a slice of salmon pizza and an individual cup of risotto. I think there were other types of pizza and some kind of skewered meat going around too, but I didn't try those. The hors d'oeuvres that I did try were really good. The samosa was hot from the fryer and it was the perfect bite size. The house smoked salmon pizza had a smear of dill cream cheese, thinly sliced onions, a layer of the smoked salmon and salmon eggs on top. It was simple, yet delicious. I don't know what kind of risotto we had, but I polished my little cup in a hot minute. I actually tried some of my friend's risotto the night before and it tasted really undercooked, but I hadn't had risotto in awhile, so I thought that was normal and I just wasn't used to it. Clearly I was right, because Spago's risotto was perfect and my friend's dish was really undercooked. We should have said something. Now I know!

Once we sat down, the first course arrived. We started with a Sweet White Corn Soup with Maine lobster, chanterelles and cipollini onions. I am a sucker for all things corn, so even without the lobster, mushrooms and onions, I would be a huge fan. It came in a gigantic bowl and it could have been a meal in it of itself. Don't you want to just swim in it? I do ... with my mouth wide open. =)
For the entree, we had a choice between fish or lobster raviolini. I got the Casco Bay Cod "Acqua Pazza" with a ragout of clams, mussels, sweet shrimp, spanish chorizo and sweet garlic puree. I was so full from the hors d'oeuvres, the soup, bread and drinks that I didn't get to truly enjoy this dish. I'm sure I would have loved it more on a more empty stomach.
My friend K got the Maine Lobster Raviolini with melted leeks, fennel and spicy tomato-saffron broth. I had a taste and it was really yummy.
For dessert, Spago prepared a cake for J. It's a signature dessert that Pastry Chef Sherry Yard is famous for. It was a Twelve Layer Chocolate Dobos Torte served with a side of "50 bean" vanilla ice cream. I'm assuming that means 50 vanilla beans were used for the ice cream. The cake itself is composed of twelve layers of ultra-thin chocolate cake flavored with coffee syrup, layered with equally thin layers of chocolate praline cream. The whole cake was covered in white icing and white fondant. (See how the cake decorating class is coming in handy!) The chocolate cake was decadent yet extremely light. The crushed candy like thing you see in the picture is pulverized almond brittle, as if the 50 bean vanilla ice cream wasn't enough. The almond brittle added another textural element to the dish and let's face it, you can't go wrong with chocolate and nuts together. Especially after taking a cake decorating class and trying to frost a 2 layer cake, I can definitely appreciate the artistry and skill that went into preparing this cake. How in the world does she slice the cake that thin? Sherry Yard, you are my hero.
Wolfgang signed a cookbook for J, which was a nice surprise for the couple too. I think J had a great time and it was such a beautiful shower, celebrating the soon-to-be new addition to their family. =)

It was a great treat for us too. I've been to Spago a couple times in the past and I never really got the hype, but after this meal, I realized that they have a wide range of dishes and they do them all very well. Maybe that's the draw and why people love it so much, they are consistently good.

176 N Canon Dr
Beverly Hills, CA 90210

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