Sunday night, Lisa and I got a reprieve from Warden Beau and were furloughed for three hours, just long enough to escape for dinner at nearby restaurant Morgan’s. I have been wanting to eat here for a long time but it always seemed impossible. I guess my mind wanders to LA hotspots rather than what is in my neighborhood. Michael Vaughn, executive Sous Chef of the property, has been a regular customer at Figue and every time he comes in I always feel bad I haven’t visited one of his places always promising to get in.
We arrived promptly at 5:30 for cocktails at their beautiful bar for a round of leisurely drinks. Lisa started with a Tangerine and Ginger Margarita while I had the Rum Old Fashioned. The drinks were perfect. I loved the decor of the bar area as it kind of reminded me of an old steak house with a it’s luxurious wood and glass. The bar had a beautiful glass case with cheeses. Next to the bar was a gorgeous outdoor dining area. While we were enjoying our drinks Brian Recor, Chef de Cuisine, came out to visit. Jimmy Schmidt is the name brand behind the concept but Brian is the guy who actually cooks. I don’t mean to slight Jimmy, it’s just for the immediate purposes of filling my stomach with delectable bites I was more interested in Brian’s well-being.
The hostesses lead us to a beautiful table in the back corner of the dining room. Our waiter arrived and offered the regular menu and a tasting menu featuring apples. With too many good choices to decide from we picked one tasting menu and a few dishes of the regular menu. We started with a plate of oysters topped with Riesling and Hard Cider Granita. Normally I am a guy who wants brine and more brine but these oysters were delicious. The brine complimented the sweetness of the granita. Lisa started with a Gruet Brut and I had the ‘Le Cengle Rose’ from Provence. The sparkler highlighted the Sea while my rose brought out the apples. Two great choices for this dish.
After the oysters came their Apple and Chanterelle Ravioli from the tasting menu and Ahi Tuna and Pomegranate Tartare. I had asked the waiter to pick whatever he wanted. The Chef kindly sent out his Baja Shrimp glazed with spices and a ragout of cauliflower and white beans. We both found the ravioli a tad too sweet but the tartare and shrimp were stellar. With the round of appetizers Lisa and I shared a glass of Talbott Sleepy Hollow Vineyard Pinot Noir from the Santa Lucia highlands.
Our main courses were Smoked Pistachio crusted Rack of Colorado Lamb served with White Beans and roasted Garlic dressed in a Pomegranate reduction and Lisa’s Apple Cider cured pan roasted Duck Breast. Lisa paired it with the 2008 Vietti Castiglione Barolo and I had a zinfandel who’s name eludes me. Both dishes were tasty and by now we started thinking about our curfew.
Lisa had forgotten about her dessert but thankfully the waiter remembered. Her Apple Cinnamon Donut Poppers arrived drizzled in Cinnamon Brittle with Salted Caramel Ice Cream. Sated we left, returning to warden Beau and his army of balloons.
To make reservations or for more information on Morgan’s or any of the other restaurants at La Quinta resort please go to their website. It is a gorgeous property with wonderful rooms, shops and best of all several restaurants to choose from. http://www.laquintaresort.com/resort/