Fall menu inspired by restaurants- 11/14/2020

The weather is changing and fall is here.   The leaves outside are turning brown, orange, yellow, and red and that is exactly the colors I am using to set up my table.

Lots of yellow, orange, brown, and red to represent fall.


Definitely a fall/autum feel when you look at this table setting.


Table overview


Name tags are set up.


Menu is printed.


Tonight I am putting together a fall menu inspired by restaurants that we have a chance to go to.

It is usually a dish that is memorable so I am trying to re-create it for my friends.


Close look at a plate setting.



Sake cups are out but I forgot to take pictures of sake, wine, and champagne.


Course #1 -Grilled octopus, crispy cannellini beans, roasted cherry tomatoes inspired by A16 in Oakland

This is not exactly the same dish at A16 as I replaced the calamari with octopus, the giant beans with cannellini beans and added roasted tomatoes.

By roasting the tomatoes the sugar seems to be enhanced and they were so sweet almost like candy.  The octopus were grilled and had a nice char and was really flavorful.

I usually do not really like beans but here it is crispy and really go well with the octopus.



Course #2 - Puff potato, quail egg, cauliflower puree, crispy bacon-inspired by Stones throw in San Francisco.

We fell in love with this dish at Stones throw and without a recipe I was able to put my own spin on it and they turned out to be delicious.

Basically, it is a quail egg inserted inside a puff potato witch is a pomme dauphine made with potato puree with choux paste, and then fried until golden brown.  The surprise is when you bite into the puff potato the quail egg should ooze out.


Course #3 - Foie gras negiri inspired by Au pied de cochon in Montreal and a duck "sushi" with Yakumi condiments from Nobu.

I served the Duck "sushi" before and it was an instant hit so I am serving it again for a different crowd.  The idea of serving the Foie Gras negiri with the duck breast is to get 2 different part of a duck.

At first when we ordered the foie gras negiri, we all thought it was a bit weird but it turned out to be such a good combination.  This dish is definitely a keeper.


Course #4 - Paella Valencia, sautéed shrimps, clams, seafood reduction sauce inspired by ASA in Los Atos

ASA served their paella totally different from a traditional paella which is usually served in a shallow and large pan.

I liked their inspiration and I took the same idea but I incorporated a seafood reduction sauce that is so flavorful.  The rice is served with crispy portion and it I gave the dish a nice texture.

Shrimps and clams just elevate the dish.  We all love this dish and I served it many times before and it is always a hit.


Course #5 - Pasta all norma, eggplant, tomatoes, and basil inspired by our travel to Sicily.

This dish is very simple but it is packed with flavors.  The eggplants are roasted and yield a wonderful taste, the tomatoes sauce are slowly cooked and the combination just worked.


 Course #6- Susan's downfall, ravioli, mushrooms, gorgonzola sauce inspired by Cafe Pro Bono in Palo Alto

I burned it a bit but it is still good.  The mushroom ravioli are baked in a cream sauce with gorgonzola and served on a bed of pan seared mushroom.

This dish is super rich that's why I served 3 raviolis for 2 people.


 Course #7- Pan seared wasabi crusted salmon inspired by Stanton Social in New York and sadly it is Permanently closed.

I have never been to Stanton Social but I bought a cookbook from Chef Chris Santos and I really like the way he prepared this dish.

First the skin is removed from the salmon and coated with wasabi paste, topped with crush wasabi peas, and then pan seared a low heat.

It is really interesting dish, crunchy from the crushed wasabi peas and using the wasabi paste to help adhere the pea crumbs add an extra layer of intensity to the spicy salmon.



Since I am all going out I might as well make 3 desserts!

Getting ready to plate my desserts. Here you can see the orange butter cake and the chocolate cookies.


The orange butter cake is really easy to make and I like it a lot because it is moist, rich, and the orange segments gives out a bit of acidity.

Really nice cake, not too sweet and perfect with a cup of coffee.


Flan patissier which is a bake custard in a sweet tart dough.

It is very classic French dessert.  When I used to live in Paris, the highlight of my day is to go to a Boulanger and buy a snack such as a Flan Patissier, an Apple tart, or an Éclairs.

I remember munching on my sweet snacks on my way to catch the metro home.  Such good memories but it was a lifetime ago....  


Hot Chocolate chips freshly of the oven


Here I am platting the last dessert, a warm chocolate chips cookie with a root beer float inspired by Michael Mina in San Francisco

It is a simple dessert but it is also a fun dessert, very American for sure.


Dora jumped into Hoa's lap as she loves food! 

The menu was a sucess and all our guests really enjoyed the food.  We ended the evening with a game of poker and lots of laughter's and fun....

We had so much fun that our guests stayed until 12:30Am..



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