|Heirloom's Matt Poley truffleizes the pasta with cauliflower ash|
We were invited there to get to know the wines of Bridlewood Winery, paired with an Heirloom dinner. But soon you won't have to wait to be invited -- early in 2013 The Salon will be open to the public for a few nights a week. Normally L.A.'s pop-up restaurants are the only place you can have this kind of intimate dinner party experience, but The Salon will be a more permanent fixture with the kind of decadent and sophisticated comfort food Heirloom is known for. I already knew Matt Poley and Tara Maxey's food manages to pack exceedingly big flavors into everything they make, thanks to the various lasagna cupcakes, turduckens and ham dinners off the truck I've consumed, but the Bridlewood dinner far exceeded the casual bites I've tried elsewhere.
|winter gourd (pumpkin) soup with crab apples, crabmeat|
Bridlewood's Santa Ynez winery has a beautiful setting 30 miles north of Santa Barbara and sources grapes from around the region, including Monterey Coast and Paso Robles. We started with the 2010 Chardonnay, perfect with a selection of cheeses including Heirloom's housemade almond ricotta. Fairly light-bodied for a Pinot Noir, the Monterey Country Pinot complemented soup made from leftover carving pumpkins - less sweet than pie pumpkins and a lovely foil for lots of lump crabmeat. Each dish incorporates herbs and surprises from Heirloom's garden, like crab apples playing nicely with the crab in the soup.
|Chitarra pasta, truffles, pork sausage with fennel, cauliflower ash|
Next up was Central Coast Blend 175 -- winemakers were said to have tasted 175 blends before finding the right one -- is made from Syrah, Merlot, Tempranillo and Cabernet. The fruity and very drinkable blend was just right with luscious chitarra pasta with housemade pork sausage and truffles.
|smoked lamb sirloin, bean ragout, blackberriies|
One of my great embarrassments is to be a omnivorous food lover who's generally not much of a lamb lover. So I took a tiny bite, figuring the pasta would be enough to fill me up if it didn't wow me, and of course tasted one of the best lamb dishes I've had since the Moulin de Mougins near Cannes many moons ago. Intensely smoky meat played off the meaty flavors in the heirloom beans with a hit of garlic in the broccolini and a schmear of cauliflower ash, whatever that is, for a giant plate of flavor that offered something different in every bite.
|chocolate ganache cake, salted caramel, cocoa nibs, whipped cream|
Bridlewood Winery will be a great stop next time I'm visiting my daughter in Santa Barbara. In the meantime, I'm looking forward to putting aside my pop-up prudishness to try Heirloom's Salon when it opens to the public early next year.
4126 Verdugo Road
Eagle Rock/Glassell Parkish