Archive for the 'Aubergine' Category

Aubergine, Carmel, CA

Last month the restaurant I work at closed for the week around Labor Day to give the staff a break. That seemed to me like the perfect time to make my yearly trek out to California. So I put together a nice little dining itinerary and headed west.

My first destination, after retrieving Rocky from a family visit in Hollister, was a night in Carmel-by-the-Sea to see what Chef Justin Cogley was cooking up by the shore. I had read up on him and what he’s working with on the Monterey Peninsula and was excited to check it out. Really excited.  We drove into town, stopped by our hotel for a moment, spent a gloriously warm and sunny few hours on the beach, then prettied up and made our way to dinner at Aubergine, the Restaurant at L’Auberge Carmel.

aubergine carmel place setting

We said a few hellos, settled at our table, ordered some bubbles and the tasting, and got the party started.

aubergine carmel shiso green tea shots

Shot. First up, a fresh, effervescent shot of green tea, shiso, and pomegranate.

aubergine carmel kelp chips and dip

Chips and Dip. Kelp chips that I think he said were dried on rocks for a year. Along with sea spinach aioli.

aubergine carmel crispy potato

Crispy Potato. Light and crisp fried strings of potato with shellfish sauce.

aubergine carmel oysters

Oyster. Shigoku oysters with lychee and ginger snow. A nice balance of brine, sweet, and spice.

aubergine carmel quail egg

Quail Egg. I kind of missed the details, but the eggs were either cooked or cured with some lapsang souchong, which gave them a nice bitter tea leaf flavor.

aubergine carmel flax cracker

Flax Cracker. Flax seed crisps topped with apricot and white cheddar.

aubergine carmel kobe wagyu tartare

Wagyu Tartlet. A beautiful tartare of A5 Kagoshima beef with roe and amaranth leaf. A fantastic bite.

aubergine carmel sea urchin caviar

aubergine carmel caviar milk gelee

aubergine carmel uni

Uni, caviar. Canadian sturgeon caviar laying with sea grapes on a bed of raw milk and kombu gelees with some sea urchin alongside to mix in. The pop of the sea grapes and the salinity of the caviar and kombu were great with the creamy, sweet uni.

aubergine carmel foie gras

aubergine carmel foie gras gift

Foie Gras. Super smooth rich foie wrapped in grape gel with ash roasted leeks, hibiscus jelly, and a slice of brioche. Rocky said it was her new favorite ‘PB&J’.

aubergine carmel diver scallop

Scallop. A Massachusetts diver scallop cooked in its shell served with its steamed roe, lemon water, lemon balm, and meyer lemon.

aubergine carmel abalone

aubergine carmel monterey abalone

Abalone. Monterey Bay abalone and seaweed with oyster leaf and mushroom in a chicken and umeboshi consomme. Killer.

aubergine carmel king salmon

aubergine carmel salmon

King Salmon. Local king salmon topped with spinach puree, coastal herbs, and pineapple weed. Finished with chamomile broth.

aubergine carmel chicken

aubergine carmel spring chicken

aubergine carmel young chicken

Chicken. Young spring chicken with grapes, chanterelles, charred fermented leeks, and puffed rice. The rice was a nice texture against the juicy bird.

aubergine carmel lamb

aubergine carmel lamb

Lamb. Shoulder, loin, and pickled tongue of lamb. An awesome spread of sprouted legumes. Milk skin with lamb heart seasoning. Lovage and whey sauce.

aubergine carmel wagyu

aubergine carmel kagoshima wagyu beef

aubergine carmel wagyu beef

Beef. An amazing offering of A5 Wagyu from Kagoshima grilled and rested in sake and rock salt and wrapped in nori. Accompanied with sake lees and meyer lemon, plum puree, pickled baby ginger, soy salt, and an incredible porcini. Truly decadent.

aubergine carmel cheese

Cheese. Ossau-Iraty, a Basque sheep’s milk cheese served warm with a crumble of Thai Long pepper, Japanese barley, and a rich, earthy chicken and black truffle sauce.

So I follow Aubergine Pastry Chef Ron Mendoza on Instagram. His desserts always look effing stunning. I was amped to try them for myself.

aubergine carmel cucumber sorbet

Cucumber Sorbet. With Thai basil meringue, white chocolate powder, finished with melon comsomme. Terrific. Clean, light and fresh.

aubergine carmel pine lemon yogurt

Pine, Lemon, Yogurt. Superb little bowl. Great texture between the yogurt and the meringue. Super f*cking delicious, with a lingering developing complexity.

aubergine carmel bavarois

aubergine carmel peach bavarois

aubergine carmel peach nerds

Bavarois. Sheep’s milk bavarois with compressed peaches, sable, and nerds. Delightful. An incredible composed dessert.

aubergine carmel smoked milk

aubergine carmel smoked milk chocolate

Chocolate. Smoked milk chocolate mousse with corn ice cream, corn silk, crispy quinoa, and raspberry sauce. A beautiful balance of tastes and textures.

aubergine carmel madelines


aubergine carmel petit fours

aubergine carmel tapioca coconut lime

aubergine carmel chocolate mint rock

Mignardises. Coconut lime tapioca pudding cracker with nasturtium. Tangy and crunchy. Chocolate mint rock. Coolly minty.

A fantastic dinner and a great taste of the coast. Certainly worth a trip to the shore to see what’s going on at Aubergine.

Date of visit:  September 2, 2013

Aubergine. Monte Verde at Seventh. Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA  831.624.8578