Au Midi Chef Muriel Loubiere
Dining Reviews

May Fool Day Menu at Au Midi

Playful prix fixe at Au Midi, plus a Double Gold for Soquel Vineyards and May Sala Soirees

Chef Muriel Loubiere of Au Midi with her seafood paella, which she serves as a special on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. PHOTO: KEANA PARKER

Over at Au Midi in Aptos, chef Muriel Loubiere is busy whipping up a playful prix fixe menu on May 3 in honor of “May Fool Day,” a whimsical faux holiday filled with playful ideas.

Her menu is breathtaking—especially for the price of $58 per person. The meal begins with seared spot prawns in cauliflower cream and kobu sukiyaki jelly topped with sliced almonds. Then comes your choice of either lamb tajine with artichoke, apricots, potatoes and Moroccan spices … or … an authentic bourride Provençale with monkfish, mussels and squid, with baby leeks, potatoes and fennel in a light aioli emulsion. Dessert is a spring tart of almond cream, basil and lime mousse, with strawberries confit in currant syrup that should remind you why you got up in the morning. How surprising, and wonderful, is it that this tiny slice of Southern France continues to create culinary miracles in a quiet corner of Aptos Village?  The May 3rd special dinner is by reservation only. Au Midi is located at 7960 Soquel Drive, Aptos. 685-2600, aumidi.com.


Double Gold for Soquel

What did Goldfinger love in the eponymous James Bond film classic? “Only gold!” And so do winemakers. Well, the savvy artisans over at Soquel Vineyards have earned not only Gold at the 2017 California State Fair Commercial Wine Competition, they’ve earn a Double Gold! In the category of the best red wine of California, taking a whopping 98 points is SV’s 2014 Consonante Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine, made by Jon Morgan and Peter and Paul Bargetto, is the winery’s first vintage from this Coombsville, Napa Valley vineyard. With good grapes, you’re halfway there. But the winemakers’ skill helped to finesse the big wine’s notes of tobacco, blackberries and pepper. At 14.5 percent alcohol, this award-winning creation delivers all of the complex flavors with style. Set aside a few bucks (!) for this double gold beauty, or perhaps visit the scenic tasting room in the Soquel Hills and attempt a diplomatic agreement. Special occasion wine with a regional accent.


Soiree Dining in May

A few months ago my longtime friend Melody and I dined, drank, and met new friends at one of the debut Sala Soiree private home events. We loved it, and so I’m letting you know about two more of these non-generic food salons coming up in May.

Saturday, May 13, a ‘Surf’s Up!’ benefit dinner party unfolds in a West Cliff beach house. Chef Gonzo Sanchez will start you off with oysters and grilled ono from H&H Fresh Fish, followed by teriyaki chicken, mac salad and Hapa rice. Hosted by realtor Gretchen Bach, with a 75 person max. The following Saturday, May 20  is Meet the Winemaker: Keegan Mayo of Assiduous Wines, at the amazing Soquel Hills home of artist Sally Bookman. Keegan’s favorite mojitos pair with ahi sashimi wontons and chicken and beef skewers during the cocktail hour. The three-course pairing dinner will be a sit-down event for 22 max! Both evenings are $60/person and run from 6:30-10 p.m. For any inquiring bon vivant interested in something a bit different, but absolutely welcoming. For your invitation, go to salasoiree.com/events/may.


Carpano Update

Thanks to sophisticated readers for responding to my query about the luscious red vermouth Carpano Antica. Many of you found this lovely libation on menus at Soif and Oswald. Others brought it home from Shopper’s Corner, Bevmo, and 41st Avenue Liquors. Informant N.D. says she serves Carpano on the rocks with an orange peel or an anise star. Mmm, sounds wonderful. If you have an unusual digestif, please send me your favorites. As a longtime Fernet Branca devotee, I love these suggestions!

Christina Waters was born in Santa Cruz and raised all over the world (thanks to an Air Force dad), with real-world training in painting, music, winetasting, trail running, organic gardening, and teaching. She has a PhD in Philosophy, teaches in the Arts at UCSC and sings with the UCSC Concert Choir. Her new book 'Inside the Flame'

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