The bar, really, it’s the best place to sit. I may be waiting for someone, or I may not, it doesn’t matter, I get to sit in peace and browse the menu without expectations.
Leslie did join me, and we had a lot to discuss, sitting side by side was best. We stayed at the bar and ordered some bits to share. I’d already gone ahead with ordering some pate, and we dug in.
This was a country-style pate, wrapped in thick pancetta, served with salami, mustard, olives, cornichons and pickled Mission figs. A playground of appetizer fun, to dabble with our hot bread and soft butter. It’s certainly a prettier plating than the first time I had their country style pate, about two years ago.
Our discussion tonight was entirely food, and one topic was caesar salads in Santa Barbara. Who had the best? Actually, I didn’t know. I’d heard some rumors, but nothing was confirmed. But this just teased the Petit Valentien people, who turned out to be rather proud of their own caesar salad – I didn’t even realize it was on the menu. So after all the bar talk – and a little bashing – of caesar salads in town, we ordered one.
And you know what? It was very good. Again, simple but good plating. The dressing they confirmed was housemade, with the anchovies and egg. What I liked most was that it wasn’t over dressed, I don’t like the swimming salads. This was subtle so that the tang of the anchovies was soft and paired with the tang of the parmesan cheese. My only issue was the lack of fresh pepper. Or is that me? I used to douse my homemade caesar salads in piles of fresh pepper. We thinks the guys forgot, but no big. If we’d really wanted it, we’d have asked. It’s not hard.
PV has its usual desserts, like the chocolate marquis, the creme brulee and the lemon cheesecake, all of which I’ve had. But tonight we went with the flourless chocolate cake. Wow! It was totally different to all the others around town. Most others are thick and dense. This was light, fluffy, moist, and deliciously edible. I guessed almond flour? Oui. So Donna Hay. Almond flour, whipped egg whites – many of them. It came with whipped cream, chantilly, cocoa powder and some slivers of strawberry. Definitely enough for two birds pecking at the bar.