Amazing dinner at Chez Panisse

by Anjali @ The Picky Eater on November 24, 2010

On Monday, my amazing husband passed his oral exam for his PhD. After 3.5 years of studying, he finally moved from PhD student to PhD candidate! Hooray! 🙂 So, to celebrate, I decided to surprise him with dinner at Chez Panisse, which is seriously one of the most amazing restaurants in the Bay Area.

For those of you who don’t know, Chez Panisse is an all organic, locally sourced restaurant with an inventive menu that changes daily. Alice Waters is a pioneer in her field – and I greatly respect her for the work she’s trying to do for the school lunch program and The Edible Schoolyard (but that’s for another post 🙂 ). My husband was obviously super excited when he heard that we were going to Chez Panisse. I’m not usually good at keeping surprises for months at a time (I had to make this reservation months in advance!) But this time I did – which made it even more of a surprise for him 🙂 Our reservations were for the cafe upstairs, because there were more vegetarian options for us there.

I love the warm, inviting ambiance of this restaurant! We were already starving when we got in, so we went right to ordering – after they brought out their fluffy, warm, homemade bread with the tastiest all-natural butter I’ve ever had!

Our first entree was the hand cut herb pasta with wild mushrooms – which sounds simple, but it was the most flavorful pasta I’ve ever had! I’m pretty sure they added a lot of garlic and a variety of herbs to the sauce, along with what was probably a healthy helping of butter and olive oil 🙂 Soo tasty though!

I also ordered a ginger orange soda – which looked like rose wine when it came out! It was a really interesting drink – the soda wasn’t too sweet at all – it was actually quite refreshing with a nice hint of ginger to it.

But back to our entrees. In addition to our pasta, we ordered the pizza with wild nettles and pecorino. My husband didn’t even know what nettles were before the pizza came out – and I had only had them once before and didn’t really enjoy them (nettles can be kind of bitter if they aren’t cooked properly). But these nettles were crispy and really flavorful – with hints of garlic, crushed red pepper and probably a host of other spices that I couldn’t identify 🙂

Yummy! And of course, we couldn’t leave without ordering dessert. We ended up getting the Sierra Beauty Apple and Cranberry Tart with Cinnamon Ice Cream. The tart wasn’t too sweet and you could really taste the apples and whole cranberries! The cinnamon ice cream just had a hint of cinnamon and when paired with the sweet crust of the tart and the “tart” filling, rounded out the dessert perfectly.

As usual, and amazing meal at Chez Panisse! My husband and I left very full, content, and happy. And of course – he was relieved that his exam was over! It was the perfect dinner celebration 🙂

 

 

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

BigFatBaker November 24, 2010 at 10:54 pm

First – Congratulations to your husband on becoming a PhD candidate! That is amazing.
Second – I have heard so much abut Chez Panisse and would love to dine there some day. The whole meal looks fabulous. I have never had nettles (but I am willing to try!) & just about anything is good on pizza!

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater November 30, 2010 at 12:28 am

Awww thank you so much!! He and I both say thanks 🙂 The meal really was just unique and fabulous – if you are ever in the Bay Area you must stop by there! They can seriously make anything taste good – even nettles which can be really bitter if they aren’t cooked well!

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kathdedon November 25, 2010 at 6:53 am

What a wonderful celebration dinner! I would love to be able to go to Chez Panisse someday. Thanks for the peek at the wonderful food.

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater November 30, 2010 at 12:29 am

Thanks so much!! So glad you liked the post! 🙂

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking November 25, 2010 at 9:29 am

Woohoo, congratulations to your husband!! That’s an amazing accomplishment!

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater November 30, 2010 at 12:29 am

Awwww thank you so much Julie!! Hope you are doing well! 🙂

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Boulder Locavore November 25, 2010 at 10:42 am

Love Chez Panisse! As an ex-Bay Area resident I appreciate the vicarious living through your meal! It looked beautiful and a wonderful place to celebrate!

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater November 30, 2010 at 12:31 am

Hehe oh yay – I’m glad I could give you a virtual tour of our dinner 🙂 If you ever end up visiting the bay, you have to let me know!

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Jan November 25, 2010 at 11:54 am

Way to go, and it sounds like the perfect place to go to! The food looks amazing my boss goes to SanFrancisco regularly I will make sure she checks this place out. Thanks for the post and congrats to hubby!

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater November 30, 2010 at 12:31 am

It really was the perfect place to celebrate 🙂 Thanks for all the support Jan!!

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Lisa November 30, 2010 at 11:20 am

Congrats to your husband! My boyfriend is a Bay Area native and has raved about Chez Panisse for a long as I’ve known him. Great to hear another perspective on it. Now I must make it a goal to go at some point in my life!

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater November 30, 2010 at 12:33 am

Thanks Lisa!! And yeah – I can totally see why your boyfriend raves about it! It’s one of the best restaurants in the Bay for sure. I’m sure you will love eating there if you get a chance to visit! 🙂

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Sheila November 6, 2012 at 8:29 pm

This meal looks fantastic! Hope you don’t mind I used the first photo, of Chez Panisse from the outside (linked to you), in my blog. I’m visiting the restaurant in a few months and am SO excited!! 🙂

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater November 9, 2012 at 12:26 am

Thanks Sheila! And no problem at all – thanks for crediting the photo back to me! Can’t wait to hear how you like Chez Panisse – it is truly an amazing experience! 🙂

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