Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Where to eat in Bakersfield, California

1) Belvedere Room at The Padre Hotel --- What to order : The Padre Hotel is one of the best places to be in Bakersfield. If you are visiting, stop at one of its restaurants for a nice meal. I went to the Belvedere Room. The executive chef is Brad Wise and he prepares really fine dining dishes. To start, I received a pair of dinner rolls and lavash. Lavash is made with flour, water, and salt. They seasoned it with garlic and pepper. I am not a fan of cracker breads, because I prefer the soft varieties, but I liked the presentation. I don't eat butter with my bread, but the black lava salt on top of it was so elegant!

Belvedere on Urbanspoon

Dinner rolls, lavash, and butter with black lava salt

 My main dish was a Pacific Halibut, served on top of zucchini-rice cake with mango salsa. There were some drops of sorrel and fried squash blossoms, filled with chopped halibut. I liked the tempura batter of the blossoms, but they were a little salty. The dish was offered with a butter sauce on the side, but I decided to skip it. Therefore, my halibut was dry. But I still liked it. The mango salsa was spicy and hot! I sipped a glass of Kenwood Cabernet Sauvignon.

Pacific Halibut, zucchini-rice cake, mango salsa, squash blossoms

To finish it off, I ordered the Ice Cream Man. It consists of three different presentations of ice cream. The 50-50 is half orange sorbet, half vanilla ice cream. The ice cream sandwich was my favorite. The cookies were chocolate and the filling was vanilla. And finally, the drumstick was a small cone, filled with vanilla ice cream and dipped in dark chocolate. Well, I had a nice dinner, but I missed my husband, who was busy that night...

Ice Cream Man (50-50, ice-cream sandwich, drumstick)

2)  Valentien Restaurant & Wine Bar --- What to order: The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner. The menu changes seasonally. During the summer, they show movies outside in the garden. The place is small, but cozy. The cuisine is French-inspired and very elegant. We went there for a quick lunch and we were alone in the dinning room, but we had a good meal.

Valentien Restaurant on Urbanspoon
I ordered the typical French Salade Nicoise. It was served with 2 grilled shrimps, Ahi tuna bites, boiled egg, tomatoes, bell pepper, and haricot vert. The interesting addition was the tapenade. Made with kalamata and garlic, it added a nice saltiness to the whole plate. I had a nice glass of Chardonnay (they have a great wine list!).

Salade Nicoise with Grilled Shrimp, Ahi Tuna, and Boiled Egg
My husband ordered the Lamb Sliders (2 small sandwiches). They were dressed with shallots, mustard aioli, and gruyere cheese. On the side, there were pomme frites. Nothing excessive, just the perfect amount of goodness. He paired the lunch with a beer from Louisiana for a change of pace :)

Lamb Sliders with Gruyere and pommes frites

3) The Belvedere Room at the Padre Hotel (revisited) --- What to order: This weekend we were celebrating our 4th Wedding Anniversary, so we decided to celebrate it at one of the best restaurants in town: The Belvedere Room. We were treated extraordinary and I felt like a little princess. Here is what we enjoyed:
The Belvedere Room on Urbanspoon
We started with the Burrata Cheese: California Gem Lettuce, Prosciutto, Cape May Honey, Lavash, and Blood Orange. It was such a delicious combination. The burrata cheese was so silky and creamy. The waiters came to the table with a honey pot and they drizzled a little bit over the salad. The result was a perfect way to start the evening!!!
Burrata Cheese with Prosciutto, Honey, Blood Orange
I ordered the Farmed Texas Striped Bass. It was elegant and artistic. The plate came with Yukon potatoes, Pacific Razor Clam, Sunchoke Chips, Beech Mushrooms, and Water Cress. It was a little bit salty, the sauce was a nice béchamel type, and the entire plate was gluten free.

Farmed Texas Stripped Bass with Sunchokes and Beech Mushrooms
 My husband ordered the Wild Boar Bolognese: Homemade Pork Blood Pasta, Parmesan Reggiano, and Fresh Basil. The portion size was good for entrée, the texture of the pasta was chewy, and the flavors well balanced.
Wild Boar Bolognese with Homemade Pork Blood Pasta
 The best part was the surprise dessert: Sticky Bun Bread Pudding with Vanilla Gelato, Fresh Strawberry, Caramel Sauce, and Local Pecans. The pudding was so soft and tender. The sweetness of the caramel was nicely paired with the neutral nuts and the sweet berries. They lit a small candle for us and made our night so special. Great service, great restaurant!!!

Sticky Bun Bread Pudding with Vanilla Gelato and Caramel

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