Take Delicious and Multiply it by Extraordinary and you get Talavera’s Long Meadow Ranch Dinner
Last month, Talavera at the Four Seasons in Scottsdale featured an exquisite menu created by the Long Meadow Ranch. If you are not familiar with the Long Meadow Ranch it is a 650-acre historic ranch nestled high atop the Mayacamas Mountains above the Napa Valley. There they produce award-winning wines and handcrafted extra-virgin olive oils – as well as grass-fed beef, eggs, and heirloom fruits and vegetables.
Talavera is a gorgeous mountain-top restaurant and we were delighted to be seated on the patio. Even before we were able to be wowed by the food, my dining companion and I were blown away by the dramatic view of Pinnacle Peak. The patio was elegant and warm and was the perfect backdrop to our unforgettable meal.
Andre, our server, was the consummate professional. He was friendly, informative and very available. He explained each of our dishes and the coordinating wines. He had a Caribbean charm and friendly nature that added not only to our meal, but to the whole experience.
We started our meal with an amazing bread that had been topped off with a wonderful Olive Oil created by the Long Meadow Ranch. The olive oil added a slight salt flavor that was understated but amazing. We tried as hard as we could to eat only one piece, so as not to spoil our dinner, but could not resist at least one more piece!
Our 1st course was a Goat Cheese tart with Caramelized Fennel topped with an arugula & radicchio salad dotted with a red wine gastrique. I found the goat cheese to be delectable and the sweetness of the fennel matched with the tartness of the gastrique was phenomenal and amazing way to start the evening. The 2008 Sauvignon Blanc that paired with this course was lush and a nice match to the goat cheese.
Our 2nd course was a Pomegranate Glazed Duck Breast over a Winter Squash Blini and paired with a 2005 Sangiovese. The duck was so tender and rich that I would have been pleased had all the rest of the plates just re-featured this dish. My companion had never tried duck before and she was in love after the first bite. The blini added a nice change of texture and the full body and tinge of sweetness provided by the Sangiovese rounded out the dish quite nicely.
Our Entrée was an All Natural NY Strip medallion served with a Celery Root Gratin and Turnips & Nantes Carrots paired with a 2005 Ranch House Red. The strip was topped with a lovely mushroom sauce and was cooked perfectly, slightly smoky and just the right temperature. The celery root gratin was ridiculous. It was akin to an Alfredo dish – creamy and delicate…absolutely amazing! The turnips and carrots were nice too – but we next to the gratin there isn’t much to say. The dark and spicy notes of the Ranch House Red played right into the depth and flavors of the meat.
Dessert was a Molten Chocolate Cake served with a Cranberry Compote and Maple pecan Ice Cream paired with a 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon. Now molten chocolate cake is good, but this was positively sinful. The tart of the cranberry matched with the richness and depth of the chocolate almost made me weep…and I don’t really care that much for chocolate. The texture and cold of the maple pecan ice cream alongside the heat of the melted chocolate was simply brilliant.
By this point in the meal we were wishing for larger pants and someone to carry us to our car. I have had some really great meals in my life – but this was one that I could savor and feel good about all at the same time. I knew where each component of my meal came from and was provided with great service and attention all throughout our meal. This was a wonderful experience and I encourage you to visit longmeadowranch.com to learn more about their services and practices as well as the great items they have for purchase. As always, Talavera is a wonderful place for dinner whether on the intimate terrace or in the rustic and warm dining room, make sure they are on your list of Valley Must Eats!
Talavera | 10600 East Crescent Moon Drive | Scottsdale, Arizona | 480-513-5085
Review by Taryn Jeffries, PhoenixBites Staff Writer