1st Taggia; 1st Methode (Scottsdale)
We did our first Taggia visit last night and our first Methode Bistro visit tonight.
The summary is we enjoyed Taggia but we weren't wowed by it. We were wowed by Methode Bistro.
We had a good sized party with a bunch of small children for Grandma's birthday. I will definitely say they made us very comfortable, the room was nice and the service was great. With all the kids, they way they accomodated us did a lot to make it a great night.
As for the food, it was good but it didn't knock our socks off. Having read many reviews & seeing a mix of reactions, I tended to agree with the favorable authors in other instances & was hoping that I would fall in love with the place for the quality of their ingredients. Just didn't get it. The favorite was the burrata antipasti which they now serve with speck. Really, really enjoyed that. They also had killer bread and a yummy olive oil. Other than that, we did enoy the grilled calamari appetizer, the pizza margherita, the traghetti and the sea bream & yellowfin tuna dailiy specials. I think the opinion was universal that we would go back but we wouldn't be pushing it to the top of our to revisit list.
I will also mention that the hotel is really pretty beautiful and very comfortable. They have a great lobby to lounge in and they have built some great beautiful fire pit areas to hang out by the pool. Perfect for a winter night and maybe a coffee drink. Feels like you've been transported elsewhere.
We did our work Christmas party at Methode tonight & had a limited menu. Of all the choices I sampled, I loved pretty much every one. And while Methode Bistro is definitely less of a child geared place, they handled us really well too.
The thing that really stood out, as you would hope, was the food. It started right from the kid's menu. These were the first things to make it to the table - the kid's roasted chicken & vegetables & pizza. Both were great! It was very, very cool to see something other than chicken fingers. I couldn't stop stealing some of our daughter's chicken with beautifully crisped skin. Our nephew's pizza even tasted interesting. The "pepperoni" tasted as if it was made with duck or possibly turkey?? I'm betting turkey. It was great.
As far as the adults at our table, only one of us was able to order a starter other than the modified foie gras appetizer (the pistou soup). The foie was awesome and the pistou soup was super tasty as well. For dinner we split the ricotta gnocchi with braised pork and crispy artichokes and the roasted sturgeon with forest mushrooms, mini ravioli and morel tea. Both were wonderful but I'd probably give the nod to the sturgeon. I would order that again in a heartbeat. I couldn't get enough of the morel tea. I couldn't refrain from being uncouth & mopping some up with their wonderful bread. The roulade of prime rib also got great reviews but didn't get a chance to sample that. For dessert, we split the chocolate croissant "pudding" with cognac creme anglaise (basically a yummy bread pudding) and the gateau fromage with sambuca negro marinted prunes & vanilla almonds (goat cheese cheesecake). I'd recommend doing the same & sharing both as well if given the chance.
We will DEFINITELY be bumping Methode Bistro up on our to revisit list.
Thanks for the reviews. Methode Bistro is tremendous, and I'm hoping it will someday be more recognized in town. We're heading back to Taggia this Saturday. We had a great meal there before, highlighted by the burratta and grilled calamari. Can't wait to try some new things. By the way, those fire pits are also great for making s'mores, and they'll give you a set up if you ask.
Barry, post back the results of your visit. Would definitely be interested to read about your visit.
You know. It may be me too with Taggia. I am not at all convinced that I have a very discerning or educated palate though I do try. Maybe it was the chef's day off? It was a Monday night after all.
I don't get the trighetti. I definitely like it but my wife makes pasta like that all the time. Maybe I have it too good at home. : ) I would also be interested to hear your specifics on the trighetti, WB. Maybe I'm just missing something. I do, as always, value your feedback.
I would be happy to go back & gorge on burrata right now though. I think we'll have to try it in a smaller group too (we had 12 or 13 of us).
i'm with you on the burrata..it is soooo fantastic..
don't worry about your palate!! the first wine tasting i went to the sommelier had great advice 'it's all about personal preference. if you learn how to detect whats made well, and whats not, the rest is nothing more than personal preference.'. i think thats great advice for just about all things culinary. even if i HATE the flavor/taste, or its not my preference, its easy to see whether or not the chef used good ingredients, etc. thats where i think culinary maturity comes in - the difference between 'i really can't stand this' and 'this is shoddy'. they aren't the same.
so back to traghetti. i'm a big of a pasta geek weirdo, so indulge me for a sec. gorgeous handmade pasta like traghetti is extruded, and usually from antique machines, usually brass. the reason? over time, the machines *hand cranked, etc* and parts get little pits or dents. these leave their mark in pasta, and its what helps grip the sauce. if you ever see the cheap elbow macaroni in the grocery store, take a good look at one piece. its completely smooth. usually the result of stainless steel equipment, which doesn't age in the same way. the result is preternaturally smooth pasta, but that smooth texture won't hold sauce. on the other hand, next time you are at lgo - take a look at all the bagged fancy pasta. they'll be proud of their equipment and say things like 'brass extruder' or 'antique pasta machine', etc. you'll also be able to see the physical imperfections in the texture - the rigatoni won't be sooo super smooth, there will be texture there, from the old parts.
thats the first part. the second? the glorious shape. i love the mouth feel on trighetti, its chewiness, the way it holds the simple sauce. where else in town can you go and get trighetti? its just not around here that i've found. perfection!!
and lastly - that dish reminds me of my own personal philosophy of fantastic work in ANY kitchen - you take the best, freshest ingredients and you do as little to them as possible and voila - food perfection. there are 3 ingredients in that sauce - pancetta, grated parm, and cream. all 3 the best quality available, tossed together that instant, and served immediately. the epitome, to me at least, of excellent food.
then there's the highly controversial part about that dish being *for lack of a better word* authentic. i just think you're more likely to stumble across a dish like that in taggia italy than say, a baked ziti with cheesey garlic bread. which isn't to say i don't love baked zit with cheesey garlic bread *who doesn't? :D*. they're just different riffs on italian food.
does that help? :)
and if you're wife is cooking like that i'm totally jealous of family dinner nite :D
We went to Taggia last night to let my mother & father in law sample the burrata before they close. The manager (I asked on the phone) and the waiter (Husband asked at our table) both explained that they aren't closing, but that the chef is focusing on their Washington, DC property. The waiter went on to say that the kitchen staff hasn't changed and that the sou chef is not leaving, so everything will stay the same. Ok. But I still won't be surprised if they do switch overnight. However, it will be sad. M&FIL are both southern italian and were thoroughly impressed with the burrata (we had the regular app and a special of burrata + roasted tomato on foccaccia), the speck was superb, they loved the bread, swooned that they were using Queen Creek olive oil, and were very impressed with the quality of the entrees. My MIL is cRaZy for ravioli, so she had the mushroom/crab and I had the special potato, shrimp & asparagus ravioli. FIL had the sea bream special (w/ artichokes over polenta) and enjoyed every bite.