I really need to remember to be specific when doing these contests. Not only did I neglect to say that going over did not matter, but I also forgot to mention whether sales tax should figure in, though I did tell you to exclude tips. Anyway, on to the answer.
Victoria and Albert’s has a fixed price menu of $115 per person (this actually varies with the time of year, I think). We also ordered the wine pairings to go with each course, which was $60 per person. However, Lisa also sprung for an extra $15 Foie Gras option. This brought the subtotal to $365, so Shelley was closest. After taxes, it was up to $388.73, so Al was the closest to that number. You KC boys really must have life really cheap out there.
On to the important part, the menu.
We each got our own personalized menu.
Here is mine. Click on the thumbnail for the larger view, it should be fairly legible at that size. Lisa had a slightly different menu, without the seafood options. On to what we ate, no pictures though, sorry. I will try to describe Lisa’s food as well, but I only had a bite or two here and there, so maybe she can chime in with a comment.
Obviously we both enjoyed the little bit of bubbly to start, and toasted to our birthdays, which bracketed the dinner date. I had the Dungeness and King Crab to start, which was honestly a little bit plain. The small taste of caviar was nice though. The Vermentino wine was a good starter too, a crisp and delicate partner to the seafood. Lisa had heirloom tomatoes with hearts of palm and 25 year balsamic vinegar. I never bought in that much to the age numbers on balsamic, but that stuff was good.
Next up for me was the Minnesota Elk. Now we’re talking. In contrast to the understated seafood appetizer, this one kicked you over with flavor. Good rare meat, nice bit of spaetzle to absorb some of the sauce, and I really enjoyed the sweetbreads (go ahead, click the link and remind yourself of what sweetbreads are. They were good is all I know). The Perez Cruz Reserva Carmenere was typical Chilean: bold and spicy, with lots of fruit flavors (I apologize for the sloppy wine reviews, I didn’t take notes like I do when sampling beers). Lisa had the foie gras and practically moaned through every bite, so I assume she enjoyed it.
I had the New Zealand John Dory next (being in Disneyworld, I couldn’t help thinking I was eating Dory from Finding Nemo), which was delicious. The Christian Moreau Chablis was another nice white seafood accompaniment, citrusy with some apple. Lisa had an awesome butternut squash soup instead of seafood here.
Ah, the main course. I had a really hard time choosing here between the pork tenderloin and the lamb. I eventually chose the lamb, since Lisa doesn’t like lamb so much and I don’t get much opportunity to have it. The Cesari “Mara” Vino Di Ripasso Valpolicella was one of my two favorites (along with the Perez Cruz). It balanced the mixture of the lamb and salty prosciutto and sweet and sour sherry vinaigrette, not as bold as the Chilean, but strong enough to hold its own with all those flavors running around. Lisa was sold on the poulet rouge after hearing about the truffled egg. The chef lets the eggs sit in an enclosed refrigerated space with the truffles for three days, allowing the flavors to seep through the shell into the egg. And I am not going to do it justice, but he poaches the egg in its shell just so, adding shaved truffles at the end. Seriously, I tried the egg, and the one bite I had was worth $10 easily. The poulet rouge with the Pinot Noir was divine as well.
Both of us had the cheese plate with Cockburn’s Tawny Porto. Criminally, this is only the second time I have ever had port. The Comte cheese was both of our favorites.
We also both had the Hawaiian Kona Chocolate Souffle. The pear sounded interesting to me, and in retrospect I should have tried it, but I was in the mood for some chocolate. We also had a gimmicky coffee service, where the coffee grounds are positioned in a pot placed above a tube running down to the coffee pot. A flame is placed under the water, which gradually steams up the tube until it condenses and mixes with the coffee grounds. After the heat it removed, the liquid is sucked back down through the tube into the pot. Anyway, I know that chocolate souffles are probably overrated as a dessert, but it was still extremely good.
So there you have it, nearly $400 of food and wine. If you click through on each of the wine links above, you can see that we probably got a reasonably decent deal on that part. Our waiters Jack (from Yonkers, NY, by way of Washington, DC!) and Sherry were not shy about filling our glasses with reasonable amounts of wine, and I was not shy about tipping them afterward. And yes, I did wake up at 5am with a raging, pounding headache, but luckily, a couple of Motrin and a couple more hours of sleep, and I was okay, unlike when I was in Vegas.
I hope you enjoyed this culinary adventure as much as I did. Feel free to criticize my choices (why didn’t you spring the extra $80 for the Kobe you moron?!?!) or brag about your trivia guesses in the comments. The kiddie portion of Disney will begin on Thursday, maybe.