Amazing birthday dinner

During our weekend away, Albert and I made a trip down to Carmel Valley to celebrate my birthday with a dinner. The restaurant was called Marinus and won a ton of awards. I would have to say this was probably one of the top 3 dinners I have ever had in my whole life. Everything was totally delicious. I think the place go the award for most creative cooking in the county or something like that.

The ambience was very nice.

There was also a huge roaring fireplace. I think I read somewhere it was like a 12-foot fireplace. They were quite diligent in tending the fire and keeping it going.

They even customized the menu!

We tried out the chef’s tasting menu, which changes every day. It was like a sampler of a bunch of different types of foods and dishes.

The first thing were these little itty bitty balls of pastry with cheese filling. I purposely didn’t crop the photo so you can see how tiny they were. But they were packed with flavor!

First was what they called a “muse.” Not sure what that meant but I assumed it was the appetizer before the appetizer. It was a vegetable spring roll in some kind of sauce with soy sauce in it. I’m not a veggie lover but it was so delicious! Fresh and crisp and flavorful.

The rolls… a wheat roll and brioche roll. Wow. Some of the best bread I’ve ever had. Soft and so yummy!

I really have no idea what the wait staff was saying when they were describing the foods as they brought them out. Most of the time I heard two or three words and the rest of the time it was blah blah blah. This was sashimi with blah blah spices and blah blah red pepper sauce and blah blah (seafood eggs?) with some kind of lemony citrusy sauce. No idea what she said. But it sure was yummy.

Abalone with creme fraiche and some kind of radish and asparagus and something something vinaigrette.

Roast duck with spinach and cranberry something sauce and morel mushroom and cauliflower something sauce. Some of the best duck I have ever had. Perfectly cooked and the flavor was outstanding!

Another entree item. Kobe beef with fennel and um… is that lettuce? And garlic potatoes.

Then the after dinner platters. Some bread with cranberries and nuts and some other stuff in it…

… to be eaten with the cheese platter. They started out mild on the left to strong on the right. Left side was hmm… I don’t remember the name of the cheese but it was very good. In the back were some almonds coated with a sweet coating. Middle was a very soft and flavorful cheese. Right was blue cheese with apple. I would’ve never thought of putting the two together but it totally worked. In the front was some kind of sweet honey sauce. Out of all the dishes this was probably my least favorite, mostly because the cheeses were somewhat strong tasting. And I was getting pretty full.

Now to cleanse the palate. Coconut sorbet on pistachio crumble and some other crunchy thing, with sauce of something with blood orange.

Dessert was corn ice cream on a crunchy something with blueberries and a… she told us the name twice of the cookie-like thing but I can’t remember it. It was French. But it was kind of crisp on the outside and soft and chewy inside. Sooooo good!

Then some candies. A blue saltwater taffy something coating with soft chocolate inside. Then chocolate something hard coating with soft chocolate inside. Then some kind of fruit jellies. In the back, I think it was a lemon meringue tart? And then a chocolate truffle. All outstanding!

We were way stuffed. It was an awesome meal. I was so full — the small items all added up!

A Yee

Angela Yee is a professional designer (graphic design, stage design, interior design — and teaches leadership skills at

3 comments to “Amazing birthday dinner”

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  1. Glen Nielsen - May 7, 2011

    Fascinating post. Great pics. Matter of fact, I went back thru them multiple times, looking carefully for points of reference to determine actual size of each morsel. I in no way dispute the deliciousness factor of each course.

    I pondered each photo and imagined that I put each item together on one dinner plate to view the complete meal all in one place.

    My conclusion: if it were me … I definitely would have made a pit stop at McDonald’s on the drive back for a Big Mac & fries …

  2. Leslie - June 23, 2011

    How come the menu says “happy birthday”? Did they print that for you?

  3. A Yee

    A Yee - June 23, 2011

    They did! They custom printed it!

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