Maude Ventures to the Central Coast

Since Maude changed its format to focusing on wine regions every quarter, they have taken us on journeys to Rioja and Burgundy. For their third featured region, Maude takes us to our own backyard, the Central Coast. From Santa Barbara to Monterey, the Central Coast is a region filled with so much bounty and the Maude team spent a week visiting farmers, purveyors and winemakers to create the menu.

The menu generally focuses around the fresh local seafood that we are so fortunate to have access to. Spot prawns, abalone, oysters and uni are just some of the delectable treats we enjoyed. And each dish was paired with wine selections from producers in the Central Coast, from under-the-radar producers to well-known names.

As we arrived to Maude for our reservations, we were escorted upstairs to the wine cellar lounge. This room is now incorporated into the regional tasting menus. For Rioja, we started in the lounge with a glass of Cava and a plate of jamón serrano and cheese. For Burgundy, we ended the evening in the lounge where we enjoyed a cheese and dessert display. And for Central Coast, we again started our meal upstairs where we were greeted with a glass of Broc Cellars, Chenin Blanc, Petillant, Shell Creek Vineyard, Paso Robles 2017. The effervescent wine has a floral honeyed nose with notes of citrus, peach, pineapple and key lime pie, as well as yeasty aromas and was the perfect way to start the evening. 

As we relaxed in the lounge, we were served four little raw samplings Straight from the Sea.

Morro Bay Oysters – The team spent the afternoon with Neal Maloney of Morro Bay Oyster Company and selected the Pacific Gold Oysters, delicious little oysters that are both creamy and briny.

Santa Barbara Sea Urchin – Fresh sea urchin came from Stephanie Mutz, the only female Uni Diver in California. So fresh, the sea urchin just melts in the mouth.

Santa Barbara Spot Prawn – Harvested in limited amounts each summer, the delicate Santa Barbara spot prawn was served raw with yuzo.

Frozen Mussel Custard – The fourth and final amuse bouche was the frozen mussel custard with a fresh mussel on top.

We then journeyed downstairs to the dining room to continue our Central Coast meal, paired with Central Coast wines.

Liquid Farm, Mourvedre, Vogelzang Vineyard, Happy Canyon, 2017

Clamato –  Roasted shelling beans, tomato, seat lettuce and lovage make up the dish that is a play on clamato juice.

Ridge, Chardonnay, Monte Bello, Santa Cruz Mountains, 2013

Abalone – The grilled abalone is delicious with dulce & creamy Chardonnay butter.

Haarmeyer Wine Cellars, Riesling, “Wirz,” Cienega Valley 2015

Spot Prawn – The popular Santa Barbara spot prawn made it on the menu a second time, this time served with fermented peach and anise hyssop.

Tyler, Pinot Noir, Santa Barbara County, 2016

Squid – The tender squid was topped with a Chile leaf “BBQ sauce”, chili leaf oil, grilled black olives and fermented chilies.

Palmina, Nebbiolo, “Honea,” Santa Ynez Valley, 2010

Rock Crab – Rich, delicate pieces of rock crab with mayonnaise were topped with freshly shaved Australian black truffles and served in an empty crab shell.

L’Aventure, Syrah, “Optimus,” Paso Robles, 2016

Surf & Turf – The uni also made a second appearance on the menu, topping aged Australian wagyu beef with seaweed salt…

…and served with grilled market vegetables.

Libertine, Central Coast Saison, San Lois Obispo

Stepladder Creamery cheese & Squash Blossom – The cheese, “Big Sur” is a blend of cow’s and goat’s milk cheese coated in ash from Stepladder Creamery, located in Cambria. The cheese sits in a tomato syrup and is topped with a fried squash blossom.

“Affogato” – As a palate cleanser, the affogato, made with Handlebar coffee, was more like a whipped coffee cream.

Scar of the Sea, Chardonnay, “Noble Rot,” Bien Nacido Vineyard

Apricot – The tart flavors of the apricot, with honeycomb and bronze fennel, was a light dessert to end the meal, and a lovely pairing with the wine.

Our mignardes for the evening included a fruit leather, fruity gelee and a chocolate with pistachios.

And we were sent home with a sprinkled donut that was enjoyed for breakfast the next day.

The Maude Central Coast menu knocked it out of the park from each bite and each sip. The Central Coast menu ($125 plus tax, tip and wine) will run through the end of September and I loved it so much, I am going back!