Please The Palate Pick of the Week: An Off-Menu Meal at Maude

Maude opened in February 2014 and I have been a local fan ever since. For the first four years, I would eagerly anticipate the new tasting menu that would feature a single ingredient as the inspiration. Every meal, I would marvel how they came up with the selected dishes, especially with such limited time. When Maude shifted to the great wine regions of the world, the team began visiting the regions for inspiration but then they would come home and create a menu based on their interpretations of their experiences. Again, I found myself in awe of the preparations and presentations, curious about the creative process. Well, this week Maude offered an “off-menu” meal, a sort of sneak peek into the next yet-announced wine region. This is the very first time that they offered this backstage pass and lifting the veil on their process. Getting an exclusive look at dishes and pairings as they are created in real time was a true highlight and that is why the Off-Menu Meal at Maude is the Please The Palate pick of the week.

From Rioja to Burgundy to Central Coast to Piedmont to Australia, Maude has traveled the world. And following on the heals of Australia, Sonoma is the next menu. Highlighting fresh seasonal ingredients combined with experiences from their travels, such as visiting biodynamic wine producers and fishing in the river, the tentative Sonoma menu was quite delicious.

The meal started with some tea-based Biodynamic Preparations, inspired by the tea preparations that winemakers do when they are certified biodynamic.

Milk (peas, mustard, sunflower seeds)

White Asparagus (citrus, nasturtium flower, smoked yogurt)

Brook Trout (green asparagus, variegated lemon, roe)

Borlotti Beans (white verjus, cardoon)

Broccoli (quail egg, arugula, chicken jus)

Gnnochi (acorn, black trumpet, hedgehog)

Duck (pine nut, artichoke, blood orange)

To pair with our Sonoma-inspired meal, we enjoyed two truly exquisite wines from Sonoma that were beautiful expressions of their grapes and place but also showed what age can do to the wines.

Littorai 2013 Charles Heintz Vineyard, Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

Ridge California Zinfandel Lytton Springs 1987

We then moved to upstairs to the Maude wine room for dessert.

Blue spruce ice cream, angel food cake and Riesling gelee

Strawberry (chocolate, goat’s milk)

I am looking forward to returning for the official Sonoma menu when Maude offers it from April through June 2019. It will be interesting to see how these dishes evolve as new ingredients become seasonal. But, for the meantime, the “off-menu” meal at Maude was the Please The Palate pick of the week.