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[whitespace] The Chestnut and The Hare

Earthy Delicacies

By Christina Waters

ONE OF AESOP'S LOST FABLES? Nope. Just another delicious idea from the wild mind of chef Joey Altman, TV personality and super cook, who is featuring chestnuts on his Wild Hare restaurant menus through December 9. Altman has long been devoted to seasonal cooking--it's cool weather and a cuisinartist's thoughts turn to game, chestnuts roasting on an open fire, that sort of thing. Altman has created some incredible pairings of seasonal flavors showcasing the delicate earthiness of chestnuts. Consider seared foie gras with apple-chestnut purée, or chestnut and roasted duck risotto. The current menu of Wild Hare--easily Menlo Park's smartest dining room--offers roasted squab with chestnut-cranberry stuffing and caramelized quince with zinfandel jus. God almighty! And yes, there is a grilled rabbit salad with chestnuts, pecans and apples. Wild Hare pastry chef Pauline Lam adds her own brilliance with such special chestnut-intensive desserts as chestnut-mascarpone cannoli with Marsala roasted pears, chocolate-chestnut mousse, and a very deluxe creation of chestnut waffles with Armagnac ice cream. 'Tis the season to dine well. Open for dinner seven nights a week, and located at 1029 El Camino Real. For reservations call 650.327.HARE.

Dotcom New Year

If you're among the lucky Siliconites who've pointed and clicked their way to an investment fortune, you'll want to celebrate the New Year 2001 in style. And style is what the Fairmont Hotel's luxurious New Year's Eve package is all about. "Toast to 2001" New Year's Eve Gala Celebration at the Fairmont Hotel will showcase the energy-filled sounds of the Alfie Dreifuss MVP Orchestra as they perform the greatest songs and melodies of the 20th century. The renowned Dreifuss Orchestra takes no prisoners with its hybrid mix of soul, funk, jump-jiving swing, R&B, and touches of Latin and jazz. But you really want to start planning now for the gorgeous hotel's New Year's package for two--it starts at $1,000, so you might want to cash in some stock for this one. In addition to world-class ambience and dancing the night away with the Alfie Dreifuss Orchestra, the romantic package offers a two-night stay in a luxury room at the Fairmont, with French champagne and commemorative glasses--if you're lucky, this will be a night to remember. Then you dress up and hit the black-tie cocktail reception, followed by a six-course gourmet dinner including premium California wines. You dance, you sip bubbly, you enjoy a champagne toast at midnight. In the morning, the Fairmont package includes a New Year's Day champagne (hair of the dog, in this case) brunch and then you're on your own. Valet parking, you'll be happy to know, is part of this once-in-a-lifetime package. Interested? Please call the Fairmont's New Year's Eve Hotline at 408.998.3962 for more information and reservations. It is definitely not too early to make plans for that last night of the year.

Shop 'Til You Pop

The day after Thanksgiving is, as everybody who doesn't live in Florida knows, the biggest shopping day of the year. The people at California Cafe in the Valley Fair shopping center know that. That's why they are opening on Friday, November 24, at 9am for breakfast. Imagine: You fuel up on Eggs Benedict, crab cakes with poached eggs and avocados, or Dutch pancakes with cinnamon baked apples, custard French toast with raspberry preserves, freshly made frittatas. Then you hit Nordstom and finish all your holiday shopping in one afternoon? OK, maybe you'll need one more day. ... Chef Kyle Wiens tells me that California Cafe plans to open at 9am throughout the holiday shopping season for light deli breakfasts of coffee, espresso, croissants, smoked salmon and bagels, scones, etc., to inhale before shopping. Now that's service!

Email me! Readers, restaurateurs, chefs: Please send any news items, tips, menu changes, openings, special events and juicy gossip to [email protected]

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From the November 23-29, 2000 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © 2000 Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

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