We reached our final destination for the day – Eureka – around 6pm and checked into the beautiful, Victorian-styled Hotel Carter. After a quick tour of the hotel, we dropped off our bags, made a dinner reservation for 8:30pm and started a walking tour of Eureka. 20 minutes later, we were back at the hotel – not much to see in Eureka once you’ve found the 6 restored Victorian homes and the old town shops that close at 5pm. Fortunately, we were able to move our dinner reservation up an hour. With dinner at Hotel Carter, we experienced the most pleasant surprise of the entire trip. The restaurant at this hotel is worth the trip to Eureka even though there isn’t much else to see. We took advantage of the chef’s tasting menu and wine pairing, which treated us to the best meal of the whole trip (so far). Since I know you’re going to ask, here’s the menu:

  • Truffled Veloute of Summer White Corn with Avocado and Cilantro
  • Sonoma Valley Foie Gras with Fruit Gelee, Toasted Brioche and Saba
  • Country-Style Pork and Veal Pate – A Terrine of Pork, Veal, Pistachios, and Cognac with a Pickled Vegetable Relish
  • Grouper with Israeli Melon Salsa (not on the menu, so the description isn’t as frou-frou as the other entries 🙂 ).
  • Pickled Ginger and Scallop Mousse Stuffed Dover Sole with Yukon Gold Potato Cake, Baby Bok Choy and Lime, Ginger Beurre Blanc
  • Brioche Ravioli with Dark Chocolate Filling and Brandy Mint Creme Sauce

While enjoying this delightful feast, we discovered that the owner of the hotel – Mark Carter – was dining with a friend at the table next to us. We heard a gasp of surprise from his friend and realized that Mr. Carter had brought out a 1966 Chateau Latour Pauillac (which goes for about $750 a bottle right now). We couldn’t help but watch the poor waiter (who works for Mr. Carter, of course) make a valiant effort to coax the cork out of this venerable bottle of wine. Even the finest sommelier would have been nervous with this task. Mr. Carter was very gracious in providing advice to the waiter and after a few tense minutes, the bottle was open and decanted. After we finished our dessert, Mr. Carter’s friend asked the waiter to pour a taste of the LaTour for us!! He said that since we had witnessed the fanfare of the uncorking, we ought to have a taste. Quite a generous treat and it lived up to all expectations. I have a feeling that we won’t be topping this experience during the rest of the vacation.

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