After TJ Maxwell's, we headed to The Bistro, a restaurant in the Four Points Sheraton hotel on the west side of town. I am wary of mid-level hotel restaurants. I just am. But Peter says the chef here informs his cooking with contemporary cooking methods (molecular gastronomy, anyone? Hanging with Herve This and Ferran Adria? I think not.) However, the menu is seasonal and it had literally changed the day prior to our arrival at the bar on Night #2. One item we ate was strange, and strangely kinda good.. The other item was just plain delicious.
First up were tempura'd artichoke hearts, in a honey sauce, with cream cheese. This sounds disgusting, actually, but I put my trust in Peter, the man who finds PF Changs to be fine dining. I was throwing caution into a strong leeward wind.
I don't know what the batter was around these artichoke hearts. It tasted ok, but it was thick and heavy although not overly fried. I only tasted it. But the honey sauce and the chokes themselves were just lovely. there was very little cream cheese, just enough for a hint which was pleasing. Enjoyable.
Next up was grilled salmon in an heirloom tomato sauce veirge served over an artichoke cake. This was amazing. I haven't had a better dish in I don't know how long. The fatty fish balanced the acidity of the heirloom tomatoes perfectly. The artichoke cake was mostly artichoke heart, with just a tiny bit of breading to hold it together, all served atop a bed of ever so slightly wilted watercress. I am salivating just thinking about it. This was fantastic.
D ended the evening smoking a stogie he had purchased at a downtown cigar bar. Bakersfield is a last bastion of civility in the sense that the patrons at the cigar bar are allowed to enjoy both their bar and their cigar simultaneously. Drinking and smoking. The way cigars are meant to be enjoyed. But, it was late and I rise early so he settled for smoking it on the balcony of my hotel room whilst talking on his cell phone. Tres romantique.