Wednesday, November 12, 2008

It's Finally Fall at Saddle Peak Lodge

Saddle Peak Lodge
419 Cold Canyon Road
Calabasas, CA

Saddle Peak Lodge is my favorite restaurant in Southern California, I make no bones about it. I am an unrepentant carnivore, and I love delicious food that is offered any way that resembles comfort food. Saddle Peak beyond fills the bill.

Last Sunday, we were out and about, driving here, stopping there, and just enjoying the landscape of a Southern California fall and decided to end up at Saddle Peak for an early supper. Yay!

As much as I hate to admit it, I love the ethereal caught-in-the-spotlight taxidermy that one cannot escape at Saddle Peak. It is everywhere, on nearly every surface. Above is the windowsill we sat below. Below is the lamp that cast a glow on our meal.

I love everything about SPL. The bended wood chairs, the soft candlelight, the guns, the hurricane lanterns, the fireplaces, and so on and so forth. There is no place I know of warmer nor more inviting.

Is this an ibex?

This is just some beautiful white large animal. White elk, maybe? Or do the horns in the background look like an ibexian as well?

Food, really really good food. We started with a carrot ginger soup, sprinkled with chives. Very warm and very gingery.

This market salad stunned me. The sheer beauty of it was immense. They did precious little to the veg here. They cut some carrot in curls, and made sheets of red radish to lay across the top. Barely grilled the cherry tomatoes, just enough to soften and add the flavor of the fire and metal. And they dressed the underlying lettuce so sparsely there was barely a hint of tang.

Exactly as it should be. Beautiful vegetables are beautiful enough to stand alone on a plate.

Below is my main course. When I really love a restaurant, I typically love it passionately for one dish. I ♥ SPL for their game trio. This evening it was, from the top, antelope, wild boar chop in the middle and elk at the bottom left. The antelope sat atop sauteed greens, the boar a few bites of mashed potato, and the elk on wild mushrooms.

But, WAIT! What are those curious shavings spread across the plate and on the meats? Do you even need to ask? Perigord truffle shavings. Yes, Perigord truffle shavings. Not as deeply musty and pungent as I love, but still flavorful and a lovely addition to the hearty game.

D's dish rivaled mine and I was a little jealous, for a change. He ordered, *gasp*, lamb chops. And how beautiful are these little lamb chops? He ordered them cooked within an inch of their lives and they arrived barely medium. Be prepared when you eat at SPL for the chefs preference of very rare meat. My elk was basically served blue.

The star attraction, IMO, on D's plate was a lamb shank ravioli. Wow. Just, wow. The shankiness. The deep brown lamb flavored sauciness. Wow.

After the long walk on Malibu Beach, the wine and the meat, D wanted something chocolatey before the long ride home. He ordered the Irish Car Bomb. Somewhere a bartender is laughing out loud.

At the top you have an Irish whiskey creme wrapped in a sheet of dark chocolate. In the middle is a dark chocolate cake, and at the bottom is a small scoop of Guiness ice cream.



This was a decadent dining weekend. A beautiful end to a beautiful, philosophical day.

Saddle Peak Lodge on Urbanspoon


Exile Kiss said...

Hi Food, she thought,

Great review. :) Every time I try to make it to Saddle Peak Lodge, something interferes with my plans. :( I'll have to make it here before the end of the year.

The Trio plate looks delicious! Thanks.

Kristine Moto said...

The decor is creepy but creepy-cool ... despite dozens of pairs of eyes watching you dine, there is something tres romanitique about the ambiance. :)

However, next time you must start with dessert first. *drools*

Food, she thought. said...

exile: i always order the trio. loves! i like that each third comes atop some not insignificant amount of veg or starch. good. v good.

moto: you would lvoe it. it's tres romantique!

Loving Annie said...

I really really really want to go there. It's far away, but sound so worth the drive !

Food, she thought. said...

Annie: Go. You must. It is so worth the drive. And on these short days, you can have an early dinner and still get the full lodge effect.

burumun said...

I'm going to SPL, for the first time, finally, in 3 weeks!
It'll be my birthday dinner, hopefully it'll be awesome :)

Thanks for your review!

Food, she thought. said...

buruman, I must remember to check in with your blog after you go to SPL. I know you will write and photo something so amazingly delicious looking that I will b e wanting to go back soon.

BTW, Sagittarius, happy upcoming birthday!