5

votes

Chez Panisse...worth the splurge?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created August 03, 2011 at 9:47 PM

So my mom is coming out to visit me in the Bay Area this weekend. She's very into Alice Waters, so we got a reservation for the fixed prix dinner this Friday night. She's being very generous to treat me to this $95-a-head meal.

Here is the menu:

An ap??ritif, Green bean, shell bean, and romano bean salad ?? la Panisse, Santa Barbara spot prawns saut?? persillade, Grilled Paine Farm squab with roasted figs, squab liver toast, and garden lettuces, Meyer lemon tart with blueberries and blackberries

I have recently gone paleo and love the way I feel on the program. I know that my body will be a bit shocked if I reintroduce gluten, dairy, and sugar.

The question is this: do I attempt to avoid the foods on the menu that might cause me problems, or just go with the flow and enjoy this very expensive and delicious meal? Is one "cheat meal" going to set me way back? What sort of repercussions should I expect?

Thanks for all your help!

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on August 27, 2011
at 02:24 AM

Would love to hear how your dinner was!

4b04151f204b6b301a86dd70268cdcf6

(52)

on August 04, 2011
at 03:16 AM

+1 for "For me, Paleo is the way of day to day life, but within life there are festive events. Sharing a festival with others is best when combining food and good friends." bon appetit

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 03, 2011
at 11:21 PM

Absolutely agree with AKD. If you're that uncomfortable, I'm happy to go with your mom in your place :)

Aead76beb5fc7b762a6b4ddc234f6051

(15239)

on August 03, 2011
at 10:50 PM

you are so lucky to get the opportunity to eat at chez panisse. really, this is like an impossible dream for so many of us. enjoy every. last. bite. and get back on the train in the morning. i promise that it will be a meal that you remember for the rest of you life.

Aead76beb5fc7b762a6b4ddc234f6051

(15239)

on August 03, 2011
at 10:48 PM

abso-friggin-lutely.

Medium avatar

(4878)

on August 03, 2011
at 10:36 PM

Ditto, this is ART, not food!

Medium avatar

(5136)

on August 03, 2011
at 10:08 PM

call at least a day ahead, however.

Medium avatar

(5136)

on August 03, 2011
at 10:06 PM

absolutely right.

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9 Answers

10
9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on August 03, 2011
at 09:52 PM

Honestly, if this were a middle-priced restaurant I'd eat it and just have it be a cheat meal. BUT any restaurant that costs this much will bend over backwards to accommodate your every whim. With her clientele, they are probably used to the gluten-free thing. Just call them and say you would like a meal without wheat/whatever and they will almost certainly do it and do it very well. I've had some incredible meals this way. I usually say no wheat and that's all since I don't mind an occasional dessert and they tend to be tiny at these kind of places.

Medium avatar

(5136)

on August 03, 2011
at 10:08 PM

call at least a day ahead, however.

Medium avatar

(5136)

on August 03, 2011
at 10:06 PM

absolutely right.

10
C2ad96801ec1e22d2bf62475b6e52751

(1416)

on August 03, 2011
at 09:52 PM

If someone treated me, I'd dive right in. Waters's philosophies intersect in a couple of ways with the Paleo template. Plus it's just an important place.

I could see passing on the tart if one was peculiarly gluten-sensitive, of course. But barring that, skipping too much at Chez Panisse sort of strikes me as robbing yourself.

Aead76beb5fc7b762a6b4ddc234f6051

(15239)

on August 03, 2011
at 10:48 PM

abso-friggin-lutely.

8
D7b78b5efc85c2c39225127b09feb18f

on August 03, 2011
at 09:57 PM

Holy crap, yes. It's one, admittedly fantastic, meal, cooked by a world-renowned chef. Enjoy it to the fullest, then just pick right back up with Paleo/primal. And to be honest, it doesn't look abhorrently "unPaleo." Or if you must, take Melissa's advice, I'm sure she's spot-on here.

6
98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

on August 03, 2011
at 10:09 PM

I would go and enjoy every single bite of it. The way they are set up there is no way for them to alter the food or make special accomodations for someone who can't eat what they prepare that evening. I think it would be "take it or leave it". That's how it's always been anyway.

This is a once in a lifetime event for you and your Mom. I would enjoy it the way Alice wants it to be enjoyed and not give it a second thought. This is art not food. Unless you are extremely gluten sensitive I would go for it. All of it. Otherwise skip the toasts and the tart and eat everything else.

And ENJOY! (ps I have Alice's address if you want to drive by and see her house, lol)

Medium avatar

(4878)

on August 03, 2011
at 10:36 PM

Ditto, this is ART, not food!

4
60c061f4b024f9ac421b27bf93b40ebe

on August 03, 2011
at 10:20 PM

Enjoy every last bite the way it is!

I would just prepare for your next few meals in advance. I have found that a cheat meal can trigger weird cravings for me and if I don't get back on track right away it can start to spiral out of control. I would recommend planning a totally paleo menu for the next day so that you can get back on track without thinking about it. I find that if I already have something planned or prepared I don't give into cravings as easily.

Have fun!

3
Medium avatar

(10611)

on August 03, 2011
at 10:19 PM

It was for me when I had someone else paying for it. They're famous for inventing the California style wood fired pizza and the woodsmoke smell inside theplace is really nice. Enjoy all the original Dubout movie posters too - it's worth the trip just for the decor.

2
518719627921bca7ac0a9321bc4f9773

on August 04, 2011
at 12:21 AM

For me, Paleo is the way of day to day life, but within life there are festive events. Sharing a festival with others is best when combining food and good friends.

This is one of those moments.

I have always viewed the SAD eaters as a combination of all the different types of festive foods from different cultures, Mexican, Chinese, Italian, French, etc. eaten for every meal, every day. Result?, fat unhealthy people.

If you live healthy, spend a moment celebrating with friends and food. But this can not be a way of life because eating this way everyday makes life uneventful.

Enjoy!

4b04151f204b6b301a86dd70268cdcf6

(52)

on August 04, 2011
at 03:16 AM

+1 for "For me, Paleo is the way of day to day life, but within life there are festive events. Sharing a festival with others is best when combining food and good friends." bon appetit

2
1471beca8e3adff4ae2f89d10e5f7acb

on August 03, 2011
at 10:53 PM

Yes, oh god yes. Chez Panisse is one of those restaurants worth cheating for. It is amazing.

1
3f5bbb444498a24f1a9720d75fa7c903

on August 04, 2011
at 01:45 AM

My daughter and I had the opportunity to eat at Jamie Oliver's restaurant Fifteen in London a couple of years ago. We made reservations about 3 months in advance and let them know then that we were gluten-free. They were wonderful about it and the waitstaff knew exactly which items we could eat or not. Granted we had more choices than a chef's table sort of meal, but it might be worth a try to call ahead and ask. I cannot eat gluten at all so a one-time cheat is not an option for me. If you can eat gluten, then I would say just eat around the gluten where possible (eat the tart fruit and filling, avoid the bread, etc.). Whichever you choose, enjoy! I am jealous :)

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