A Taste of France, Italy and Spain: Casanova

A couple of weeks ago it was my birthday....I stopped counting awhile ago. Tim took me to Carmel for a long weekend to celebrate, and we did celebrate. It was a weekend of food and drink, lovely weather, beautiful beaches, leisurely hikes and wine tasting. What more could a girl ask for?

When we rolled into town, so pleasingly cool after the 100% plus heat in Sacramento, we checked in and walked across the street to dinner at Casanova. A more perfect place for a relaxed romantic diner, I cannot imagine. Tim and I both love to cook, and are always looking for a place that is better than what we can make. 

 Casanova opened in the late 70's and quickly became the standard for casual French and Italian dining. They were first to serve Cafe au lait and Lattes in large bowls, and it is hard to believe they were trendsetters in producing their own fresh pasta. But the 70's was when we were all eating frozen vegetables and TV dinners were pretty commonplace. Food was governed more by convenience and speed than by good taste, in flavor or in discernment. Not only was the food at Casanova an inspiration to many restaurants thereafter, but their style was imitated as well. We can see many a cottage in Carmel with the Casanova look, and the relaxed Country French atmosphere started showing up all over.

Freshly baked bread and breadsticks in a fabric "nest". French linen table runners...loved them.
So, what did we eat, you ask? A picture is worth a thousand....you know the rest....

Stuffed mushrooms, parsley, cheese, and lots of garlic
Salmon Mousse with caviar. Freshly baked, and still warm, cheesy biscotti
Ahi with asparagus tips and black caviar
Stone Fruit Salad
Roasted lamb chops with fava beans and Umbrian ceci bean ragout
Slow braised veal osso buco with marscarpone polenta, braised fennel and citrus gremolata
After dinner, a bit of coffee on a charming tray, and a glass of port
Tartelette de Citron Souffle with raspberry ice cream
Pomme Saint-Michel, a whole caramelized apple in puff pastry with cinnamon ice cream
We could hardly tear ourselves away from our patio table. So we sat and sipped our coffee and port listening to Edith Piaf looking at the strings of lights criss-crossing the courtyard. We finally did leave. We had probably outstayed our welcome at some point, but the staff was kind enough not to say anything. We walked through town enjoying our gastronomic high and planning of our next visit.

Those of you who have never been, you must.