|The Cucumber Foam delight that is|
Mad Dogs & Englishmen
@ the Cyrus Bar
Since we have established that dining out is one of my favorite excursions, whether with one of my kids, my husband, good friends, or all of the above, I got to wondering why I find it so rewarding. Other than the obvious. It is, after all, delicious fun. Recently my husband of twenty-seven years and I traveled to Healdsburg to dine at Cyrus. We had heard it was a meal not to be missed. Chef Keane did not disappoint.
|Cherries at the Farmer's Market|
When an inventive artist like Chef Douglas Keane (Cyrus) puts food on a plate, his designs are indeed so pleasing as to be works of timeless art. But it doesn’t stop with the pretty. His flavors are as complex, well-realized and tantalizing as any I have ever experienced. Maybe the best. Each flavor floats along in the dish in an independent fury, proud, unrelenting; while at the same time blending perfectly with its companions. He is capable of coaxing ingredients to harmonize like the Indigo Girls as they entwine to reach a whole that is heavenly in its consummation. Seriously, eating his food is like an orgy of pleasure in your mouth.
As each of our dishes arrived we were salivating with anticipation. Not a one was less than perfection. Beyond the rapture of his food, the man’s personality comes through. He is sincere, like his food. He is welcoming, and it shows in his restaurant. Every detail of the decor has been touched by the imagination, drive and determination of Doug Keane and his charmingly delightful partner, co-owner Nick Peyton. Nick also manages the front of house for Cyrus, and this pair is determined to give their diners the ultimate in fine-dining experiences. They succeed on every level.
|Tableside Ice Cream Alchemy Sundae|
@ Madrona Manor
We were married on July 1, so our anniversary is always surrounded by Fourth of July festivities. We can’t escape it, so we embrace it. This weekend was no different. After our lovely dinner, we stayed on in Healdsburg, and at the behest of our innkeepers went on to dine at several other remarkable establishments.
We had a five-course tasting at Madrona Manor the second night in town. No idea what sort of treat we were in for, we arrived at this beautiful sprawling mansion at the edge of town with rumbling bellies, set for another adventure. We tried to talk ourselves into eating the eight-course, but two large meals in a row seemed impossible and we allowed ourselves a slightly smaller indulgence. Chef Jesse Malgren is a young master, and his culinary artistry, while not quite yet at Chef Keane’s level, is majestic.
|Cheese is ALWAYS good|
While we were there we visited the Healdsburg Farmer’s Market, a bountiful gathering of local farmer’s goods. The first of its kind in the State of California. We also paid a visit to the Cyrus bar in daylight, to be welcomed back with open arms. Chef Keane came out and greeted my husband and I, sharing with us his vision for the place. Nick joined in and we had a lovely chat. This was after the amazingly skilled bartender, Erica had treated us to two of the best cocktails I’d ever had. Which is no surprise, since this was the bar where mixology began, at the hands of the renowned Scott Beattie. When the lovely Erica told us of her friend Scott and his “little place up the street, Spoon Bar” I have to confess I failed to put two and two together. Shame on this ignorant foodie.
I write often of the memories made enjoying the food I am blessed to experience with the people I love and who love me. My weekend in Healdsburg was a cornucopia of such blessings. A cascade of food such as one might hope to have in an entire lifetime, packed into a weekend.
Restaurants of this kind and the haven they represent, are for me the last vestige of a civility that is sorely lacking in modern society. They evokes a better time for all of humanity; a living example of my kind of family values. The kind that sustains without judgment. That challenges us to touch the quiet places in ourselves where we hold the things we love most. When we think about stopping to smell the roses, experiences like this are the realization of that kind of self-awareness. Even the best of us are often too focused on being connected to the rush, without thought of the consequence, the wear on the spirit, the lost time spent on meaningless and distracting tasks. Such thoughts are impossible when being fed by the likes of Chef Douglas Keane.
Take a moment to breathe and participate in your own life. It will be over in the blink of an eye. And if you get to Healdsburg, do not miss Cyrus. Have a meal there. Make a memory of your own.
29 North Street
Healdsburg, CA 95448
Chef Douglas Keane
1001 Westside Road
Healdsburg, CA 95448
Chef Jesse Malgren
219 Healdsburg Avenue
Healdsburg, CA 95448
Dry Creek Kitchen
317 Healdsburg Ave
Healdsburg, CA 95448-4105