Parcel 104 Celebrates Its 17th Year

Not to big, not to small, but just right citrus tart by Pastry Chef Carlos Sanchez.

Not to big, not to small, but just right citrus tart by Pastry Chef Carlos Sanchez.

 

To help celebrate Parcel 104’s 17th anniversary this year, the restaurant in the Santa Clara Marriott near Levi’s Stadium last week reunited founder Chef Bradley Ogden with the team there for a special Cakebread Cellars wine dinner last week, which I was invited to as a guest.

The festivities will continue, as the restaurant is offering a $35 three-course lunch through July 31 with appetizers by Ogden, entrees by Executive Chef Sergio Morales, and desserts by Pastry Chef Carlos Sanchez.

Ogden, who practiced farm-to-table long before it became part and parcel of the Bay Area lexicon, is now working and living in Lodi’s wine country, as culinary director at the Wine & Roses resort.

Chefs Bradley Ogden (left) and Sergio Morales, (right).

Chefs Bradley Ogden (left) and Sergio Morales, (right).

Sanchez has been with Parcel 104 since day one. Born in Columbia, he has staged and worked with Juan-Mari and daughter Elena Arzak at Arzak in San Sebastian, Spain, as well as Pastry Chef Jordi Roca of El Celler de Can Roca in Girona, Spain, two of the greatest restaurants in the world. Over the years, Sanchez has become known for his dainty-sized desserts, often served in trios, that are perfection personified.

Cakebread Cellars' wines matched to each course.

Cakebread Cellars’ wines matched to each course.

Morales was supposed to be a lawyer like his father. In fact, he attended Santa Clara University’s law school for a year and a half before leaving to follow his passion of cooking. He graduated from the Professional Culinary Institute in Campbell, now known as the International Culinary Center. His Dad first feared that he’d end up being a short-order cook, flipping burgers for the rest of his life. But now, his father couldn’t be prouder of his son working his way up from a cook to head chef here.

Thursday’s celebratory dinner began with an amuse of fried artichokes with Meyer lemon aioli, paired nicely with Cakebread Cellars’ Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley 2016. The crisp, lightly battered heart with the creamy, thick sauce clinging to it was as addictive as potato chips and dip.

The amuse.

The amuse.

A tangy, spicy passion fruit ceviche.

A tangy, spicy passion fruit ceviche.

A ceviche of Hokkaido scallops and Gulf blue shrimp was especially wonderful. The plump seafood had been marinated in passion fruit, a nice change of pace from the usual lemon or lime juices. Roasted corn kernels added another dimension of sweetness, while a generous hand with the jalapeno rings added big pops of spice that could be dampened by the avocado puree.

Tortellini filled with house-made ricotta was one of everyone’s favorites. Perfectly formed, the tortellini were finished with a paprika-spiked corn pudding, beech mushrooms and pickled ramps that added just the right amount of zingy acid. Cakebread “Two Creeks” Pinot Noir Anderson Valley 2015 had a nice backbone of earthiness to complement its fruity berry forwardness.

Heavenly tortellini.

Heavenly tortellini.

A big slab of pork in green curry.

A big slab of pork in green curry.

A taste of Mullan Road winery.

A taste of Mullan Road winery.

A large slab of pork tenderloin, which had been cooked sous vide, arrived on a smooth pool of green curry and accented with fruit chutney and blistered shishito peppers. Mullan Road, a winery founded by Dennis Cakebread, son of Jack and Delores who founded Cakebread Cellars, provided the accompanying wine, a Bordeaux Blend Columbia Valley 2014. I thought it was a surprising choice. But the blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cab Franc and Malbec, somehow managed to not overwhelm the pork. Its blackberry note picked up the cherry, raisin and peach in the chutney, and its notes of baking spices married with the coriander, mild chilies and lime leaves in the curry.

A mini cheese beignet.

A mini cheese beignet.

Sanchez served his favorite Bellwether Farms Carmody cheese in the form of a mini quenelle-shaped beignet. The buttery, milky cheese played off a salad of fennel, watercress and first-of-the-season peaches from a neighbor’s tree.

Pastry Chef Carlos Sanchez, who has been with Parcel 104 since the start.

Pastry Chef Carlos Sanchez, who has been with Parcel 104 since the start.

Then it was on to his piece de resistance, a tiny Meyer lemon citrus tart served with the smoothest sorbet of Watsonville raspberries. It was just enough to satisfy yet leave you longing to return for more.

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