3 months ago
In the Fullerton Hotel, Journeyman's Food + Drink is a hidden jewel and is probably the most très haut restaurant in terms of au courant cuisine in the northern half of Orange County.
Tastefully decored mostly by Scandinavian minimalism, it is understated and subdued. It becomes a neutral palette to showcase the modern cuisine influenced by currents from world cuisines, French & Japanese in particular.
There is semi enclosed outdoor patio dining that overlooks a vast parking lot. Perhaps using tall greenery would help screen out the asphalt and create a verdant respite. The reception room also serves as a comfortable lounge for parties waiting for other arrivals.
What sets this restaurant apart from many is their informed service commenting on ingredients, cooking preparation, wine details on each incoming course which is a nice touch for those passionate about culinary minutiae.
Even more, their personal service goes above & beyond the call of duty. My cell phone battery had become unexpectedly low, and my auxilary battery would not charge the phone. Khystlin was most gracious & helpful letting me use her phone to take photos. I deeply appreciate being able to photo document this 9 course menu de degustation.
0) Puffy, yet taut & dense, lightly salty Focaccia, toasty brown in places w/ pieces of cured green olives.
Brown wheat bread infused w/ tomato, crusty outside, moist soft inside.
Whipped sweet butter w/ puréed basil, mint, parsley
Antipodes Sparkling Artesian Water is clean, sweet, pure, sharp effervescence from the Bay of Plenty, east coast of the North Island in New Zealand.
1) Amuse Gueule: Smoky, well cured, meaty duck heart, caraway seed Sauer Kraut, chive on bagel lavash. Seemingly like a riff on Peruvian Anticucho.
2) Butternut Squash Curd, soft & velvety, sprinkled w/ house chile blend, piquant Japanese Tōgarashi. Micro cubed barely ripe, crunchy bartlett pear. Garnish of aromatic smoky oregano leaf, soapy micro cilantro, colourful hibiscus flower.
Poured broth of Japanese smoked Katsuo/bonito & Kombu/kelp Dashi, puréed butternut squash.
2a) Sakura no Emaki Sakè (sah keh), Junmai class, Akita, Japan: Made with an ancient heirloom purple rice varietal, light, pinkish, woody, pickled plum scent. Delicate plum, nutty, smooth agrodolce, Jerez like oxidation.
3) Fresh, sweet, low acidic, poached plum, blood red beet, dill crème fraîche, red plum sauce, salty, sheep Ricotta Salata, fresh dill leaf, tuile.
3a) Vouvray de Benoit Gautier, Chenin Blanc, Loire, France 2017: Musky, apple, pear, pineapple, sweet sour, dry, acidic.
4) Scallop Ceviche in unctuous Espelette oil, chopped thyme. Dehydrated scallop chips redolent & reminiscent of funky XO sauce. Countered by still crunchy cauliflower florets poached in butter, and smear of smooth cauliflower purée.
4a) Pinot Grigio, St. Michael-Eppan DOC, Süd Tirol/Alto Adige 2017: Scent of green apple & lemon. Sharp acidic, sour citrus rind, clean dry-sweet.
5) Pappardelle torn flat pasta, soft, al dente, stretchy. Smoked juniper Beurre Blanc, burnt onion, Maitakè/hen of the woods mushroom, king crab claw, sprinkle of espelette pepper, micro thyme sprouts.
5a) Chardonnay, Neyers, Carneros, California: Unfiltered, light malolactic fermentation but not buttery smooth, sour apple cider, oaky, clove scented, toasted butterscotch, acidic sprightliness.
6) Tasmanian Vintage Beef Rib Eye: Best beef besides Japanese Wagyū. Cow is allowed to live out its entire life before slaughter.
Soft, beefy favour w/ a nice chaw, celery leaf medicinal garnish, Sauce Bordelaise that seems almost au jus & red wine w/ maybe touch of coffee. Beef Tallow infused Potato Mousseline, potato chip.
6a) Cabernet Sauvignon, Synthesis, Napa, California: Oaky, blueberry, blackberry, turpentine scent, tannic, touch acidic.
7) Yuzu/Japanese citrus Crème Fraîche, micro diced Kiwi, pickled, piquant Wasabi stem, green seaweed oceanic bouquet.
7a) Riesling, Carl Graff, Kabinett, Mosel, Germany: Diesel, banana spiced bread, grapefruit zest. Tart, sweet, dry.
8) Gelée d'Orange, Confiture d'Orange, orange blossom scented stiffened Crème Chantilly covering on a chestnut shortbread, garnished w/ micro thyme, orange zest.
8a) Haut Sauterne, Fleur d'Or, Graves, Bordeaux, France: Hay, raisin, waxy, baked apple, pear. Touch bitter, acidic to counter the smooth sweetness.
9) Rosemary, apple, oat crunch, caramel, rosemary panna cotta.
9a) Moscato Bianco, Moscato d'Asti, Michele Chiarlo, Asti, Piedmonte, Italia: Frizzante/fizzy. Scents of fig, apricot, green hay. Musky, lychee, grapefruit, smooth sweet w/ cleansing acidity.
10) Banana Panna Cotta, banana bread soil crumbles, Brûléed banana, golden, puffed chocolate rice, dark chocolate chip, & fresh ginger ice cream.
10a) Port, Bin 27, Fonseca, Portugal: Rested four years in large wood vats. Dense oxidized red grape flavours, oaky, sweet countered by acidity, brandied black cherry.
a. House mint made of méringue.
b. Tonka Bean caramel
c. Coco Sablé, Tonka Bean, licorice.
Zach, Chef de Cuisine, has created an epic Menu de Gustation avec Association de Vins et Mets. Chef Mark also came out to see that all was well. Service by Wesley, Jessie, Khystlin all made for a pleasant, informative, culinarily enlightening evening. Kudos for creating an oasis of fine dining on par w/ many une étoile Guide MIchelin restaurants.