Ode to Exquisite Excellence: Daniel's COI

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Photo of the Original Cake at the Wedding, Epiphany 2007

Those of you familiar with the Deep Chocolate Passion Wedding Cake in RHC already know what a fan I am of chef Daniel Patterson for whom I made this cake. I made the cake in the kitchen of his then newly opened restaurant Coi (pronounced kwah) but it wasn't until last month, on my first return to San Francisco since making the cake, that I had the pleasure of experiencing a full dinner there. (When I asked for walking directions from the Prescott Hotel the concierge said: Coi! An excellence choice! I smiled and said: I know! I have followed Daniel when he was chef at two other San Francisco restaurants, the last of which was Frisson, but Coi is the first one he owns and he has already opened a less formal second restaurant, Il Cane Rosso (the red dog) in the Ferry Building. Coi is an arcane French word which means homey. The restaurant is indeed that but it also is a rare combination of comfort, elegance, and exquisite deliciousness. A dinner at Coi is an experience--a unique adventure. Daniel is the soul of originality married to idealism, intellect, and artistry. He has a finely tuned sense of balance of textures and flavors. I couldn't begin to know how to duplicate the mysteries of a single dish we enjoyed except, of course, the lovely dinner rolls, perfectly round, soft, and wheaty, with a fine crisp crust. Because Daniel's plating is equally exquisite I'd like to share these photos and description of each from the Spring menu.

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OYSTERS ROCKEFELLER, CALIFORNIA STYLE

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(Bloomsdale Spinach Vegetable Mignonette, Horseradish--We adored the thin, flavorful, gelatinous encasement of the oysters)

CALCOTS

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(New Onions, Smoke and Spice, Hazelnut-Almond Puree--Our favorite)

DINNER ROLLS

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(Flecked with spelt flour)

EARLY SPRING

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(Our Buttermilk, Cherry Blossoms, First Shoots of Wild Fennel)

ABALONE/ASPARAGUS (RAW & COOKED)

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(Veal Jus, Seville Orange. Mint)

YOUNG CARROTS ROASTED IN HAY

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(Sprouts, Radish Powder, Shaved Pecorino)

STEAK BEARNAISE (SORT OF)

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(Aged Marin Sun Farms Beef, Marrow, Herbs)

TOMME CRAYEYSE (RODOLPHE LE MEUNIER)

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(Wild Greens)

LIME CURD AND MERINGUE

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(Aloe Vera, Shiso)

CAKE AND ICE CREAM

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(Caramelized Chocolate Cake, Raw Milk Ice Cream--OMG was that ice cream remarkably fabulous!)

BLUE BOTTLE COFFEE

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(Individually Brewed in a Chemex Drip Pot)

BLUE BOTTLE COFFEE

(My Favorite in All the World--how extraordinarily rare it is to get even good quality coffee in even the best restaurants not to mention the very best coffee lovingly prepared) A few years ago, when Daniel was between restaurants, soon to open Coi, my visit to SF happened to coincide with my Dad's and Daniel invited us to his home for dinner. I remember two things the most vividly: The veal roast was the best roast I've ever tasted, and my 90+ Dad, who sat through the entire dinner mostly in appreciative silence, said in parting: If your cooking is this good at your new restaurant you will make a million! I have profound respect for everything Daniel does and feel fortunate indeed to count him and his wife Alexandra as friends.