Friday Favorite: Tasting Menu Experiences

If you are a foodie and enjoy an intimate experience, I highly recommend checking out these luxury tasting experiences! Every time I travel, I look for this kind of experience for Ryan and I to enjoy. Not only do you have an explosion of flavor but you get to try amazing wines from all over! Continue to check back on this blog as I add more locations the more we travel!

DEMI: Minneapolis MN

Demi is located in the north loop and is owned by Gavin Kaysen. You must plan ahead as reservations go quickly. Both times we experienced Demi, we sat at the counter that has views of the chefs preparing your courses. I love watching them excel at their craft.

For me, food is an experience and a memory. I would rather enjoy one beyond fabulous meal than multiple mediocre meals. All 8 courses($135/pp) were beyond fabulous. I always recommend the wine pairing as well. If you’ve read my Napa blogs, you know that food elevates the wine and wine elevates the food. They offer 2 different wine pairing options, the Demi ($75/pp) and the Reserve($105/pp). You also can add on the coveted white truffle to one or three of your courses.

Tyler is the general manager and helps make the experience more memorable. He remembered my career 4 months after our first visit. That is skill!!! My favorite part of the meal is the little surprise at the end which I will keep a surprise. They also send you home with a beautifully printed menu and it includes your wine pairings.

Sample of our menu:

Regiis Ova Royal caviar over cauliflower mousse paired with 2014 Pierre Paillard “Les Maillerettes”

Petuna Ocean Trout paired with 2017 Guido Marsella Fiano di Avellino

Wild Acres Pheasant with potato/chorizo croquette paired with 2017 Sindicat La Figuera

ARDENT: Milwaukee WI

I literally dream of Ardent’s signature dish almost every day. What is it? Justin Carlisle sources his meat from his family farm and creates the best beef tartare topped with deviled egg and bone marrow paired with a muenster croissant. I’m drooling as I type!

Ardent is a small intimate space. You purchase tickets for your 10 course tasting ($135/pp) and are able to add cocktails or the wine pairing option ($125/pp). They greet you with a welcome cocktail and introduce every course and wine. We have visited the last 2 yrs and Ardent is only 2 yrs old! Sadly we traveled too many other places to get back WI this year.

I have so much respect for chef Justin. Him and his team bring luxury and excitement to your meal and make you feel right at home. I have yet to put one of his dishes in my mouth and not been completely blown away.

Sample of our menu:

Beef Tartare with deviled egg and bone marrow paired with 2017 Chateau Villa Bel Air Graves Blanc

King Crab with bell pepper paired with 2017 Eyrie Vineyards Pinot Gris

Carlisle NY Strip paired with 2015 Fanti Brunello di Montalcino

RESERVE: Scottsdale AZ

This new concept from the popular Cafe Monarch is an intimate 14 course chefs tasting menu ($385/pp) with a wine pairing option (varies from $250-$500/pp). You feel like you have escaped to a romantic garden with sparkling lights. The entire RESERVE experience is flawless from the beginning. We started in the lounge for a cocktail. I had the Rolls Royce, the most expensive cocktail I have ever enjoyed! We split the wine pairing ($350) and enjoyed other glasses of our favorites. The most stand out course was the wagyu strip. They started with presenting us with a candle with rosemary springs. When the decadent dish arrived, they told us the candle was the wagyu fat so you use the rosemary sprig to brush the flavor on the meat. What?? It melts in your mouth. The caviar was amazing and my other stand out was the lobster corn pudding. Its very much worth the investment.

Sample menu:

Royal Osetra Caviar paired with Krug Grande Cuvee

Corn Pudding with lostertail paired with 2018 Domaine Boyer-Martenot “Les Reuchaux”

14 day dry aged squab on an olive oil cake and foie gras paired with 2017 Oliver Bernstein

Miyazaki A5 Wagyu paired with 2016 Chateau Leoville Barton

Want more in Scottsdale. Check out my Weekend Getaway Guide HERE!

SAN LUCAS TREETOP DINING: Monteverde, Costa Rica

We recently visited Costa Rica in Nov 2021 and my sister found this spot located in Monteverde. Check out the full Costa Rica Experience on her blog HERE! San Lucas Treetop Dining is honestly one of the highlights of our trip. You have your own table nestled in the treetops. I highly recommend booking a time to watch the sunset. You can add a wine pairing or a la carte cocktails to your experience. This 7 course tasting menu will run you around $117/pp and $56 for a wine pairing. Throughout dinner they tell you a story of the history of Costa Rica. Be sure you pay attention because you will need the answers to clues to unlock your final course and surprise.

Sample Menu:

Garden of Monteverde Veggies

Monteverde Cheese Factory

Cloud Forest and our orchids

AUDREY: Nashville TN

Sean Brock opened up Audrey in Nashville in a new building with a fabulous concept. Audrey offers a 5 course tasting menu where you get to chose your main course. The experience will cost you between $107-$125 depending on your choices. You can add a wine pairing or a la carte cocktails as well. The wine pairing was $75 and they were all biodynamic and organic! I absolutely loved this experience. It a toned down experience in Nashville. The best part of the meal was the 3 types of dessert. Say what?!!!

Sample Menu:

Grits with Shrimp paired with a 2019 Vermentino

48 day Aged Beef paired with a 2019 Terre de I’Elu Gamay from France

Study of Citrus for dessert paired with 2020 Riesling.

You can find more Nashville fun HERE!

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