We started with wine and hot sourdough bread with butter. O .K. I'm happy already, but it only gets better from here.
We decided to stay downtown Fri night, we were were happily ensconced in the Westgate Hotel Googling where to eat that night.
O.K. my screen gives it away, I was on facebook. Squeaks was down to business though...for a while anyway looking up restaurants.
We decided on Dobson's and what we wanted to eat. Squeaks decided on oysters on the half shell and I had to have the mussel bisque. It has been years since I've had it and nothing, I mean nothing, no matter how wonderful it looked on the menu was going to deter me from my decision.
We were lucky enough to get an early seating without a reservation, and we were lucky enough to be seated next to the railing upstairs which gave us a birdseye view of the bar area. Trust me, when we left we had to inch our way out through the people.
We started with the Salmon duo. A platter of carpaccio house cured and smoked salmon.
It was served with arugula, capers, cornichons and cheese. This started our oo-oo-ing and a-w-w-ing.
Squeaks ordered oysters on the half shell. I could be mistaken, but I think that's Himalyan salt they were served on.
I don't know when I've had better. They were so fresh, so briny I felt like I was standing in the ocean eating them.
I ordered the mussel bisque en croûte. Mussels in a beautiful rich fish, shrimp, lobster based stock.
It is served ceremoniously by plunging your soup spoon through the puff pastry and pouring some sherry into the bisque.
I remember I had this recipe probably 20 years ago. I Googled and found an old San Diego Union Tribune article featuring this recipe and I've added it at the end of this post, you're welcome.
One more little sip of wine, then off to class.
Here's the mussel bisque recipe.
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Dobson's Mussel Bisque And Puff Pastry Crown
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter (divided use)
2 medium shallots, peeled and minced; about 1/2 cup
2 lobster tails, remove meat; reserve shells cut lobster meat into cubes
4-5 cups shrimp shells; preferably un-cooked ask your fish market to reserve; these for you
1 1/4 cups dry white wine
2 cups fish stock
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
2 pounds mussels, steamed, shucked and chop
7 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups milk
2 1/4 cups heavy cream or half-and-half
4 tablespoons dry sherry, or to taste
salt and fresh-ground white pepper
puff pastry crowns:
puff pastry dough, rolled out 1/4 inch thick, 10 by 20 inches
1 egg, lightly beaten
2-3 teaspoons heavy cream
Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a 3-quart saucepan. Add shallots and shells from shrimp and lobster. Cook over medium heat until shells turn bright pink, about 10 minutes. Stir occasionally and add a bit more butter if necessary.
After shells change color, add wine, fish stock, tomato paste, thyme, salt and pepper. Simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Strain stock into bowl. Let any residue settle to bottom of bowl. Discard shells.
Rinse out saucepan and return strained stock, but not residue, to saucepan. Bring this to slow boil. Add lobster meat and simmer gently for two minutes, then remove lobster with slotted spoon to the work bowl of a food processor. Run processor until lobster is ground medium-fine but not pureed. Set stock, chopped mussels and ground lobster aside.
In a clean saucepan, melt remaining butter. Add flour and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, for about 2 minutes. Gradually whiskin milk. When mixture thickens, whisk in heavy cream or half-and-half. When mixture is very thick, after about 3 minutes, whisk in stock. Add mussels and lobster and stir. Add sherry, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle bisque into individual oven proof bowls.
Lightly score pastry squares with a sharp knife. Lightly beat egg with cream. Brush scored pastry with egg-cream mixture. Brush underside first, then place pastry on bowl. Press sides tightly to seal, then brush pastry top with egg-cream mixture. Repeat with remaining bowls.
Bake in a 400-degree F oven until golden brown, 7 to 10 minutes.
Yield: 8 servings
** Exported from Now You're Cooking! v5.87 **
And that's that