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Ad Hoc breakfast Thomas Keller waffles

Ad Hoc Debuts New Brunch Format Sunday

Ad Hoc is changing things up for Sunday brunch, offering several options over two courses instead of the previous three-course set menu. It’s also going to be cheaper; the new brunch price is $24, down from $39.

The first course will feature pastries from Bouchon Bakery, as well as a choice of fresh fruit or a yogurt parfait. Next is a choice of an egg dish, sourdough waffles, stone-ground oatmeal, and a special for the day. The oatmeal will be served with a number of jams, syrups, granolas and sugars. There will be no dessert course, but cookies for the table will be delivered with the check.

The impetus for the brunch changes occurred when Thomas Keller came into Ad Hoc one Sunday for brunch with a pancake craving, but that morning’s menu didn’t really feel like breakfast. Keller felt simpler and more traditional breakfast options should be available for brunch and worked with the Ad Hoc team to make it happen.

We’ll be there Sunday to check it out and will report back. The sacrifices I make for my readers…I tell ya! :)

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Ad Hoc breakfast reviews Thomas Keller waffles

Ad Hoc – 4/12/09 (Easter in Yountville)

It was another beautiful spring day in California, a perfect backdrop for Easter in Yountville. Of course for us, that means a visit to Bouchon Bakery to pick up some goodies before brunch at Ad Hoc. We really need to explore more of the area, but it’s hard when you can drop into Bouchon Bakery and get an Easter egg-shaped Thomas Keller Oreo.

We were also lucky enough to score one of the last chocolate doughnuts in the shop. It’s a brioche doughnut filled with chocolate custard and then dipped in chocolate frosting laden with crispy chocolate balls. These are usually gone pretty early in the morning, but apparently they did a second batch for Easter.

Ad Hoc is debuting a new brunch format next weekend (I’ll write a separate post about this soon) and Easter was kind of a “soft opening.” It started with a mixed berry yogurt parfait with warm banana bread. The banana bread was great…lightly toasted and topped with a really nice honey butter.

Instead of the whole main entrée being family style, every diner got their own entree, corned beef hash and poached eggs, but the waffles were served family style.

Two poached Alexandre Dairy hen eggs topped a hash made of perfect, crispy potato strands mixed with Snake River Farms corned beef brisket. The eggs were nice and runny and were great when mixed into the hash.

Dessert was a brownie with vanilla ice cream and salted butterscotch sauce.

Overall, it was another fabulous Ad Hoc brunch, and I’m excited to see how the new brunch format works out. We’ll be back in Yountville next weekend to find out. :)

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Ad Hoc reviews The French Laundry Thomas Keller

The Ad Hoc Swine and Wine

Ad Hoc’s fried chicken nights have made every other Monday night in Yountville a lot of fun, but last night’s “Swine and Wine” was so good that Ad Hoc might be the place to be on the last Wednesday of every month. The four-course, prix-fixe dinner featured whole pigs that were roasted Cuban style in La Caja China or Chinese box.

La Caja ChinaStep 1: Put the pig in a box…

The meal was an opportunity for Ad Hoc to showcase some of their purveyors and they were on hand throughout the evening to talk about their products.

Wines were provided by Dave Miner of the Miner Family Vineyard. I’m not a wine expert or aficionado, but I do like them easy to drink, and the Miner wines fit the bill perfectly. Before the first course, we were served a really nice white wine sangria, and the dinner wines were their Viogner (white) and Enigma (red). I also got a taste of their Oracle, a Cabernet Sauvignon blend, and I liked that one too.

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Ad Hoc reviews seafood Thomas Keller

Ad Hoc – 2/8/09

The thing I love most about Ad Hoc is that you never eat the same meal twice, and this was no exception. I’ve noticed from looking at the menus that they’re coming up with some really interesting first courses that deviate from the traditional soup or salad paradigm.

As I was getting out of my car, I ran into Nessim, one of Ad Hoc’s lead servers, and he asked me if I wanted to meet Claire Clark, the former French Laundry pastry chef who’s spending time at Ad Hoc making desserts before going back to the U.K. This was an unexpected treat since we were there specifically to try her dessert course. I also reconnected with Chef de Cuisine Dave Cruz, and he was kind enough to send over an additional course to our table in between the first and second courses.

MENU

Maryland-Style Crabcakes
fingerling potatoes in remoulade,
shaved celery salad, hass avocado

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Brook Trout
hen of the woods mushroom conserva
(additional course)

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Whole Roast Lamb Leg
fennel gratin, borlotti bean ragout,
garden rosemary, dijon mustard
dried mission fig jus

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The Cheese Board
marcona almonds
marshall’s farm wild flower honey

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Red Velvet Cupcakes
white chocolate-cream cheese frosting

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The crab cakes were outstanding. They were fresh and free of any flour “filler”—just crab with seasoned panko to hold it together. It was served with some nice fingerlings in remoulade and some avocados cooked sous vide, which made them even creamier.

The lamb was local and less gamey than the Colorado lambs that Ad Hoc sometimes gets, which I liked. It was served with fennel gratin and Borlotti bean ragout that the entire staff was raving about, and it easily outshined the lamb although it was a tad salty for me. My wife, who loves salty foods, had no complaints.

The cheese course featured toasted almonds, cheese from three different animals (goat, sheep, and cow) and was served with a really nice bitter orange jam.

The red velvet cupcakes were smaller than a typical Ad Hoc dessert, but when they’re this pretty, does it really matter? Technically, this was a great cupcake. It was dense (by design), and the texture reminded me of pound cake . The white chocolate and cream cheese frosting had just the right amount of sweetness and the Valrhona chocolate pearls added some crunch to it. However, I’m coming to the realization that I just don’t like red velvet cake. I think my eyes see red cake and expect something bold, but the flavor is always much more subdued.

Or maybe I just don’t get it and that means there’s more red velvet cake in the world for the rest of you. :)

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Ad Hoc dessert The French Laundry Thomas Keller

French Laundry Pastry Chef Brings Insights to Ad Hoc

Claire ClarkI recently heard that pastry chef Claire Clark left The French Laundry to go back to her native UK after more than three years at Thomas Keller’s crown jewel. But before she goes, Clark is spending her last few weeks dropping knowledge at Ad Hoc, Keller’s “casual dining” restaurant.

Apparently, she started at Ad Hoc a couple weeks ago and will likely only be around for a couple more, so you if you’re a Claire Clark or Ad Hoc fan, you might want to head up there soon. But even if you miss her, Clark’s influence should have a lasting impression on Ad Hoc’s dessert courses going forward.

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Ad Hoc breakfast Thomas Keller waffles

Ad Hoc – New Year’s Eve Brunch 2008

What more appropriate way to close out the year than by feasting on Ad Hoc’s second annual New Year’s Eve brunch. Last year’s was a glutton’s paradise, but it was also Ad Hoc’s first time offering brunch.

Ad Hoc started regular Sunday brunches on March 23, streamlining the meal into a smaller three-course affair that easily competes with their dinners. I think it’s a great way to introduce people to the restaurant, and if you haven’t had brunch at Ad Hoc, there’s always 2009! Here’s the menu:

NEW YEAR’S EVE BRUNCH

Red Leaf and Radish Salad
red oak lettuce, smoked tuna, red pepper dressing

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Liberty Farms Duck Confit and Sourdough Waffles
chilled broccolini, crimini mushrooms,
poached hen egg

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Baked Apples
shortbread cookies, raspberry whipped cream

 

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I forgot my camera, so I had to use my iPhone’s janky camera, but it’s not so bad when there’s a lot of natural light. Still, you can’t go wrong by closing out the year with duck confit and waffles!

Happy New Year and Good Eating in 2009!

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Ad Hoc beef Northern California reviews Thomas Keller

Ad Hoc Sunday Brunch 11.09.08

We went to Ad Hoc for brunch today with some friends (and Ad Hoc virgins). I think brunch is a great way to introduce Ad Hoc to the unitiated. The menu follows the pictures.


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SUNDAY BRUNCH

Deviled Eggs
bibb lettuce salad, fra’mani salami, sweet carrots
shaved fennel, marinated cucumbers, palladin toast

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Rustichella Rigatoncini
with Prime Ribeye Beef

garbanzo beans, baby arugula, shaved parmesean
chanterelle mushrooms

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Blood Orange Granité
sugar cookie
toasted almonds

I’m not really sure if I can pinpoint the real highlight of this meal, but the Blood Orange Granité is a strong contender. Those are strong sentiments when you consider the main course included prime ribeye with chanterelles and pasta and was one of the best entrees I’ve eaten at Ad Hoc.

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Ad Hoc fried chicken Northern California reviews Thomas Keller

Ad Hoc – 9/17/08 (Anniversary Dinner)

It was our third wedding anniversary, Thomas Keller was in the house, and it was fried chicken night at Ad Hoc. Not a bad way to celebrate.


Salad of Petite Romaine Hearts
marinated white anchovies, pickled red onions
torn garlic croutons, creamy anchovy dressing

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Buttermilk Fried Chicken
tfl garden cucumber salad
country style whipped potatoes

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The Cheese Board
marshall’s farm honey
spiced nuts

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Parfait
house made granola, black mission figs
vanilla cream

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I also found out that our anniversary is the day after Ad Hoc’s anniversary (it was their second) and may explain why Keller was in town. Our waiter, Dan, said Keller was at Ad Hoc three nights in a row, and when I asked why they also served fried chicken last Monday, he said Keller was hosting some friends and they wanted to eat fried chicken. Add that to the normal Wednesday night fried chicken and fried chicken night tomorrow, and that’s three fried chicken nights in eight days. If you’re an Ad Hoc fried chicken junkie…it’s been a good week.

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Ad Hoc beef breakfast reviews steak Thomas Keller

Ad Hoc – 9/7/08

So we went back to Ad Hoc so that my sister in law could try their brunch. As luck would have it, Prime Ribeye with Poached Eggs was the main entree, but check out the Smoked Pork Bruschetta. Here’s the menu and pics:


Smoked Pork Bruschetta
bailey long pork tenderloin, red onion marmalade, living watercress
tfl garden cucumber & fennel salad

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Prime Ribeye and Poached Eggs
heirloom tomatoes, garlic potato cakes
red wine jus

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Parfait
jacobsen orchard nectarine jelly
housemade granola

 

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As we talked and joked with the staff during the meal, it occurred to me that next Wednesday is not only our wedding anniversary, it’s also fried chicken night. So we’re going back next week, and holding out hope that they might serve fried chicken and waffles for dinner.

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Ad Hoc Northern California reviews Thomas Keller

Ad Hoc – 8/31/08

You don’t have to go to Slow Food Nation to appreciate some slow food. In fact, one of the best ways to revel in slow food is to head up to Yountville, get some goodies at Bouchon Bakery and have dinner at Ad Hoc. My sister-in-law is in town for the next week, so naturally, we took her to Ad Hoc. In fact, halfway through dinner, we made a reservation for this week’s Sunday brunch. If you still haven’t made your way up to Ad Hoc, Sunday Brunch is a great way to be introduced to the restaurant. But enough about brunch…I’ll post pictures of that next week. :-)

Coincidentally, the first anniversary of the Ad Hoc Menu Archive is on Sep. 1, so this was something else to commemorate (although this wasn’t planned out like our Ad Hoc anniversary.)

Here’s last night’s menu:


Three Bean Salad
rancho gordo heirloom beans, haricots verts, red onions,
tfl garden tomatoes, sherry vinaigrette

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Roasted Pork Tenderloin
brentwood sweet corn, wilted spinach, pine nuts,
roasted marble potatoes, eggplant mustard

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Capriole Dairy’s
Mont St. Francis

glazed peaches
toasted brioche

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Ice Cream Sundaes
california strawberries, crushed pecans,
chocolate and caramel sauces


Check out the corn on the cob. It was definitely the unexpected star of the meal. We even asked for a second helping.

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