Monday, May 3, 2010


Pachamama's is a must when we're in Lawrence, despite its prohibitive pricing. Sometimes we've gone for just dessert or lunch. I've posted about Pachamama's before, but just a dessert. When we visited a few weeks ago, it was only our second full dinner (we forgot our camera at the first dinner). We enjoyed trying some different appetizers and entrees this time.

amuse bouche

The chef's amuse bouche, or first bite, was a poached pear wrapped in prosciutto and topped with truffle creme fraiche. I did not enjoy the combination of the spicy-sweet pear and the salty, chewy prosciutto. Not such a great start.

bone marrow crostini

Next was our appetizer. Matt had been interested for awhile in trying bone marrow. This small plate provided a good opportunity to taste marrow in a fairly non-threatening manner. Marrow, gorgonzola, avocado, and radish slices topped crusty baguette pieces. A carafe on the plate held a bit of truffle-scented honey. For those of you who don't know, marrow (the brown lumps in the photo above) is the most beefy, fatty, melt-in-your-mouth piece of a cow you've ever had. The richness of the gorgonzola was a welcome counter to the intense marrow and the avocado cooled everything off. I'm definitely glad I tried marrow in this dish--I'm not sure I could handle scraping marrow right out of the bone.

wood-fired local lamb sirloin with morel mushroom jus

My entree was a hit. The lamb was perfectly cooked, the sauce savory and rich, and the turnip gratin cheesy and velvety. I loved the peppery crust on the tender lamb. I only wish I would have had more room to finish the gratin.

morita chili-raspberry bbq duck breast with asadero fondue and griddle corn pudding

There's not much to say about Matt's entree. He wasn't blown away by it. The fatty layer between the skin and meat of the duck was not a texture that we enjoyed. Not a bad dish, but not our favorite.

We've really enjoyed Pachamama's desserts before, though I've had varied luck. The first dessert I had there was my favorite dessert of all time: a dense yellow cake, drizzled with brown sugar sauce, topped with rhubarb compote, fromage blanc ice cream, and mint coulis. Nothing has ever been able to top that. I've ordered the molten brown sugar cake another time, and it just wasn't the same. Apparently they oscillate between my favorite cake and a drier, bundt-like cake with bits of brown sugar cooked in.

Anyway, I opted for the lemon creme blueberry-rhubarb napoleon. The lemon creme was incredibly fluffy and very tart. The almond tuile (basically almond brittle) was crispy and nutty and not-too-sweet. The house-made salted caramel almond ice cream was also delicious, but seemed to me like it was a separate dessert altogether. I'm still kicking myself for not ordering the dessert with the fromage blanc ice cream instead. In any case, it was good, but not my new favorite.

lemon creme blueberry-rhubarb napoleon

peanut butter and milk chocolate tart

Matt's dessert totally suited him. If you know him, then you can see that the title of the dish has Matt written all over it. Then get into the details: pretzel crust, banana flambe. Yes. Even the wildcard element, the banana-lime sorbet, meshed well with the overall flavor. Matt was a happy camper. I, on the other hand, would have just eaten the bananas. The tart was too chocolatey for my tastes.

There you have it. Can you believe two people put all that food in their bodies in one evening? Well, we did, and we'd do it again. The creative seasonal menu ensures that there will always be something to pique our interest.

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