Foodie porn images from a Rivers 4th of July

Rivers restaurant in redding
We received the email invitation to Rivers Restaurant for their 4th of July Dinner:
“Your 7-Course evening will begin with appetizers, and culminate with dessert and the largest fireworks display in Northern California.” Wow. We’ve been trying to shed a few pounds, but this seems worth a rare splurge. The evening was to run from 6:30 pm to 10:30 pm. That sounded long, but I knew my dinner companion, the lovely Karry would approve. We reserved a table on the patio.
When we arrived at the lobby, we were greeted by name, and offered a flute of champagne to take with us into the Lounge. For the Appetizer Course, we were served from trays of stuffed bite-sized portobello mushrooms, some kind of Ahi tiny taco looking things whose name I can’t remember, and escargot baked in filo. My companion’s favorite were the crab cakes with lemon aoli. Champagne refills. I realize the key to enjoyment tonight was going to be pacing yourself. Not easy!

At some point, the wait staff found us and showed us to our table. I had some concern about being seated in a western facing patio on a July day. But the staff adjusted the huge motorized shades continuously, and the high misters performed well. We are longtime Reddingites, so a mere 100 degree day is only warm for us, not a “hot day” by our standards. Anyway, the patio was quite pleasantly temperate. And the city views from the patio are incomparable. We spotted one of the famous local bald eagles from the Turtle Bay webcam as it flew by. Time for the second course:
Rivers restaurant in redding
The Soup Course consisted of a “Vichyssoise of potato and leek, with crispy prosciutto.” A thin breadstick completes the scene. This is a chilled soup, but unlike some gazpachos and melon concoctions we’ve tried where you say to one another “that’s, uh, interesting,” this soup really left you wanting more. On to the Salad Course.
Rivers restaurant in redding
“Seared day-boat scallop nestled atop arugula greens, lightly dressed with a lemon thyme vinaigrette, sided by fresh fig compote and crisp Brioche.” The scallops were as mouthwatering as they look. The arugula was actually nestled in what my companion believes was an edible bowl made by frying parmigiano-reggiano into the shape. Nice touch. Soon, it’s time for the Intermezzo Course
A restaurant journey to Rivers in Redding CA on the 4th.
The waning sunlight dances on “Strawberry Champagne Mint Ice.” I noticed that the chef had to freeze the strawberry slice first, so that it would match the temperature of the ice. Just right.
Intermezzo was occasion to chat with neighboring tables, and for comparing comments. Good people surround us. I noticed that several had decided to try the wine pairing with the courses, and I enjoyed hearing the descriptions. I’m a beer guy, and tried several of their taps. My favorite was our semi-local Sierra Nevada Summer Fest. It seems like you can’t go wrong with whatever Sierra Nevada brews. Soon enough, it’s time for the Entrée Course.
Rivers restaurant in redding
“Surf and Turf Mixed Grill – Filet Mignon with chanterelle demi, Lamb Chop with Dijonaise, and Lobster tail with a sherry reduction.” I don’t write about food all that often. As a rule, I figure you should avoid cliché, and try to convey some description that offers a reader some verbal image of the experience. Unfortunately, all the words I’m thinking of for this plate veer dangerously close to sexuality. Let it suffice that this course tasted even better than it looked, and the main elements displayed rest on flavored mashed potatoes bordered by perfectly cooked asparagus. Pushing back after a bit, I pop in the main gallery for a look.

Rivers restaurant in redding staff

The staff worked in synchrony. It occurs to me that this type of event requires more of a cruise ship type dinner timing, with the courses all arriving at once. This is different than the usual Rivers continuous serving of their broad menu throughout an evening. Their anticipatory services and flawless timing was testament to staff training and adaptability.
As our world spins east, we glimpse the last of the day’s direct sunlight. Immediately, the staff raises the blinds, and ignites oil lamps on the rail. The patio is transformed.

A musical duo performs at one end of the patio, and I’m sorry I don’t know your names. But the music is mellow and appropriate. Below, the river has just a few boats and kayaks. The Redding nightscape competes vigorously with the gorgeous food for our attention. Whatever anxiety I had about spending 4 hours at a restaurant patio have long vanished. The time flies by like the ultralight pilot we see tracking the river at our blufftop altitude. Time for another course, this Cheese Course.

“Parmigiano-Reggiano tartlet with fresh pear and rosemary chutney with candied walnuts.” Okay, so it’s hard to follow up on a course I already described as total sensory overload. This was good, which seems like pale praise indeed. I was losing count of the courses by this point, and I think I had mistaken it for dessert. It wasn’t. Here’s the Dessert course:
Rivers restaurant in redding
“A Dessert Tour of the United States of America. New Orleans banana beignet “Fosters Style, Washington DC chocolate and cherry parfait, Hawaiian mango coconut gelato sided by macadamia nut macaroon.” Well, of course it is. And served on a plate painted with red white and blue coloring. By now, I am in no shape for a dessert tour, or any other kind of tour, but resistance is futile. As the evening darkness descends, the musical duo breaks into America the Beautiful. Everyone rises spontaneously from their tables. The moment is beyond poignant, and our appreciation of all that has enabled this sublime Redding evening is overwhelming.
The staff switches the restaurant audio to KCHO/KFPR and we are treated to the familiar voice of Lorraine Dechter, who introduces Redding’s legendary fireworks celebration.

Thanks for coming up with of this idea, Rivers. I took a bunch of fireworks photos, and some video. But hey, let’s just say the fireworks were terrific, as usual. Our deep gratitude goes out to the McConnell Foundation for their sponsorship. You probably saw them too, if you were almost anywhere in our town for the 4th. For us, the setting was unsurpassed. The food exceeded already high expectations. The staff and guests remind us why we like living here so much. And the natural beauty of Redding on a warm July evening is more garnish on the plate of life. Enjoy yours.

Rivers restaurant in redding regular food

We now return you to our regularly scheduled food programming. Hope you enjoyed a look at our splurge. At least the business went to local people.

Rivers restaurant in redding

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