Olema Inn - Page 2

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The chips were limper than what one would consider ideal, but they had been fried in duck fat, which more than made up in flavor what had not been achieved in crispness.

The flavor of duck also pleasantly pervaded a steak hash ($18): cubes of potato and beef, dottings of fresh fava beans, and coarse flaps of onion and fennel root adrift in a ducky broth into which a poached duck egg slowly leaked its yolk. The steak had been billed as the star ingredient, but the dish would have been fine without any meat at all — or maybe just some duck confit? Hash is a well-known recycling center for leftovers, but leftover duck confit often finds its way into salads, not hashes. And sometimes there isn't any leftover confit at all.

Although bread pudding is another locus for leftovers, Olema Inn's vanilla version ($9) didn't seem at all fatigued — more like a fresh morning bun, envelopingly soft and warm. Our server was particularly enthusiastic about the chamomile crème brûlée ($9). It did turn out to be almost obscenely creamy — a true custard — beneath its cap of caramelized sugar, though I strained to detect any hint of chamomile in the flavor. The sour love-bite of lemon, on the other hand, was plainly discernable in the profiteroles ($9); they were filled with lemon-cookie ice cream and were assembled from fresh, house-made pastry, to judge by their exquisite tenderness. Wharton no doubt would have approved. As for Twain: he had vanished into the unseasonable mist, and the veranda was clear when we left. *

OLEMA INN

Lunch: Sat.–Sun., noon–4 p.m. Dinner: daily, 5–9 p.m.

Sir Francis Drake Blvd. at Highway 1, Olema

(415) 663-9559

www.theolemainn.com

AE/DISC/MC/V

Beer and wine

Not noisy

Wheelchair accessible

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