The epitome of fresh, lovingly prepared food, Wild Pear is a must-try in Salem. We had a winemakers dinner there that made it evident the chef truly enjoyed what she did–it was repeated several times throughout the dinner that the apricots, carrots, blueberries, etc. were all grown in the chefs garden!
The building that Wild Pear is in is beautiful in itself. It used to be a cigar shop, and even now the restaurant has amazing old ceiling patterns and a charming tiny office that you wouldn’t even know was there on the “second floor.” They have an amazing kitchen and even from the outside the restaurant has so much personality.
Winemaker dinners are one of the best job perks of working in a small winery (aside from the great wine). I expected to be incredibly full and ready to roll myself out of the restaurant at the end of six courses with a small appetizer, but they were expertly proportioned and wonderfully paired. Not only that, the set up for these dinners are always so elegant. It’s such a pleasure to sit down to a well-set table (particularly if there are numerous wine glasses as part of that setting).
It was the most amazing food–cambozola cheese has light hints of blue cheese that the Viognier & Roussanne brought out nicely. The shrimp, avocado and ginger apple slaw was just so fresh and had a delectable crunch. The snapper ceviche (I have no idea what that even is aside from the fact that it’s some sort of fish) just melted on your tongue. The vinaigrette for the salad was amazing and balanced the apricot and almonds with the nice fresh smell of tarragon. The duck breast was my favorite–I’ve never tasted duck like that! The duck paired with 2011 Luminous Hills Pinot noir blew me away. Winning pair of the evening. Followed up by lamb lollipop, delicious–I ate everything except the bone. Finally, we finished up with some delicious fresh blueberry (from our chefs garden) coffee cake and I was stuffed, happy and sleepy.
I just need to say once again; the duck was the best I’ve ever tasted, and the lamb was superb.
Eat at Wild Pear! They’re open from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mon to Sat. They also do catering, which we will be employing them for on an upcoming vineyard walk and picnic! If they have any sort of duck or lamb on the menu when you go, please, for the sake of your happiness, try it.