Mineral Spices Up Downtown Murphys Scene
Calaveras Enterprise Friday September 7th, 2007
(by: Bethany Monk)
Taste. Texture. Style.
Mineral, a vegetarian and primarily organic restaurant in Murphys offers these qualities and much more; even self proclaimed carnivores are filling their plates and enticing their palates with the restuarants unique tastes.
Murphys native Maya Radisich and her fiance Steve Rinauro, originally from the bay area, opened Mineral about a year ago after carefully scouting out the Murphys area for the perfect place to open their restaurant. What they found is an eclectic hideaway nestled in the heart of the downtown area, not too far from the Murphys Historic Hotel and Murphys Community Park. Rinauro, who describes the set up as an “urban experience” says his daily goal as a chef is to “execute the perfect dish” calling the work of a chef definently an art form. Using a mostly French technique when preparing dishes, Rinauro mixes the flavors and spices of several cultures, including Indian, Mexican, and Asian, producing delectable tastes and textures unfamiliar to most diners.
“A lot of times people have misconceptions about vegetarianism” said Radisich who has been a vegetarian her entire life. The 1997 Bret Harte graduate grew up in Murphys and left the foothills to study graphic design at the Academy of Art in San Francisco. It’s helpful, she said, to have an open mind about trying new food. Rinauro has been a vegetarian most of his adult life, and said that people visiting Mineral for the first time are surprised with how satiating the dishes are. “They say ‘Wow man, I just feel amazing” Rinauro said adding that people often comment on the richness of the food, which he describes as organic and kosher, with a beautiful, silky richness. “You leave full. People are happy.” Some of his favorite flavors to include in dishes are garam masala, tumeric, coriander, citrus, and fresh and local chilies. With dishes sporting fancy names like Smokes Chamomile Citrus Vegetable Risotto and Honey Snap Crusted Seitan, it’s no surprise that each prepared dish looks beautiful enough to frame, hang on the wall and invite friends over to show off as your new modern art piece. One popular meal, the Chilled Heirloom Tomato Soup is one such dish. Made with red wine, Cherokee tomato sorbet, and a madori cucumber “caviar” the flavors are sure to offer the tastebuds a reawakening. The cucumber gives it a little kick, Rinauro said, noting the chilled aspect mixed with the sweetness of flavors in the dish. Another favorite the Shiso and Carnaroli Cakes with candied jalapeno gastrique and crispy fried shiso, is a delight for the palate with it’s mixture of hot spices and sweet flavors. One of the highlights of Mineral is the varied types of sake- an alcoholic beverage made through the fermentation of rice. Rinauro and Radisich enjoy helping their guests at the restaurant pair sake with their meal.
Mineral is an experience completely rare compared to what’s going on the foothills. The resturant at 419 Main Street is open Thursday through Monday.