Bar Le Côte’s genius combo is a tried-and-true dinner party trick.

This Two-Ingredient Dessert Is the Only One You Need This Holiday Season
Thomas J. Story

Bar Le Côte, a seafood-centric restaurant in Los Olivos, is arguably one of the best spots to dine in the Santa Ynez Valley, and while the entire menu sings of chef Brad Mathews’ takes on modern California ranch cuisine, our favorite dish wasn’t the yellowtail crudo or even the stellar fried chicken sandwich—which, for the record, is one of the best we’ve ever had. It’s the vanilla bean ice cream presented tableside with a hearty drizzle of Pedro Ximénez sherry over the top. It’s a delightfully simple dessert where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. And it will make for the perfect addition to your holiday dinner repertoire this year.

There’s something alchemic about the combo of the vanilla bean blended with the sweet, mulling spice notes of the sherry that is perfect for the holiday season. Simply place a heaping scoop of vanilla bean ice cream into a bowl, then top generously with aged Pedro Ximénez sherry.

“It was an idea I had when we opened,” says Mathews. “I just love the simplicity of it.”

Bar Le Côte Staff

Thomas J. Story

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Mathews uses house-made vanilla ice cream made with whole milk and whole vanilla beans and a 25-year-aged Pedro Ximénez sherry for their rendition. The aged sherry makes for a depth and roundness of flavor, with notes of raisins, figs, dates, and mulling spices that may remind you of a great rum raisin ice cream.

When asked if there was a creamery that’s his favorite for this dessert, Mathews declined, emphasizing that you can use whatever store-bought brand of vanilla ice cream is your favorite. “I feel like it’s the most political [question],” he says. (For the record, we’re partial to the readily-available Häagen-Dazs vanilla bean, or for something more local, Salt & Straw out of Portland.)

So, save yourself from the stress of baking this season and give this one a go. You won’t regret it.