Sunday, July 6, 2014

Decadent 4th of July

My friend, Melody, joined me for 4th of July dinner.  I wanted to be able to speak of some of the items that I serve and enjoy them in a relaxed setting. It's not as if I can sit down with a glass of wine and nosh on food at work.  There is not time to do that.  Instead, I made it a priority to sample some of the fares offered.  I made reservations to dine at the bar.  When I arrived, they told me that we had been bumped from the seats I wanted to accommodate a guest.   There is a couple that have standing reservations on Friday nights. Of course, they should retain their seats.
I waited for Melody to arrive.  I was handed some Perrier Jouet to start the evening. Yummy bubbly--It was a lovely way to toast the holiday and experience.
I told Melody to choose what looked interesting to her.  I mentioned that I would veto a few items--the burger, truffled mac and cheese, halibut--as I had tried those items.  I know that I enjoy them.  Instead, I wanted to focus on trying dishes that were foreign to me.  I wanted to taste some of the newer dishes and see what stood out for her.  Immediately, she was drawn to the foie gras and sweetbreads.  I am not one to turn down the opportunity to eat foie and so I knew that was a definite must.  Ironically, the foie and sweet breads are staple items on the menu.
We chose the foie and beef carpaccio to begin.  I will be honest, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the carpaccio.  Delicious.  I loved the garlic lingering and the egg that congealed it.  Normally, I do not seek out red meat.  I suppose my tastes are evolving.  I always like foie.  The sweetbreads were good but not something that I would go out of my way to order in the future.  It is a texture thing.
We followed the starters with the veal chop, chanterelle mushrooms and onion rings.  Sounds sort of odd but it was a tasty combination.  The veal chop was accompanied by polenta fries and a topping of arugula.  It was savory.  I had heard some complaints that the veal had been overcooked.  Ours was spot on.  Medium rare was perfect.  The chanterelles were equally impressive.  The onion rings are served like the Tower of Pisa.  They make a statement when served.  The other bar customers watched us enjoy our meal.  They seemed interested in when and how we were going to eat the onion rings. I offered to share them a few times.  I think people were surprised at the amount of food we ordered.  It wasn't about cleaning our plates. I wanted to sample the fare.
The conversation flowed as did the wine.  We drank pinot noir to accompany our meal.  Afterwards, we shared the chocolate desert.  It was good, not great.  I think the winter chocolate is more decadent.  Molten chocolate cake, espresso ice cream and mexican hot chocolate.  That definitely makes an impression.  Plus, I am not a huge fan of cherry anything.  Cherry ice cream accompanies the chocolate cake.  Good, but not great, in my opinion.
I observed some fireworks and concluded the night with a book.  All, in all, a lovely way to celebrate the 4th of July.  Good company, food and wine.

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