Adventures in Dining

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Elle’s Deli, September 5, 2011 September 17, 2011

Filed under: Bonaire — hpandaw @ 8:28 pm

This restaurant is listed on Trip Advisor as Eli’s Deli, and I have NO IDEA WHY!  All of the signage says “Elle’s Deli,” so this is going to remain a mystery to me.

This is a very casual place, affordable by Bonaire standards, with sandwiches generally ranging from $10-14.  The interior of the restaurant was quite hot, so we took a table outside which was shaded with a nice breeze.

I ordered the goat cheese, nuts, and honey sandwich on a whole-grain baguette.

This was very nice and light, not too filling, since I didn’t eat the whole sandwich, which was enormous!  The goat cheese was fluffy and creamy, and the honey was just enough to add a subtle sweetness, without being overpowering.  The sliced almonds added a nice crunch and texture.  On a side note, I told the lady behind the counter that I’d like “a soda,” thinking that I’d go get a canned soda, but not wanting to decide exactly which one yet since I hadn’t seen them.  When I went to the case, I chose a root beer, but she pointed out to me that this wasn’t soda water.  I tried explaining that “soda” is generic in the US for “pop” or even “Coke,” but it was a funny language confusion moment.

My husband ordered the tuna melt, also on a whole wheat baguette.

He liked the bread a lot; sometimes baguettes are so hard that they can cut the inside of the mouth, but this one was soft.  The tuna salad was good, not outstanding, but good.  It was a nice, light meal in the midst of a lot of diving.  His drink was a Bitter Lemon, which I liked the taste of very much, but which was too acidic for me to drink since we would be diving again that afternoon.

 

Boudoir Food & Drinks, September 8, 2011

Filed under: Bonaire — hpandaw @ 8:04 pm

This place is located right in downtown Kralendjik, on Kaya Grandi.  Having done so much diving over the  past few days, I was ready for something fairly mild and refreshing, not too heavy or acidic, and we found that at Boudoir.  I would definitely go back here for lunch; it was a nice, relaxing interlude in the midst of 6 days of hardcore diving.

I ordered the tuna salad sandwich, which was so refreshing and light!  There were bits of Granny Smith apple mixed in with the tuna salad, which added a nice crunch and fruitiness to every bite.  I enjoyed this very much, and at $8.95 for the salad, it wasn’t too ungodly expensive for Bonaire.

  The tuna salad was served on a white bagel, though I had the option of having it on a baguette.  I also ordered a side salad, which I didn’t take a photo of, unfortunately.  It was served in a large seashell, and it was probably the best salad I’ve ever had.  The lettuce was very crisp and fresh and cut into small pieces.  The dressing was light, but had an excellent flavor.  This restaurant does simple food very, very well.

My husband ordered the brie cheese sandwich for $8.50.

He chose to have his sandwich on a whole-grain baguette.  He wished that the bacon had been strips, instead of tiny crumbles, since it was such good bacon.  He said that the bread was nice and soft, and the sandwich was very large, so was a good value for the price.  It was simple and nice and, he says, “Just what I needed at that time.”  He also had a side of potato chips for $2.50.

The total price for 2 sandwiches, a bowl of chips, and a side salad was $24.95.  We would definitely go back to Boudoir again.

 

Cactus Blue, September 5 & September 7, 2011

Filed under: Bonaire — hpandaw @ 7:38 pm

This is a very cute little restaurant with a lot of personality.  The decor is fun, and the atmosphere was relaxed.  On our second night there, Moogie was singing, which added to the nice island atmosphere.  It’s a little difficult to find this restaurant, since it’s down a one-way street.  We were staying on the north side of Kralendjik, so for us, we had to go south of the restaurant and then head back up the one-way street on which the restaurant is located.  Cactus Blue is right behind the Casablanca restaurant.

On our first night, we started with the tuna sashimi with pickled ginger wasabi and chili soy for $12.50.  This was SO GOOD!  The tuna was fresh and very delicious.  Neither of us was a big fan of the wasabi dip, but the chili soy was great for adding just the right amount of salty goodness to the tender and lovely tuna.

(Sorry, the pictures of our first visit are quite dark, since we only had our cell phones with us that night, not the camera).

On the first night there, I had the day’s fresh catch, lionfish filets ($24).  I’d been wanting to try lionfish for a while, and though Chef Hagen had lionfish fritters on the menu, I didn’t think I would be able to taste the actual fish as well as if I went for the filets.  These were interesting.  The flavor was very good, and he’d cooked them so well, but the texture of the fish was a bit mealy, which I didn’t really care for.

The coconut rice was light and refreshing, and I enjoyed this dish very much, with the exception of the fish’s texture.

My husband ordered the local barracuda lightly jerked with a mango, lime and ginger sauce, and instead of coconut rice, he asked for fries on the side ($23).

  Again, the sauce on the fish was very flavorful, and the fish itself was cooked so well: moist and delicious.  Chef Hagen came out both nights that we were there, to speak with all of the guests in the restaurant, which was a very nice personal touch.  He told us that barracuda from their waters is free from parasites, unlike the Florida barracuda, which is why they could offer local barracuda on the menu. He also said that my lionfish filets were actually from 2 1/2 large-sized lionfish.  I have to add that he did an EXCELLENT job fileting these tiny fish; not one single bone was left in the filets.  Kudos!

For dessert, we had double melted chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream for $11.

The chocolate cake was very good, as was the ice cream, but the chocolate syrup tasted like Hershey’s syrup, so this dish wasn’t our favorite.

For Dinner #2, we began with the Crab Balls served on a sweet chili dipping sauce for $10.80.

We found this to be the case all over Bonaire: When they say “crab,” what they mean is “krab,” unless the type of crab is specified i.e. “Blue crab.”  These balls were actually Krab Balls, but were pretty good still, and we’re always fans of the sweet chili dipping sauce.

My entree that night was the Ocean Burger for $15.90.

  This was very good; the fries were flavorful, as was the fish, which, as always here, was very moist.

My husband tried the Oven Baked Mahi Mahi with an Island Creole Sauce for $23.

The creole sauce had a really interesting flavor, rather like cinnamon, and the mahi mahi was cooked beautifully yet again.

Our dessert here was probably my favorite dessert of the trip: Cinnamon Fritters with Real Coconut Ice Cream for $11.

The ice cream was actually vanilla, not coconut, since the island had apparently had a lengthy power outage earlier, and the shop that makes their ice cream hadn’t been able to replace the coconut ice cream yet.  But it was still so delicious!  The cinnamon fritters were crispy and sweet and warm, to melt the ice cream, and it was all drizzled with a fruit coulis and dusted with sugar.  So yummy!  It was a great way to finish off our two dinners at Cactus Blue.  We would definitely recommend this place to anyone looking for fresh, local-caught seafood and very personable service.  Our servers here both nights were very on-the-ball, something we found to be rare in Bonaire.

 

 

Yellow Dog Eats, June 12, 2011 June 12, 2011

Filed under: Gotha,Ocoee — hpandaw @ 9:20 pm

We went to see Super 8 at the West Oaks Mall, and then decided to look for a new place to eat.  We’d been meaning to try Yellow Dog Eats for, oh, about three years now, so seized this opportunity of being in the neighborhood.  We got there about 12:45, and the place was PACKED!  So packed that we had to park in the overflow lot across the street. We entered, and were greeted by a friendly but somewhat harassed lady, who was trying to explain how the restaurant worked to a group of people packed into the entryway. Apparently we were supposed to grab a menu, order, and grab a seat. We decided to change the order of events somewhat, seeing how packed the place was, and grabbed menus, then went to look for seats.  We lucked out, in that a couple was leaving right as we were coming in, so we got a seat in the courtyard.  It was literally the ONLY empty table in the restaurant!

After perusing the menu, I decided to order the Kitty Kat, a $9.95 sandwich consisting of “all white albacore tuna salad, distinctive teriyaki marinade, dried cranberries, onions with crisp leaf lettuce, orange-cointreau mayonnaise, sunflower sprouts, and Gouda served on a multigrain bread.” 

This sandwich was AMAZING!  Easily the best tuna salad I’ve ever had, with the orange cointreau mayonnaise and teriyaki marinade adding layer upon layer of flavor to a fairly ordinary dish.  Before we got our food, I was wondering if any tuna salad could be worth $10, and this was!  We were very, very happy campers.

My husband ordered the White Trash, a pulled pork barbeque sandwich served on “Sunbeam white bread topped with spicy coleslaw, Gouda cheese, and bacon” for $9.95. 

The bread largely disintegrated, which he thought was the whole point of it, and the barbeque tasted great.  He wished that it had been pulled a bit better, since there were a few large chunks that were difficult to get through, and thus missed the sauce.  He also thought that the Gouda was too weak to stand up to the boldness of the sauce.  This barbeque sauce was a bright orange sauce, possibly mustard based, since it wasn’t vinegar or tomato-based.  It was sweet, but also pretty spicy, and the coleslaw was also pretty spicy.  He really likes coleslaw with his barbeque, so he enjoyed this very much.  It was  big sandwich and very filling.  The thick, distinctively-flavored bacon was fried to a crisp and so added a very nice crispy texture to the sandwich.

While enjoying our lunch, we were visited by a lovely black cat, who unfortunately had been fed what looked like chocolate cake by another diner, since she upchucked it on the empty seat at our table.  She was a very sweet cat, and we didn’t mind sweeping her mess onto the ground.

While we were finishing up, the owner, Fish Morgan, stopped by our table.  We told him that it was our first visit, and he said that he had something that he wanted us to try.  He went into the kitchen and came back with a thick, decadent slice of chocolate ganache cake, surrounded by four mounds of whipped cream.    He said that even people who didn’t care for chocolate enjoyed this cake, and I can easily believe that.  It was so incredibly luscious, rich, and creamy, that I ate until I thought I would burst!

Overall, we enjoyed our lunch at the Yellow Dog Eats very much, and we will definitely return when we’re next in the Ocoee/Gotha area.  Five stars within its category to the Yellow Dog Eats!

 

 

Hawkers Asian Street Fare, May 29, 2011 May 29, 2011

Filed under: Little Saigon — hpandaw @ 10:45 pm

We’d read a review about this restaurant in Orlando Weekly, and being big tapas fans, we decided to make the long trek out to Mills Avenue.  Hawkers did not disappoint!  The interior reminded us strongly of Chipotle’s interior, with lots of corrugated iron.Our waitress was very friendly, making a beer suggestion to my husband (they offer 90 different beers by the bottle, mostly ranging in price from $4 to $7) and giving us ample time to look over the menu.  We decided to each select a dish to share, then each have one dish for ourselves, since I do not eat meat, and my husband had decided in advance to try the roast duck banh mi sliders.

Our first dish was the Asian fried green beans, lightly battered and tossed in five spice seasoning for $4.50.

This was delicious!  We ate them in about 30 seconds flat.  The beans were a bit oily, but in a good, street-food type of way, and the five spice seasoning lent an exotic flavor to the beans.

Next came the South Asia shrimp curry for $6.50.  

We really, really liked this dish.  The coconut milk was a nice touch, and the shrimp were large and very flavorful.  We ordered a side of white rice for $1 to eat the curry over, and I was somewhat challenged to eat this with chopsticks, but I managed.

In addition to the white rice, I had also ordered a piece of roti canai, thinking that I would sop up the shrimp curry with this. 

The roti was outstanding, buttery and flaky, and I could have eaten seven more of these!  The menu mentioned that it would be served with the “signature spicy curry dipping sauce,” so I was astounded to find that this dipping sauce had chunks of chicken in it!  I didn’t eat the chicken chunks, but, since I don’t eat meat, I would have asked them to hold the dipping sauce if I’d realized what it contained.  My only complaint about the restaurant is that I wish they had marked the menu to identify vegetarian dishes, which would have made it a lot easier to navigate.  Currently, the menu has symbols for spicy dishes and for “Hawkers Signature Dishes,” a symbol that I always find to be singularly useless.  Why tell me what your signature dish is?  What does that even mean, in practical terms?  Why not have a special section called “Hawkers Signature Dishes,” instead of “Hawkers Originals?”  The inclusion of both, without identifications that might have actually helped diners order, is a pet peeve of mine, not just on Hawkers’ menu, but on menus at other restaurants, as well.

My next dish was the $6 Hawkers fish tacos, one of the Hawkers Originals, and it was the weakest of all the dishes we tried. 

The five spice fish inside the tacos were woefully under-salted, and the shredded cabbage was dried up and didn’t seem to be fresh.

My husband’s next dish was also a Hawkers Original selection, the aforementioned Banh Mi sliders with roast duck for $6. 

He thought they were a touch heavy on the bread, but that was to be expected with a thick baguette. The duck was flavorful, though not very tender, and he liked the light mayonnaise dressing, without which he felt the duck would have been a bit dry.  The cucumbers in this dish were reportedly “great,” and complemented the duck nicely.  The bread was not chewy, and tasted fresh.

The total for roti, curry, green beans, tacos, rice, banh mi sliders, a Coke, and a Southern Tier IPA was $36.22 after tax and before tip.  We left the restaurant STUFFED, and definitely felt that we could have ordered probably one fewer dish than we did, though we had wanted to try multiple items.

 

Tapas Garden and Wine Bar, September 26, 2010 May 28, 2011

Filed under: Indian Rocks Beach — hpandaw @ 1:10 am

We’d read good reviews of this place on http://Tripadvisor.com and thought it would be a good place to eat dinner, since we both love tapas.  What a mistake!  We were the only people in the restaurant on a Saturday night, which should have told us something, considering that other restaurants in the area had full parking lots.  It actually reminded us a lot of the show Kitchen Nightmares, where the restaurant was deserted and the standards had slowly slipped over time (we’re giving them the benefit of the doubt that they weren’t always this awful).
We arrived during “happy hour,” which ostensibly should have entitled us to $5 tapas.  After we were given the check, with full priced tapas on it, we overheard another server (not ours) tell the second group in the dining room that the $5 tapas was tapas that was not on the menu.  Unfortunately, our server did NOT tell us this.  He was very nice and friendly, but seemed quite callow, given the absence of his notification about the tapas specials and the fact that he didn’t offer us dessert or to order more tapas, even though we said that we’d start with 3 and would probably order more.  There were other strange things about the service like, with an entirely empty dining room, they gave us the table next to the bathroom.  The woman who seated us didn’t pull out our chairs or spread out our napkins, which was another indication of the unpolished service that we received here.
The food, though, was the big problem.  We wanted to start with three different tapas, but they were out of the one that sounded most appealing to us, the fried green tomatoes with crab meat.  We ordered the ceviche, four crab croquettes, and the shrimp al ajillo.  The ceviche turned out to be a garden salal with precisely TWO shrimp, sliced lengthwise, and a half of a bay scallop, which was cut into two pieces.  

Not exactly what is usually indicated by the term “ceviche,” especially for $7.50.  Doesn’t it look like a house salad?

The crab croquettes, which were described as “filled with crab and cheese,” turned out to be plain potato croquettes.  Neither crab nor cheese was in evidence here.  The shrimp al ajillo, at $7.95, was a giant rip off.  This, of the three dishes, turned out to be the only one that was what it said it was: shrimp with garlic sauce.  However, $7.95 at Tapas Garden buys you 6 medium-sized (26-30/lb) shrimp.  Woo hoo!  

I’m posting a photo, though it’s only got 5 shrimp, since I forgot that we were photographing the food and had eaten one of the shrimp before I remembered this.
I was so irritated at this point by the misinformation and misleading descriptions that we just paid the check and left.  I didn’t even finish my glass of wine because I was so irked.  I would definitely advise avoiding this restaurant unless you would like to pay too much for mediocre food with either excessively small portion sizes or misleading ingredients like “ceviche” or “crab” croquettes.

 

Alinea, August 6, 2009 May 21, 2011

Filed under: Chicago — hpandaw @ 8:24 pm

When we entered this restaurant, we felt a bit as if we were in Alice in Wonderland.  We walked down this corridor until we got to the end of it, but there was no sign of a door.  As we stood, looking at each other blankly, a door magically opened on the side of the hallway – surprise!
We chose to go with the 22-course Tour since we were so excited about the food here.  We both began with a course of steelhead roe with traditional garnishes. 

While it tasted like roe with traditional garnishes (brioche toast, crème fraiche, etc.) it was anything but.  The chef had transmogrified the garnishes into foams and creams so that there was absolutely no texture except for that lovely, salty pop of the caviar.  The brioche toast foam was the oddest thing: a foam that tasted like a piece of toasted bread.  We were both overwhelmed by this dish, and our culinary tour was off to a great start.
Our next dishes were slightly different.  Mine was black cod in iceberg lettuce with cucumber and Thai distillation.  My husband’s was pork belly with iceberg lettuce, cucumber, and Thai distillation. 

This was a lovely dish!  The Thai distillation was served in a small glass, and it tasted like lemongrass and fish sauce and all those other flavors one associates with Thai food.  The iceberg lettuce wrap, though, was the best part.  The crispy lettuce contrasted beautifully with the soft, flavorful cod.  The wine served with this was Abbazia di Novacella Kerner, Valle Isarco, Alto Adige 2007.
You know you’re in for a unique dining experience when your server’s instructions are to “Pick up the guitar pick and eat everything on it in one bite.”  This next course was oxalis with juniper, gin, sugar, and citric acid.  The citric acid was so sour!  But the bite was so light and refreshing.  My husband couldn’t decide if his palate had just been cleansed or blown away by the citric acid.
The course that followed was one of my favorite: lilac with scallop, shellfish, and honeydew. 

This was beautifully done.  The white, creamy disks tasted like lilac perfume melting in my mouth.  The scallop and shellfish (razor clam) were wonderful with the sweetness of the honeydew and the perfume of the lilac, and there was a saltiness to the broth that was addictive.  It sounds like such an odd combination, but it worked marvelously.  The wine paired with this was Albert Mann “Vielles Vignes” Auxerrois, Alsace 2007.
After all of these light and innovative dishes, the next course was a shock to the system. 

Mine was a ragout of vegetables, pate brisee, while my husband’s was a pigeonneau a la Saint-Clair.  What I learned from this trip is that apparently I am a big fan of salsify.  This course was an incredibly flaky, buttery, rich pastry, filled with vegetables and the most delicious, creamy, rich sauce from L’Escoffier.  It was perfect, and it paired so well with the wine, “Alter Ego” de Chateau Palmer, Margaux 2004.  I enjoyed this so much that I ate almost all of it, which was probably a mistake considering that I had another 18 courses to go!
What followed was very strange to eat. 

It was a black truffle explosion with romaine and parmesan.  Our server told us to eat this in one bite and to close our lips around it, since there would literally be an explosion of black truffle in our mouths.  He was right!  As soon as we bit into it, the liquid gushed into our mouths.  Black truffles have never tasted so rich and wonderful.  This was another favorite of mine.  Since it was only one bite, it was a good size for a tasting menu this extensive.
The next course was the one that we both agreed was the weakest. 

It was a tomato course with fig, nicoise olive, and pine nuts.  Before bringing out our dishes, the servers brought a large bowl of tomato greens on top of super-heated rocks.  This sent lovely aromas of fresh tomatoes to us while we ate this dish.  The tomatoes were good, and very fresh, topped with pureed olives and olive oil sorbet, but we thought it was just okay, especially compared to the dishes that precluded and followed this course.
My next course was apple with butterscotch and thyme, while my husband’s was bacon with butterscotch, apple, and thyme. 

This was served hanging from a very funky piece of metal that had been custom-designed just for this dish.  It was good, light and refreshing, but I wasn’t overwhelmed by it.
The following dish was another interesting one: sweet potato with bourbon, brown sugar, and smoldering cinnamon. 

It was served in what looked like a mutilated whisk.  The cinnamon stick, which we used rather like a popsicle stick to hold while we ate the sweet potato, was smoldering on the end, so it emitted a spicy aroma.  This was good, but a bit too greasy and rich for me.  The sweet potato with bourbon and brown sugar had been battered and fried.  It reminded me of something one might eat at a fair, though the couples at the tables around us kept referring to it as a “churro.”
Unfortunately, we didn’t get a picture of the next dish, since we were told to eat it immediately.  This was a small disk of mustard, passionfruit, and allspice sorbet, served on a pin.  We have a photo of the empty dish and pin, but the disk was on a tight timeline.  It was another one that didn’t wow me; the mustard was very spicy and tart, but it was a good palate cleanser after the rich sweet potato.
The next dish, hot potato, cold potato, black truffle and butter, was another really interesting one. 

It was served in a tiny bowl made of wax, with a pin stuck through the side of the wax bowl.  The bowl itself was filled with a creamy, chilled potato soup, while the pin held two small cubes of cheese and a hot potato ball topped with black truffle.  When we pulled the pin out of the wax bowl, the potato and cheese dropped into the cold soup, providing a nice contrast both of texture and of temperature.  This wasn’t my very favorite dish, but it was quite good, and it was definitely interesting.  The wine with this was a Bruno Paillard “Premiere Cuvee” Brut Rose, Reims.
This was followed by yuba with shrimp, miso, and togarashi. 

It was an interesting twist of fried yuba bean paste, wrapped around by shrimp covered in sesame seeds, with a miso sauce at the bottom of the dish.  I enjoyed this, which again, had a very interesting presentation, though these flavors were more familiar to me.  The server told us that in order to make this dish, they would cook the yuba until the skin formed, then they’d peel off the skin.  They kept doing this over and over, until they had enough skins to make into the stick and fry the yuba.
My next dish was fluke with peach, fennel, and shiso, while my husband had foie gras with peach, fennel, and shiso. 

This was delicious.  I’m usually not a fan of fennel, but I enjoyed this very much.  It was a small bite but very refreshing.  My husband’s foie gras was creamy with a slight sweetness from the peach.  He didn’t think it was the best foie gras he’d ever had, but he enjoyed it very much.  Because it wasn’t seared, the way foie gras usually is, it was creamier and sweeter.
This was followed by a dish of crab with carrot, five spice, and lychee. 

It was surprisingly sweet, and so light that I enjoyed every bite.  The crab was such a mild flavor, but the five spice paired well with it and didn’t completely mask or overwhelm the crab.
My next dish was sturgeon with powdered A-1, potato, and chips, while my husband’s was wagyu beef with powdered A-1, potato, and chips. 

Both the sturgeon and the wagyu were seared, and the mashed potato cake was coated with potato chips for a crispy crust.  It was very good, and the potatoes had a cheesiness, as if they’d been coated in Cheez-Its instead of regular potato chips.  The powdered A-1 was interesting, and it added a nice flavor to the meaty sturgeon.  The wine paired with this was a K Vintners “Milbrandt” Syrah, Wahluke Slope, Washington 2006.  We both really liked this wine.
Our server then approached us, handed us each what looked like a small plastic bag of powder, and said, “Put this on your tongue and let it dissolve.”  It was a lemon soda, a fizzy lemon powder, and it tasted like fun, if that makes any sense.  The plastic bag was actually made of corn starch, so it melted away on my tongue, to be followed by the tart yet sweet fizziness of lemon soda.  The server was so funny; he joked, “Now that you’ve swallowed that mystery packet, from a guy whose name you don’t know, let me tell you about your next course.”
The next course that followed was the most challenging for me to eat, primarily because it contained another one of those exploding balls. 

This one was a watermelon ball with lime and nasturtium, and we had to eat it in one bite, closing our mouths around it immediately, or else the watermelon would squirt everywhere.  I felt really weird trying to open my mouth wide enough to fit this inside, and my husband was videotaping me and kept making me laugh, so I had to have several attempts before I succeeded in getting the watermelon ball into my mouth.  It was delicious, though, very light, sweet, and flavorful.
The watermelon ball was served with two other dishes: bubble gum with long pepper and hibiscus and a transparency of raspberry and yogurt.  The bubble gum was another one that gave me trouble, since it was tapioca balls that had to be sucked out of a tube.  I guess I didn’t suck hard enough because I wasn’t able to get all of it in one bite, as the chef had intended.  The first suck was delicious, though, very sweet and fruity and slightly tart, all with the chewiness of bubble gum provided by the small balls.  I suspect these might be tapioca, but I have no information to either confirm or deny this.  It took me a while to get all of the balls out of the tube, and they weren’t wonderful without the hibiscus sauce.  The transparency of raspberry and yogurt looked like a tiny, red plastic fan.  It was good, though, like a crispy fruit roll-up.
Next came another dessert course: rhubarb with goat milk, onion, and lavender air. 

This was served on top of a pillow filled with lavender air, so that we continued to smell the lavender air while we were eating, as our dish pressed down on the pillow.  The onion had been made into an onion cotton candy, which was so much fun!  The desserts were playful and exciting: as much fun to eat as they were beautiful to look at.  The wine with this course was our favorite, Elio Perrone “Bigaro,” Piedmont, Italy 2008.
The final dish was performance art: chocolate, blueberry, tobacco, and maple.

The servers rolled out a Silpat tablecloth, and added something to the black vase on our table that made smoke from the dry ice start pouring out of it.  The sous chef came out from the kitchen and began spreading ingredients around our table: pickled blueberries, dashes of tobacco cream, candied walnuts, and applewood consommé in gel balls.  He gave us each a chunk of the frozen chocolate mousse, which was so cold that smoke issued from our nostrils and mouths.  This was really good, and it was also great fun.  We got to play with our food like two kids!  The consommé gel balls popped and oozed consommé all over the tablecloth, and we had so much fun composing each bite.  The wine served with this was a Smith-Woodhouse 1994 Vintage Port.
After this, we had a very dark, rich coffee, and then dinner was over.  We arrived at 7:30, and left at 11:30.  It was such an amazing, memorable experience.

 

 
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