Monday, August 29, 2011

AGORA offers delicious Turkish/Greek delicacies in Dupont Circle(DC) (8-28-11)

Last night, Will had a dinner date with a friend, so Samuel and I
headed to AGORA (17th Street NW & Q St which opened
just over a year ago in the same place where the late Boss Sheperd's
was located (and another not long-lived French bistro in-between as
well). I think AGORA will have staying power for several reasons.
There is a great patio which was jammed, but you may recall Samuel
detests sitting outside due to his fear of bugs!
We headed inside which was quite empty at 6pm, but filled up by the
time we left. The walls are cool dark brick and there is a long bar on
the right with a huge flat screen TV above it (the Nats game was on),
and the tables might be a bit too close in some places, but otherwise
it's comfy and tasteful.
Hot billowing pita came out with an oil dip with chopped olives in it,
which they called tapenade. It was yummy and Samuel gobbled up the
bread and oil, but the olives were hard to get out and many ended up
on the table; a small spoon might have been nice.
We ordered a bowl of tasty HTIPITI, a roasted red pepper tapenade with
feta cheese that was nice. Samuel liked the peppers, but would not
touch the feta, which I thought was the thing that made the dish much
The wine list here is quite large and there are some steeply priced
options, but the by the glass section has 22 choices and they come in
glass, 1/4 bottle and 1/2 bottle as well. I tried a wonderful dry
Turkish Rose CAL KARSI made from Syrah 2009 from Kavaklidere "Egeo."
As there were both Greek and Turkish items on the menu and wine list,
I asked our server if the owners were Turkish or Greek, and despite
the Greek name "Agora," it turned out they are Turkish, so I chose the
Turkish wines! My second wine was a SULTANA ANGORA 2009 from the same
winery in Denizil, Turkey and was also quite delicious.
I started with the Wild Caught OCTOPUS with Capers, Red Onion,
Parsley, Diced Tomato, Olive Oil and Sherry Wine Vinegar. It had a
great intense lemony flavor as well, as many of the dishes do here.
The meat was tender and the dish was quite large; the dishes here are
more tapas style and prices around $7-15 depending on the ingredients.
It's a great fish/salad starter that rivals any other octopus salad
Samuel chose the MANTI-a big mistake. It was Meat filled mini-raviolis
topped with Garlic Yogurt and a Red Pepper Sauce with some dried mint.
He eats little yogurt (and always sweet kiddie stuff at that) so even
though he loves garlic, he didn't want any of that! It covered about
1.3 of the mini raviolis which he did eat, but it was impossible to
get him to even try the red pepper sauce which was truly a tasty
tapenade that he would have loved (he adores tapenades!). I finally
finished his dish and insisted he try again (or no Coke)...and he did
eat up 90% of the KOFTE which are small burger-like lamb and beef
patties beautifully seasoned over a garlic pita with sumac onions and
grilled tomato. The bread was a bit lame, and he didn't want the
veggies...but we did fine.
I had the Grilled Filet of Boneless BRANZINO over Olive Bread with
Grilled Lemon. Again the bread was worthless and a bit crusty, but the
fish was superb, especially once I squeezed that tasty grilled lemon
with seasoning all over.
I wanted something like dessert and our server had gone so well with
the Branzino, I took her other idea and had the appetizer of HELLIM
Cheese. This cheese is a full fat Famagusta (Cyprus) goat cheese which
is pan seared and comes out more like a firm cheese stick. It is
served with thyme, toasted almonds and a sweet fig jam that makes the
dish a perfect dessert. I had a nice glass of VERDECA which she
suggested and again it was a nice dry choice (albeit from Italy!).
Overall, we enjoyed the food and while the pita is amazing, it seems
the only real bad thing is the bread that comes UNDER some of the

Monday, August 22, 2011

CASA NONNA -perfect pasta and pizza and more (8-21-11)

Last night we took Samuel for an early Restaurant Week Dinner at CASA NONNA (1250 Connecticut Ave, which has been open for less than a year now, but has to have become one of the best mid-range priced places for Italian food in town. Add to this that the FOUR-course Restaurant Week Special of $35.11 is available through the end of August and you have even more reasons to head to this roomy, yet cozy spot a block from Dupont Circle.
Samuel did not want more than a Shirley Temple and a Pizza Margherita, but gobbled up plate after plate (along with us) of the best "focaccia" around. It is really a soft pizza-dough like flatbread that is stuffed (here and there) with a ricotta-like cheese called Stracchino that stretches and has wonderful earthy flavor, unlike Ricotta. The bread is topped with salt, pepper flakes, rosemary, sage and other spices making it a meal in itself.
For Restaurant Week (all of August) everyone starts with the ANTIPASTO sampler of the best Eggplant CAPONATA this side of Sicily; it is loaded with tasty eggplant and lots of caramelized onions that have sweetened the dish. Also on the plate are crunchy crostini to spread the caponata on as well as RICOTTA with Truffle Oil and slices of Prosciutto that are simply as light as air and oh so tasty.
Our server Zoe always had a smile and was a big help. She led us to the ORVIETO PALAZZONE "Terre Vineate" from Umbria 2010 that worked well with all our choices. We then moved on to a quartino (small carafe available in many wines that also come by the glass) of Masciarelli TREBBIANO 2010 from Abruzzo right next door to Umbria, but with a bit more perfume in the mouth.
The special $35.11 menu offers a choice of three pastas, main courses and desserts (as well as the yummy antipasti) and while it is limited...the choices are wide and superb. Will and I had the exact same items (yes, boring) and adored EVERY bite.
The SPAGHETTI alla CHITATA was a revelation using whole wheat pasta and adding little bits of cauliflower along with the garlic, enough hot peppers to fill the mouth with flavor (even Samuel gave it a hands up) and pecorino cheese. We could not stop talking about how great this dish was.
For the main course we chose the MERLUZOO al Forno, a tummy wood roasted COD with sweet and sour pepperonata topped with Arugula, another great creation and not a huge portion after all the other yummy food.
Dessert was the PANNA COTTA with fresh figs, Vin Cotto and Fleur de Sel ( a dash less of the salt would have made it perfect), which added a nice favor alternating between the wine, salt and figs!
Samuel ordered a selection of sorbets and got three monstrous scoops of Mixed Berry, Kiwi and Lemon loving every bite but declared at the end the best part was the accompanying cookie!
Bomboloni fried doughnuts arrived and were tasty as well, but I was feeling full so we gladly had some Limoncello (some of the best and strongest homemade around) and headed home full.
Looking forward to CASA NONNA again real soon, especially since I never had a Nonna that cooked like this!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Restaurant Week in DC-Lyon Hall -some love and a little hate (8-20-11)

Last night we headed to Arlington (3100 Washington where the owners of Liberty Tavern have opened up a "French-style" bistro not far from their first spot. We had the choice of sitting inside or out and the outside metal chairs had no cushions and looked very uncomfortable, so we opted for inside, where a group of people watching a baseball game at the bar occasionally let out a loud cheer or a huge group sigh. The noise was not too bad, but combined with music that was a bit too loud and very un-French, I would have preferred a little less din. The decor is simple with a big long bar and a couple of TV's; large glass windows overlook the street. I have to mention the restrooms which have men's and women's entrances side by side. Upon entering and leaving the wash basins are two long troughs in each facing each other with the wall between removed. If you are not careful, you might think this a mirror and get quite a scare when you come face to face with a stranger. The rest of the bathrooms are private, it's just an odd and novel setup.

Alexis our server was friendly and helpful and said almost everything was being offered for the $35.11 three course deal. The menu is varied and it was hard to choose. We both opted for the STEAK TARTARE starter which is a large portion with lots of large capers, a little onion, a beautiful just past raw egg laid on top and a superb side of potato-chip waffle gaufrettes. Little dabs of mustard were around the plate, making this one of the tastiest I have had in some time. We had a bottle of nice Domaine LOCUS AMENO "Reserve du Soleil" 2010 Rose (Syrah/Grenache/Cinsualt) that was dry and tart and worked with most food as well (they serve it by the glass too). The wine list is nice, but the beer list will blow you away!
The soft Black German Grain bread has coffee in it and has a great taste as does the Sourdough. All the breads, pastries, sausages, charcuterie and even some cheeses are made in house. Alexis told us the staff works 24 hours. Impressive.
Will's main course was a dud as the CRAB & LOBSTER BURGER had little seafood taste and was topped with a harissa aioli that was not on the menu. He had to smother some plain mayo on to lower the heat. He used the ketchup on the fries, which were abundant and tasty, but not fabulous.
My PORK SCHNITZEL was two huge flat pieces breaded to perfection and laid over a wonderful Lingonberry Sauce with a Lemon-Mustard Potato Salad. Some frisee with ham slices were piled on top for decoration and flavor and this dish was quite a delight.
For dessert Will had the CREME BRULEE which comes out of a ramekin on a cookie (too much) but with a side of FRIED FRUIT BEIGNETS that are divine as well as Blackberry Compote with huge blackberries.
My choice of cream was wide and all house made with fresh blueberries/strawberries and those huge blackberries all around. The APRICOT-EARL GREY was my favorite with the RED PEACH SORBET a close tie. The HONEY PRALINE was nice as well.
We enjoyed our meal and said we will come back for sausages, cocotte and more, but avoid that burger please!

ALEX & IKA redux does it right in Cooperatown, NY (8-15-11)

As ALEX and IKA's has always been my top choice in this area, we returned again on our final evening in town with several clients. On Monday, it was much quieter, the server (from Randy) was much better and the food just seemed to have an overall better impression that we got on Saturday night (I always say that dining out on a Saturday can reek disaster). Since we had no opera that night I was able to indulge in their signature drink the SWEDISH MARTINI, a huge martini glass filled to the brim with Svedka Vodka, Aquavit, Lingonberry Saft and Lime. The lingonberry liqueur sits at the bottom and needs a little stir up, but looks so pretty as the purple swirls into the clear vodka; the drink is divine. Our guest said we must try the FINGERLING POTATO FRIES which are skin- on potatoes cooked to perfection with a rich Chipotle Aioli Dip. Two orders of these disappeared fast, though Samuel would have none of them wanting only his standard fries and burger. While I enjoyed the Star Anise Duck main course on Saturday, the ROAST DUCK ANTIPASTO SALAD was an even better choice and just as big with tasty Garlic Mushrooms, Green Lentils, Marinated Artichokes, Sweet & Spicy Peppers, Roasted Tomatoes and a Creamy Sesame Dressing (there is a choice of dressings and they all come on the side so you can regulate the amount). This dish had everything anyone could want and was indeed one of the biggest appetizers around town. We ordered a bottle of Cloud Nine 2008 Oregon Pinot Noir which did not have lots of body, so we moved on to a 2008 RIDGE Lytton Springs Zinfandel which is 74% Zin, 21% Petit Sirah and 5% Carignan and is a dreamy intense red good for the tasty steak or even the grilled wild salmon our guests enjoyed. Will went for the RACK of LAMB with Saffron Porcini Risotto, Roasted Tomatoes (these are a big item here and are fab as well), Balsamic Glaze with White Truffle Oil & Pine Nuts. I opted for a second starter and loved the BABY LAMS & CHORIZO with Sweet & Spicy Peppers, Rosemary, Thyme and Chardonnay. This simple dish offered up a pile of tin succulent Manila clams wit small pieces of chorizo for flavor in a tasty broth. No room for dessert, but this meal convinced us we need to come back next season and just avoid Saturday night!

The Blue Mingo in Cooperstown comes up cooking (8-14-11)

Tonight we headed back to the Blue Mingo Grill after many years ( located on the lake just about 4 miles north of town. The Blue Mingo has a funky feel and is a bit laid back with chalkboard menus, but the ambiance on a nice evening can't be beat. We had dodged the storms around us all day and managed to get through dinner as well...perhaps the rains will avoid us. Samuel perused the Kid's menu and went for the Bowtie pasta in marinara sauce will Daddy and Papa ordered Cooperstown Cosmos made with Absolut Peach, Pomegranate Juice, Triple Sec and Lime. YUM! We did have to wait a while for the blackboard to be brought over and it was a tough decision with so many wonderful choices. Will and I split two appetizers which were both super: ASIAN POTSTICKERS made with chicken in a lemongrass spicy soy broth were divine as were the PORK SPRING ROLLS with a sweet and sour dipping sauce and a light mustard glaze. A bottle of yummy LABOURE-ROI POUILLY FUISSE 2009 Vallon d'Or was super with my main course of Braised HADDOCK, Cilantro Pesto over Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Zucchini which was , yes, another monster size portion of fish yet superbly cooked and with yummy flavors. Will chose the PAD THAI with SHRIMP as our server recommended it and the new chef was Thai! It came as spicy as you requested and Will's was perfectly medium to hot, which was why the chardonnay may not have matched it so well. We wondered why the bread served hot and tasty was fruit bread which really does not work with these foods., especially for mopping. Some friends joined us for desserts and we experienced the KEY LIME mousse-like parfait, Cuban Pudding more like breaded chocolate pudding, a superb Vanilla Creme Brulee and I had the (you guessed)cheese platter of local cheeses including apricots, apples, sausages, coconut crumble, almonds, honeycomb, fig jam, bread (not the fruit bread) and cheese of course: Dutch Girl Summer Goat Aged Raw Goat Beekman Boy Goat-Cow and Mountview Monterey Jack all of which were quite nice but none of which were spectacular (I am so jaded even a month after returning from Europe!). We had a great time and good food and saw many friends in the restaurant adding to our pleasure as we continued our stay and saw more opera here at Glimmerglass.

ALEX & IKA is in its own place for Cooperatown, NY cuisine(8-13-11)

After having taken Samuel to Carmen at the opera and before I had another evening performance we zipped 20 minutes down the road to downtown Cooperstown where one now finds ALEX & IKA, the super Swedish couple that set up house in Cherry Valley years ago, but have now moved to Main Street (just near Doubleday Field) ( The move offered them a town center spot with much more space and a clientele that easily fills the place up. The fun drinks are expanded and now include a Lukas Monster MARGARITA of Cuervo Gold, Cointreau Lime and Orange Juice as well as the BEACH BUNNY of Passion Fruit, Pineapples, Appleton Rum with Peach & Coconut Liqueur. The wine list offers some pricey items as well as plenty of good choices in the $30-ish range. We chose a yummy 2007 COTES du RHONE from OGIER with lots of spice and a bit of pepper (althought the menu said is was 2005 Cave des Papes) which paired nicely with some of the spicy dishes. Speaking of spicy I started with the Sake Seared WILD SHRIMP with Sesame Noodle Arugula Cucumber Salad, Chopped Peanuts, Sweet Tamari and Ginger Oil. It had a punch that faded fast and the shrimp were succulent and overall the dish was nice and satisfying. The MOZZARELLA Salad might do with a rename as the menu says it is Roasted Tomatoes, Pinenuts, Capers, Balsamic Glaze and wild oregano, but fails to mention all of this is on a huge (really huge) bed of greens. The Fried Pork Dumplings needed something to dip in and a soy-like sauce arrived (perhaps it had been omitted). The main courses were all excellent with only the meat on the PERSIAN BEEF KORMA being a bit overcooked with creamy almond curry, basmati rice and baby string beans. Samuel's burger was spot on perfect and he gobbled up the fries (yes, again). The SESAME CRUSTED WILD SALMON with Sesame Noodle Arugula Cucumber Salad, Pickled Ginger, Toasted Cashews & Sweet Tamari got raves and the CHAR GRILLED RACK OF LAMB with Saffron Porcini Risotto, Artichokes, Roast Tomatoes, Balsamic Glaze, White Truffle Oil & Toasted Pine Nuts completely disappeared from our friend's plate without a trace of anything having been there. My STAR ANISE roast DUCK (I asked how strong the anise was before ordering) was superb and again a bit spicy with Thai Coconut Curry (not sweet or rich), Carrot Ginger Kimchee, Toasted Peanuts and Basmati Rice. It was a leg and thigh almost confit style and was oddly served with chopsticks...I had no clue how to eat a whole 1/4 duck with chopsticks and it was quite saucy, so I did ask for a fork and knife. Oddly after my starter, our server asked if I wanted to keep my knife and fork and I said a clean set would be nice. Will and I split the superb MAPLE CREME BRULEE with a super crunchy top and rich custard and we knew we could come back for more as we return here for dinner with more clients on Monday after the show Annie Get Your Gun!

Cooperstown's (NY) Lake Front Restaurant is super for seafood (8-12-11)

We arrived here Friday for a long weekend and well know there are only several (if that) quality dining spots around town. There are plenty of burger joints, steak and fried seafood places and fast food joints, but each time we return here we seek dining spots. I asked the guy at the Chamber of Commerce desk and we stopped by the newly renovated Lake Front Hotel (Lake Front Restaurant at 10 Fair Street in downtown) to check out their expanded and redesigned restaurant that sits at the southern end of Otesaga Lake with several tables right at the window overlooking the scenery. We made the reservation and returned a couple of hours later for dinner and were quite surprised that the specials were a big shift on the standards, although here they were not all fried, breaded or such. We ordered two tall blue glasses of BLAK & BLUE LEMONADE which was a not too alcoholic combo of Stoli Blakberri, Stoli Blueberry, Lemonade and Lime..we felt the vodka was missing! Samuel chose a wonderful appetizer of Grilled SALMON with Lemon Butter over Spinach (which he skipped) and a side order of fried. It was almost a main course side (servings are HUGE here) and worked perfectly. Will chose the Mediterranean Grilled CALAMARI Salad with capers, shallots, red peppers, garlic and fresh herbs over a (huge) bed of greens with fire roasted tomato vinaigrette. It was a tasty salad, but my Sherry Mustard Steamed MUSSELS were the winner here in a tasty broth with yummy slabs of garlic bread (which Samuel adored). The Broiled SEAFOOD PLATTER contained backed stuffed shrimp stuffed with crabmeat, broiled scallops and broiled haddock, which Will declared as superb. Every main course comes with a small salad as well as choice of potato (baked with butter and sour cream if you like, fries) or rice and a small side of tasty vegetables. It's the typical old style dining yo often find up here. My Horseradish Crusted ESCOLAR with Lemon Dijon Cream was a wonderful dish and a perfect piece of fish. We had asked our charming server Michele for a bottle of the Xplorador Sauvignon Blanc from Chile but the bar guy misunderstood her and he delivered two glasses of the BOHEMIAN HIGHWAY California Sauvignon Blanc along with the full bottle saying that the extra glasses were on the house. Who could argue with that? The California was listed on the menu as citrus and grapefruit while the Chilean as more oaky...the reality was the reverse, but they were both very nice. We were so full as they began to clear tables from one side of the room just after 9pm. It seemed a band would play at 930pm, so we made our escape without dessert but having been quite filled up on the tasty seafood.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

fun and filling food at FIORELLA Pizzeria e Caffe in National Harbor(8-6-11)

Each year we head to our dear friends' condo at National Harbor (Ft.
Washington, MD) and this year we were treated to one of the newest
dining spots in the complex,
wonderful chain in New York City that consists of Fiorello's across
from Lincoln Center, Trattoria dell'Arte across from Carnegie Hall and
the Red Eye Grill also in the same area. I have tried them all and for
the most part, the food is quite good (although the prices at RedEye
can astound). RedEye is also open now at National Harbor as well!
We started with the superb antipasto of salumi with Prosciutto di
Parma, Soppressata, Olives and Prosciutto Cotto as well as the regular
antipasto combo of eggplant grilled wonderfully, zucchini, olives,
roasted peppers and a to die for Burrata.
The pizzas followed and this is a treat as the ingredients are novel,
the crusts are paper thin and it all works perfectly:
The Specialty CALAMARI FRITTI was loaded with fresh sliced plum
tomatoes, but is a "white" pizza in that it has no tomato sauce base.
There are spicy peppers and tons of crispy fried calamari (not a tad
of grease in sight here!).
The MEATBALL pizza was as impressive with tasty meat, commodore sauce,
pecorino romano, mozzarella and lots of love.
I do not know our server's name, but she was a gem, as was the entire
staff (well, we were a party of about 15).
The FIORELLA LASAGNA needs another name as it only resembles lasagna
in construction. This home made pasta comes out like a folded crepe on
the edges filled high with homemade Fennel Sausage, Beef & Pork
Meatballs, Tomato Sauce, mozzarella and pecorino romano. Need I say
more? It was a dieter's nightmare, and we all immediately gave up our
diets for the night!
We are so looking forward to returning to FIORELLA and the great food,
pastas and pizzas!

Saturday, August 06, 2011

you might love LINCOLN (the new restaurant in DC, that is) 8-4-11

Thursday night we joined friends at LINCOLN ( which opened recently just near Thomas Circle on Vermont Ave, NW. Upon arrival we entered and could not hear a word the hostess asked us as the noise levels were beyond unreal. I yelled "Is there any place we can sit where we can hear each other without yelling?" and she motioned outside. Luckily, it was not a 100+ degree day in DC and the heat and humidity had abated and there was a nice breeze. The rattan-like chairs are extremely uncomfortable (I have no clue what inside is like) and when we sat the small plates were covered with debris that had fallen (from the trees, buildings nearby or whatever), so we asked for clean plates and one black napkin as our friend had a black dress on.
We never did figure out why there was a partially rotten green apple on the table.
We ordered a bottle of VAN DUZER Pinot Noir ROSE 2010 from Oregon which our server Ramon said was a great choice, and it was. We liked it so much, we had a second bottle.
Ramon explained the "small plate" setup at Lincoln and we decided to experiment widely and for the most part, we were quite happy with the food. We had heard that Lincoln originally did not serve bread when they opened but had caved to requests. We saw bread and dips on the menu, but asked if we could just get some bread (and we did say for free). They kept saying the black napkin was coming (including one manager) and the bread was in the oven. The napkin finally arrived after the food and the bread much later(we theatrically dubbed this episode, Waiting for the Dough"), all quite stale and definitely not having been in any oven for quite some time.
Will decided to try the dozen oysters and he did not ask what type they were. He was disappointed when they were all Blue Point, which Ramon insisted were West Coast. I know better, trying to explain the name Blue Point comes from Long Island, and gave up the argument fast when he insisted that their east coast oyster (not on the plate today) was a West Coast varietal (I forgot which).
The "appetizer" plate of DUCK SAUSAGE ROLL with seasonal mustard was fabulous and tasty, but is as big as any of the "main" plates and has five large slices that would easily fill a person with one more dish, even though Ramon said 4 plates per person is average.
The GRILLED ASPARAGUS with Poached EGG & Aritchoke Vinaigrette was so good the first time around that Will ordered a second plate which he said the egg was overcooked on.
Citrus Marinated Poached RED BEETS with Pickled Gooseberries and Horseradish Creme Fraiche is a divine veggie choice as was the superb Roasted Heirloom EGGPLANT with Goat Cheese, Rosemary & Burnt Honey.
The BAKED CANA de CABRA Goat was rich but tempered by the superb Grilled PEACHES, Olives and Shaved Bread (that was weird--we joked that we didn't really want to eat bread with a beard and was glad it had been shaved!).
An Organic KALE Salad with Hazelnuts, Fried Cranberries and parmesan lemon Vinaigrette did not sound so great, but Ramon explained there was no bitterness to the raw kale and it was a big hit on the menu, so we went for it, and it was quite good, but a bit boring. The kale reminded me of shredded parsley.
We moved on to a superb light Pinot Noir 2009 from FOREFRONT in Santa Barbara that Ramon recommended, but at one point one glass got spilled and broken on the sidewalk (it was really unclear how it happened, but we felt it was someone bussing the table that hit it) and nobody made an effort to offer a complimentary glass to replace it.
Will's Poached ARCTIC CHAR with Broccoli, Prosciutto and Golden Raisins only got an ok (so Will, who had chosen not to share with the three of us, was mostly disappointed with his meal), but the Crispy Soft Shell CRAB with Corn Salsa & Whipped Avocado-Lime Ceviche was really quite tasty but there was no "ceviche" just an avocado puree?
We were quite full and chose one dessert to share. The STRAWBERRY RHUBARD Crisp with Pistachio Streusel and Vanilla Ice Cream, it was agreed, was the best thing to hit the table all night.
I doubt we will ever have reason to return to Lincoln, especially since there is no way on earth I would eat inside in that awful high decibel din....but then you might.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

revisiting WILLOW (Arlington, VA) gets even more raves (7-30-11)

Only 8 days after our recent visit to WILLOW ( we
decided to return along with Samuel for a family dinner. This was his
first time out with the family since our big 2 Michelin meal in
London. He did not show the same interest in food and I felt he no
longer wanted to try things. So the attempt to get the Mushroom
Flatbread went sour and he ended up with the Margerita FLATBREAD,
delicious, yet simple and a huge plain chocolate brownie for dessert
(although he did not care for the crunch topping which he promptly

We wanted another bottle of the same tasty Viognier from Veritas but
were told by our server Yves that it was all sold out, so we tried the
GLEN MANOR Virginia 2009 Sauvignon Blanc which was grassy intense.
When I mentioned this to Yves, he said he does not drink white wine.
We also had to keep seeking him out to pour the wine; this was not so
Will started with the Warm SHRIMP SALAD and Crispy QUINOA Cakes,
Melange Spring Peas, Endive, Petite Greens, Feta & Lemon Dressing-a
perfect summer starter and my Sherry & Tomato STEAMED MUSSELS with
Speck Ham, Sweet garlic, Fennel Raviolini and Basil was a perfect
combo- although I must admit the mussels the week before at Food Wine
& Co were a bit better in quality-here the ingredients and extras
(raviolini & speck) made for a much more different flavor.
We were treated to a fab small bowl of chunky GAZPACHO (had the chef
read Will's recent comment about loving chunky Gazpacho--NO!) loaded
with tasty fresh chunks of cucumber! How superbly refreshing as an
We switched to a wonderful ST INNOCENT "Freedom Hill" Chardonnay 2009
from Oregon that was ideal with our main courses:
Will had the best salmon I have tasted in years-Roasted NORWEGIAN
SALMON with Butter Poached Lobster Agnolotti, English Pea Risotto,
Potato Gnocchi, Lima Beans with a Savory & Lobster Sauce. It was
My Sauteed ALASKAN HALIBUT with Warm Barley Salad, Gigante beans,
Broccoli, Sunflower Seeds, Basil & Lemon, Smoked Tomato Raita, Dill
Sauce and Two amazing fried Olives was another piece of heaven. Fish
is treated like a goddess here.
For dessert Will tried the KEY LIME TART with Moorenko Blackberry Ice
Cream and Blackberry Sauce and I reveled in the gorgeously presented
(on a large marble slab) cheese plate of LATUR, MIDNIGHT MOON GOAT,
BEEMSTER Aged GOUDA (which Sam gobbled up as well) and a tasty yet
mild DUNBARTON Wisconsin Blue.
We grabbed some cupcakes (Red Velvet) to take home at the just
beginning to be created bakery for dining guests and the next evening
I was amazed at these tasty morsels as I am not an icing person. It
was more egg white than butter cream gloppy and I gobbled the whole
thing down in seconds.
A truly wonderful time was had by the three of us, and we are so
thankful to everyone at WILLOW!