Saturday, January 2, 2010

Food Experience since October

Ok, I mentioned that we’ve eaten a lot of food since my post in October. I figured I’d get you all up to speed on those. After all, one of my favorite things to do is eat (and drink). Here we go – in the shortened version:

Anniversary Dinner (October): We went to Sea Change, a seafood restaurant in the Cities that focus on sustainable seafood. It is run by Tim McKee, who won the James Beard Award this year for Best Chef in the Midwest. It is one of several that he runs – all of which are very good. But before we ate there, we got into town a bit early for our reservation. So, we headed over to Spoonriver, which is across the street for drinks and an appetizer. We had their charcuterie plate as the appetizer. It was pretty good – very nice cured meats and artisan cheeses. What really stood out, though, were the pickled vegetables. Based on that, we vowed that we would come back sometime soon for dinner.

At Sea Change, we had another appetizer of raw scallops. While it was very nice and well executed, I felt underwhelmed. I think I expected more sweetness and thought that the other flavors perhaps outdid the scallop itself. The entrees were again, very nice, well executed, but didn’t “Wow” either of us.

Dinner before the Playing for Change Concert (November): I will do another post on the Playing for Change concert. But beforehand, we ate at Ristorante Luci in St. Paul. The place is known for its homemade Italian food (housemade pasta) and using local ingredients. I had a lamb shank that was braised in a light tomato sauce. The lamb actually did have a lamb-y flavor (I’ve had way too many that didn’t – very disappointing when that happens). The tomato sauce really got infused with the lamb flavor and was very tasty. Unfortunately, there was no pasta or crusty bread served with the dish. There was so much sauce, I was really looking forward to sopping it up with bread or eating it up with pasta.

Salut Bar American Edina (November): We ate here before my choir’s Audience Appreciation concert (I’ll do another post on my choir). We were on a tight schedule, and our server did a great job of getting us our food and check in time. I had butternut squash ravioli in a brown butter sauce. It was very nice. The pasta still had a bit of tooth to it (not too much, though) and the squash filling was smooth and sweet. The sauce had a bit of lemon in it, which helped to cut through the sweet and creaminess. The Hubby had a steak which was perfectly done and nicely seasoned. It was very tender. Overall, it was very good for the price.

Simple, Good and Tasty Event (December): We attended an event for Simple, Good and Tasty (a local food website) that was at The Craftsman in Minneapolis. If you haven’t eaten at the Craftsman – GO! Mike Philips, the chef and owner, does his own charcuterie and own pickling. We had some wonderful appetizers including several cured meats, braun, cheese, pates – so very tasty. They had a wonderful drink called the Stormy Night which used their own mulled wine. It was HEAVEN!

Smalley’s Caribbean BBQ and Pirate Bar (December): Yes, it is quite the name. This is also a Tim McKee venture that specializes in Caribbean-style BBQ. We ate there with my folks and Hubby’s uncle and aunt. The meat was very tender and full of flavor. The sauces are very much the Caribbean-style – less sweetness and a bit thinner with a lot of bite. The side dishes were tasty as well. Our server was fantastic, explaining things to us, asking questions, and offering up suggestions when asked.

Spoonriver (December): I told you that we vowed to go back! We ate here before attending the Guthrie production of A Christmas Carol. We had a mushroom and pistachio pate for an appetizer that came with a cranberry chutney that was quite nice. I had grass-fed roast beef with fingerling potatoes and roasted parsnips and carrots. It was very tasty, tender, and full of flavor. Hubby had a lamb stew (more of lamb with spices, broth, and yogurt) over cous-cous. It wasn’t what one would expect, though we were sort of warned by the server when he ordered it that it wasn’t the type of lamb stew people expect. It was very nice, though. My one complaint was that their mixed drinks tended to be very “summery” – a lot of citrus, cucumber, etc. There were really no “wintery” mixed drinks (see the Stormy Night from above).

We did eat at other places, but these were the big ones. It appears that I have a couple of addition blog posting to work on. So, that is “what we ate since October”.

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