Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Leather and Lace

I like traditions.  Like the traditional symbols for wedding anniversaries.  So far, we've stuck to the themes; it's fun, because it gives us some parameters for choosing gifts, and lets us get creative.  The first anniversary is paper, and we bought plane tickets and went to New Orleans for a long weekend.  Second is cotton, so we bought new sheets and towels (romantic, right?).  Third is leather.  Leather?  What the heck do you get that's leather?  Chaps?  I was at a loss for a while, but then the Coppertop Guy just got a new job, for which I thought he needed a nice leather work bag.  I'm super excited for next year, when the symbol is BOOKS!  YAY!

We went out for an absolutely lovely dinner last night - got all dressed up and everything.  CTG had made reservations at Takashi, a Bucktown restaurant that specializes in French-American fare with Japanese influences.  What a great pick!  There were so many things on the menu to choose from, including homemade tofu, soft shell crab, and pork belly.  I chose the roasted wasabi crusted new york strip steak, with fricassee of brussel sprouts, turnips, and radish, and a slice of potato cake.  "Crusted" makes you think there would be something crunchy or crispy about this, but it was not at all.  The steak was tender and juicy, and the sharpness of the wasabi was mellowed by a miso-soy glaze that was over the entire thing (and that I had to stop myself from licking off the plate when I was done).  The vegetables were unbelievable, soaked in butter, sweet, juicy, delightful.  The potato cake was out of this world!  Golden and crispy on the outside, super creamy on the inside, with a kick of black pepper that nearly sent me into orbit.  I will be doing as many kitchen experiments as it takes to recreate that at home.

CTG ordered chicken in a clay pot, served with haricots verts, mushrooms, eggplant, and yuzu juice.  I think eggplant has got to be one of the most incredible vegetables out there.  Every time I have it in a restaurant, the preparation has transformed it into something almost unrecognizable!  Think how different ratatouille is from baba ghanoush.  This eggplant, roasted in the clay pot with the yuzu juice, was so soft that I could barely get it from his plate to my mouth without it dissolving through my fork.  Then in my mouth, it melted with a burst of sweetness, almost like a cooked banana.  Incredible.

I was not blown away by my dessert.  Valhrona chocolate macadamia nut cake.  Sounds amazing, right?  Well, truth be told, I had been thinking for a few days (ever since I read about it in that book) about Molly's Winning Hearts and Minds cake.  Here are the ingredients: 7 oz. dark chocolate, 7 oz. butter, 1 1/3 cup granulated sugar, 5 eggs, 1 tablespoon flour.  That is the cake I had in mind when I ordered this cake, and what came out was one of those fancy-schmancy big white plates with three artfully arranged teeny tiny squares of dense chocolate... I hesitate to call it cake, because it was almost like a piece of candy.  Like fudge.  But not as melty.  It tasted pretty good, but I've gotta make that 5-ingredient chocolate cake as soon as possible.

Lovers forever, face to face
My city or mountains
Stay with me stay
I need you to love me
I need you today
Give to me your leather
Take from me my lace
(Stevie Nicks)

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like an amazing anniversary dinner!
    What a beautiful couple! :)