Saturday, August 16, 2008

Good Eats

This past week (and still this coming weekend) are Restaurant Week here in D.C. That's when all of the fancy, expensive restaurants offer a 3-course menu for $35. It's still a lot of money, but it's totally worth it. This time around we went to The Oval Room, a classic and renowned D.C. restaurant just across from the White House. If you go to the website and click on "Menu" you can then choose to view the Restaurant Week menu.

Taking my usual "It's Restaurant Week, I'll try something new" approach, I started with the corn custard. It was a little bland, and not quite as smooth as you'd hope a custard to be, but overall it was a fun experience. Even better is that the smoked peaches had been reduced into a terrific sauce, and the jalapenos and thyme had been turned into delectable powders. This was some high-falutin' stuff. A very fun experience. Mrs. Phickle (I've decided against using her actual name on this blog any more, just another modicum of privacy)(though we'll see how she votes on this issue...) had poached shrimp that were just about better than anything I've ever eaten.

For the main course I tried skate for the first time, and was quite impressed with the quality of the fish. It was a little bit oily, and I'm wondering if that was the preparation or the meat itself. Either way, it was served beautifully, and was absolutely delicious. But once again, my wife ended up with the better dish. She opted for a goat cheese ravioli with roasted figs. If the shrimp were better than anything I'd ever eaten, then this ravioli was better than anything anyone I know has ever eaten. So soft, so savory, so many flavors, and yet it was so simple. Just terrific.

For dessert I ended up with the better of the two dishes. She had a chocolate ganache thing, and I had peach and sour cream cake. If I'm at a restaurant, I'll take fruit over chocolate any day for dessert. Fruit allows chefs to be creative and make something unique. Chocolate desserts all come out similarly. And the cake didn't disappoint.

If you're in or around D.C., and you've got the chance, check out The Oval Room. And if you can get there during Restaurant Week, all the better.
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Tonight I ended up eating both a 5 Guys' burger and a Ben's Chili Bowl chili half-smoke. We got free tickets to the National's game (a $126 dollar value for the two of us!), and stopped at 5 Guys before hand because we had some time to kill, and hadn't eaten dinner. When we got to the game we also ended up getting $5 each in concessions vouchers, which I put towards the chili-half smoke. Yummmmmmmm
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Finally, this past week I was inspired to make a salsa of my own. It was fantastic. You can probably find other ones like it out there, but I didn't use anyone else's recipe. I just went from what seemed like it would work, and it did. Here's the recipe, I came up with, if you're so inclined:

Mango Jalapeno Salsa:
1/2 of a Mango
2 Jalapenos
1/4 of a medium-sized red onion
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp lime juice (optional)
Cooking spray
Enough brown sugar to coat the mango
Ground red pepper/cayenne to taste

Peel the mango half, cutting a flat edge so that it can be easily and evenly grilled. Spray the mango with the cooking spray, and coat in brown sugar. Grill on medium/high heat until the mango is cooked through, and edges start to blacken, about 10 minutes. Place mango in a food processor or blender, and dice to fine pieces. Remove mango pieces. Seed and core the jalapenos. Add the jalapenos and the onion to the food processor, dice to pieces the same size or slightly bigger than the mango. Combine with the mango. Add the salt, red pepper, and lime juice. (I didn't actually use lime juice in mine, and it worked fine without it. I have a feeling it'd be better with it though. A little more acidity would be a good thing). Process until well mixed. Add more salt, pepper, or lime juice to taste. Serve with chips or chicken.

There's a ghost in me
Who wants to say "I'm sorry"
Doesn't mean I'm sorry

1 comment:

empeterson said...

Go Restaurant week!