Over this past Date Weekend, great biking (a correctly tuned bike! I’m so into it!) with John and a couple of lovely meals out to boot. As I mentioned below, we kicked off a long weekend together last Thursday, in the uber-romantic bar at Cafe Lurcat (twinkly chandeliers everywhere, pic from their website). No frites this trip – moderation, natch – but when I head back next Thursday, with my minxes, we’re all over the frites, oh yeah. Can’t wait!
Then Sunday night, pre-Neil Diamond (we were invited by John’s client Frank and his wife Christine, total blast, thank you), we had a fabulous dinner at Heartland – yes, the Heartland of our Bizarre Foods Minnesota adventure – in St. Paul. I love everything about Heartland, from Chef Lenny Russo to the Mission-style dining room to the genius wine list to the beautiful, fresh, locally-sourced food. I had two appetizers – the house-smoked bacon-pinto bean soup with tomato concassee and fresh summer herbs, followed by the fried zucchini blossoms with fava bean mousse filling, kohlrabi-dill slaw, and cucumber-walnut vinaigrette. I just…lurved them both, especially the squash blossoms, so crispy and salty, perfectly set off by the tangy slaw and vinaigrette. I kept saying, this is my kind of dish, oh yeah, I love this food, it’s all about the contrast, this is so me…blah, blah, blah. John was too polite to not listen, but I realize (um, in retrospect) that I was perhaps a bit monotonous. What can I say? I completely enjoyed every bite, and yes, it was my kind of dish. (No pic, damn it, forgot my camera. Needless to say, pretty, pretty.)
This week I’m mining the riches of my LaFinca veggie share – salad greens, broccoli (to be stir-fried with sugar snap peas tomorrow night), kohlrabi (great sliced thin for dipping in yummy things like olive tapenade), strawberries (which I finished, en pint, after a long bike ride last Friday, OMG good), and kale, which I’ll saute for lunch tomorrow for myself and my sis, Stacey. I’m pretty much obsessed with kale sauteed with garlic and finished with lots of salt and lemon or balsamic. Crave-worthy, even in the summer.
This Thursday night, a beefy din at Morton’s with the Mack’s and Zimmern’s, coming right up (pedal, pedal, pedal). Friday, dinner here with the Lynch’s (more pedaling or walking or something, Lord help my butt). Not sure how we’re fitting in a little post-season baseball tourney as well, but you know, somehow it all works. Nathan’s playing tennis, golf, basketball, and now baseball again for a few days, but it’s summer in Minnesota, baby, we’ll take whatever comes our way. How pretty has this weather been? Ah, these are the days to remember in the depths of winter, as rockin’ as those fried squash blossoms filled with fava puree… Just beautiful (the pic is of lovely Maud arranging flowers in Sag Harbor, summer in a pic, as it were). Splash!
Moderate it: it’s worth filling out restaurant meals with vegetables. Certainly no guarantee for low calories – restaurants use fat liberally to make veggies tasty, even the steamed, roasted, and grilled versions – but better than starch dishes (like, oh, frites, mashed potatoes, risotto, pasta, bread stuffings), which were practically invented to absorb an insane amount of oil and cream.