Monday, November 20, 2006
Dessert was cool, nice and simple. No, it was a chardonnay sorbet with a pineapple slice.
The slice was just a bit hard to cut with a spoon. Someone suggested that it could have been seared, which would have made it more tender and crunchy and warm, a great contrast to the sorbet. True, but easy to forgive. With a hot cup of decaf, it was a great closer.
Alex sat with us to bask in our praise and explain his choices. I was happy to hear that he had offered our meal to his guests all weekend and it was very popular. Some told him that they didn't even miss meat.
Not so many that he could offer a meatless meal all of the time, though. Too bad.
We slowly went our seperate ways. I couldn't even consider going out to our local concert. I had to lay down. Just as well, Scott came over to download his pictures that I have included.
Now I was located at the head of the head of the table in the most comfortable chair. That last seat, I now realized, was too close to the heater. I was ready for my nap.
To my dismay, I was presented with a deliscious dish -- porcini mushroom stuffed with chestnuts and chilis on a bed of soft braized spinich and chipotle aoli.
I begged for mercy. Some had to skip it altogether. Others wolfed it down.
Had this been the second dish, it might have been my favorite. In this position in the meal, it almost killed me.
Luckily, my table-mates distracted me with conversation about the CVS school, which needs work. I also learned about one of the first bio-metric lunch programs that protected kids from bullies. Cool.
I hated to let part of the dish be taken away, but I certainly didn't want to pass up dessert.
Now that we were relocated and rested, we were ready for the most original dish of the night, and another favorite. Organic buckwheat soba noodles were covered with sake-seared bok choy and ginger-honey carrots and topped with sweet tamari, cilantro, scallions, and cashews. It was chipotle spicey, sweet, beautiful and fantastic.
We were traeated to stories of near-death and invasive operations. Clearly time to change seats again.
After the staple appetizer of small red delisciousness, the first course was a scant cup of the finest acorn squash soup ever. It had a touch of black pepper and white truffle oil and must have been whipped to get it so light and airy. Many of us selected this as the finest creation of the day.
It was time for a glass of clean Pino Grigio that Ika chose. I nursed it through the meal. I knew that I had to pace myself through Alex's six-obsticle course.
The second course was a salad of crunchy roast fingerling potatoes, giant fava beans (barely subdued), roasted garlic and tomotoes with a gorganzola cream sauce that featured more cracked pepper and, I think, cardimum. It was a mercifully small serving of a very strong dish. This was another favorite.
Let it Grow Richie, in his first dinner with us, explained that many of the veggies featured here were being supplied by a local organic farmer, the carrots and bok choy, for sure. He also told us about his time with the Committee on Poetry, their farm, and it's sad current condition.
Scott then told the yang of us to exchange seats, and we were treated to a very simple salad of greens vinagrette. I was already stuffed, so it was a welcome respite.
After a long wet summer, it's finally time to reconvene our eating group. Scott organized our second dinner at Alex & Ika's. We all know that their restaurant has finally been sold. The good news is that the buyer is It's All Good, Cherry Valley's health food store. So, for many of us, this is a goodbye dinner. They have plans, we hear, to build a new place just out of town. Let's hope so.