Saturday, August 11, 2007

Inspired and Inspiring

A couple of weeks ago we celebrated our anniversary (10 years if you can believe it) by indulging in dinner at Sitka and Spruce. We've been lunching there quite a bit this spring, as it's the more affordable option and frankly we spend enough on eating out to support a small army, so dinner is a bit of a splurge. I love S&S inside and out, and one of the many things I love about them is the option of a sharing plate versus an entree. When I'm at a really great restaurant I always fall into that conundrum of choice - when there are multiple dishes I know I would love and I want a taste of all of them. The S&S menu gives you the affordable option of tasting 4, 5, or even 6 plates of amazing flavor combinations. There are usually one or two items that are available only as an entree, and they are always worth while.

We dove in to a salad of chioggia beets and scallop ceviche with a mint relish, absolutely divine. We followed that with a heady plate of homemade gnocchi, which turned out to be much more like a fresh, flaky polenta cake, accompanied by fresh seared lobster mushrooms. That one had us both vying for the last bite, and for M's choice of a strong red wine that went perfectly with the meaty, buttery texture and taste of the mushrooms. My tart, white Basque selection kept me going for the next two dishes though; paprika peas with chorizo and white anchovies followed by a salad of heirloom tomatoes, fresh red onion, seared lil' babes (cherry tomatoes) and a whole sardine, pictured below.

By the end we debated the large plate of young pheasant that we saw almost every other table diving into, but decided to save some room for a deep-fried twinkie at the Redwood, which was delicious and I will never eat it again. Weeks after our S&S meal I am still scheming up my own takes on these dishes at home. Right now I am vying for a good shot of the 1/2 pound lobster mushroom gracing our kitchen table. It will probably look better sliced and sauteed in butter and chives...

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