Thursday, February 16, 2012

Dining Out

It's been seven months and Len still has not gotten around to the special dining out experience he promised me for my birthday. It will probably show up about the same time he gets around to my 20th anniversary present or the boots he promised me for my birthday 10 years ago. He is sometimes not so good on the follow-through.

I do find that if I send enough notes, he will make reservations for Valentine's Day. A couple of weeks ago, I got an e-mail from Osteria Firenza over in Toluca Lake, advertising a 5-course special menu for V-Day.  The food is excellent even on the nights that Top Chef Fabio isn't in the kitchen.

When I found out they were doing a Christmas Eve dinner, I made reservations for that. When you've got Christmas as your anniversary, it is hard to find places to eat unless you do Jewish Christmas and head out for Chinese and the movies. Believe me, we've done that more than a few times. The Christmas Eve dinner came complete with Dickensian carolers, and was a fine way to start the festivities.

Len made the reservations for Valentine's Day and the meal was a real treat. I managed to finish four courses, and the fifth with help from my spouse. We ran into friends on the way into the restaurant, and they dropped by our table when they finished eating for a pleasant, though brief, visit. 

The special dinner consisted of a First Course of Golden Yellow Beet Tartar, Shallots, Dijon, Lem, Thyme, Pepper, topped with Polenta Encrusted Goat Cheese.

Colors on the dishes are way off because there was very little light other than the candle on the table and I don't like to use a flash when I shoot food in a restaurant. It's rude to the other patrons and it looks pretty dreadful--worse than too warm available light that pushes the limits of digital software.

The Second Course was Wild Ragu with Homemade Gnocchi, a Special Blend of Game Ragu, and shaved Parmesan. I ate it before I realized I had not photographed it. Sigh. Especially because Fabio is rightly famous for his gnocchi.

The Third Course was Sole Involtini Stuffed with Snow & Fresh Crab Claw over Roasted Corn Puree & a Micro Salad.
The fish was twisted into a tower around the crab which also topped it and was topped by the mirco-greens. The corn puree was less starchy than polenta would have been.

The Fourth Course was Roasted Duck Leg Confit with Parsnip Mash and Balsamic Cherry Gastrique.
I had started eating the thigh when I realized I hadn't made a photograph. Trust me, the crispy skin was to die for.

The Dessert Duo was Velina Chocolate Sponge Cake, Hazelnut Mouse and Crunchy Florentine Brittle.

Delicious and very pretty as well. It was also incredibly rich.

I waddled out of the restaurant with the red rose given to all of the women diners. Len took his leftover short rib ravioli home to have for lunch. We were both quite happy.