I was born this month so I'm a winter baby; I like the cold weather and the fresh new beginning of the year. We have much to look forward to, and a whole lot to remember from 2008.
NH and I think NYE is over-rated; for us it's just a nice excuse to dress up and go on a date. Neither of us make it to midnight. We just enjoy each other's company, reflect on the old year and talk about the new.
We were impressed with each dish of the evening, no doubt we'll return on another occasion. (I brought my old PowerShot and took pictures without flash in the dim restaurant. Just makes me appreciate the new camera more!)
We brought our own bottle of wine to enjoy with dinner. Domenico Wines is 10 minutes from our home and we're fans of their tasting room and several of their wines. This Aglianico is a favorite, a unique Italian varietal blend.
Viognier offers a special seven course prixe-fixed menu for NYE; three of the courses we able to select from three options.
The meal began with a basket of hot rolls and some butter, which NH dug into. We were both quite hungry, but as usual I elected to pass on the bread and save myself for the meal. The amuse bouche first course was excellent, a demitasse cup of Winter Squash soup with lemongrass and ginger. We had a few warm sips of the thick puree, and left us wanting more.
For the second course, I ordered the Roasted Beet Salad, which had tiny chunks of grapefruit, goat cheese, and pecans. The greens had a delicious vinegary dressing.
NH chose the Chilled Foie Gras with Quince and Almonds; the foie was silky and smooth like cheese.
The third course was my favorite of the evening: three Diver Scallops over a bed of spinach with some Tabasco butter and a puree of Sunchokes.
The heat from the Tabasco butter was a nice compliment for the scallops, and the spinach was sweet and tender. I can't wait to try something similar next time I make scallops at home.
NH loved his third course also: a Wild Mushroom Risotto with Shaved Black Truffle and Parmesan. He gave me a small bite, it was delicious!
Following the third course, we had a nice intermezzo of Pomegranate Sorbet to cleanse the palate. A bit too sweet for my taste, but it was a nice interlude in the middle of the meal.
My fifth and main course was a nice piece of Wild Striped Bass over a bed of melted leeks.
The leeks were scrumptious, and quite buttery! I normally don't like 'buttery' dishes, but it was nice on this special occasion. The bass had a nice crisp crust, a bit more cooked than I prefer but not at all dry. I nearly finished the whole dish.
NH's fifth course was Beef Tenderloin with a swiss chard puree and red wine sabayon.
He said it was fantastic, cooked perfectly medium rare. His course selections were heavier and more filling, so he was quite stuffed after this.
Dessert was still to come! We had a few bites to sample them, but left most behind.
NH loves a cheese course, so he made that his selection. The plate had four artisan cheeses with a few grapes, some quince, and raisin walnut bread.
My dessert course was a Chocolate Granite Parfait. A white chocolate mousse lay beneath those nuggets of chocolate granite (a sort of icy chocolate). It was smooth and sweet, but I could only manage a few bites.
Finally, we received a tiny plate of confections to end the night. Each had three sweets- a chocolate truffle, some peanut brittle, and a caramel. I had a tiny bite from a truffle and a taste of the peanut brittle, while NH stole both caramels.
The remainder :-)
Here's to a magnificent 2009!