Good morning diners! That was a good menu we had last night, especially (for me) to see Jay making those beloved hominy cakes!
We used to serve these tasty cakes with the Carolina crepe at KVI, and they were always the perfect go-to snack when hunger struck and there was "nothing to eat" in the restaurant kitchen.
Last night they served as the platter for a sea scallop, which in turn wore a little top-hat of yogurt cheese and a drizzle of honey lime vinaigrette. A really perfect opening course for what was to come.
Which was a plate of braised cabbage, soft polenta and pork confit. Kevin did the pork in duck fat and then crisped it up in a saute pan to order. What a plate of goodness. The creamy polenta, the crunchy parts of the pork and the tangy cabbage...pretty good.
Dessert was the infamous Swedish Apple Cake, this time made by Cherelle.
In other news, the competition last night for the attention of the diners was pretty fierce. The biggest threat was probably the SBF veal pot roast, pictured below.
Of course, when he is not lying down on the job, Kevin's main preoccupation of late is planning the New Year's Eve menu. Yesterday he made a practice dessert - a cardamom almond tart. I was sort of surprised that he was tempted by this recipe, seeing as it came directly out of a national food magazine. He generally avoids that source for inspiration, for some unknown reason, but this time his fancy was caught.
Everyone got a slice, and we all gave it two thumbs up. Might have to cut back on the sweet factor a wee bit, but overall it would be a good ending to the richness of the menu that is typical for New Year's. Plus it can be made a day or two in advance, which is a real plus when it comes to getting ready for that challenging menu. We just need to come up with a suitable garnish, maybe something involving sour cherries? We'll see; the main thing is that Kevin actually made a prototype several weeks beforehand,which is not always the case!
I have a feeling that Brooks Tavern is possibly (probably) the only restaurant in Kent County that has yet to put out a speck of seasonal decorations. I did take the pumpkins out of the dining room (and they ended up in the soup pot) but so far that's the extent of it. I don't know why it takes me so long; it could be a result of my childhood. (yeah, blame it on the Mom!) Our family never got decorated for Christmas 'til the week prior, pretty much. And of course the stores are ready for you to start spending before Hallowe'en is even over; by ThanksGiving it might as well be December 23rd, so in some ways maybe our dining room is a little respite from the pressure to "celebrate"? (Or am I just lazy?) Whatever, next week we'll slowly start to come into the season, with our usual low-key (read "easy") decorating scheme of colorful glass Christmas balls, giant pine cones and those glorious poinsettias. We might even start playing some holiday tunes.
That doesn't mean the Christmas Spirit hasn't entered our intentions. Why, just yesterday Kevin ordered some Lewes Dairy EggNog - so convenient now that we are getting shipment of Lewes Dairy Cream from Hy-Point! And of course there's the champagne I've ordered - my seasonal contribution. This year we are going with the Gosset Brut Excellence and the Louis Roederer in the half bottle. My choice for the 1.5 is the Charles Heidsieck. This last one was my best buy - I somewhere read that this House's brut reserve was especially good in the release that had the disgorgement year of 2008, meaning this was an exceptionally good blend. This House is unusual, in my experience, in that it puts that date right on the bottle.
We enjoyed some of this wine with our ThanksGiving oysters, and it did live up to it's billing, being one of the most delicious champagnes I have ever tasted. I immediately tried to get a case of the same wine in a more practical 750 size, but alas, there was no more to be had, they were into the 2009.
I'm going to put the Gosset and the Roederer on the wine list this week - I can't be the only person who wants to drink Champagne during the month of Holiday Spirit, can I? - and I will chill one of these huge Heidsieck bottles for anyone willing to part with a relatively large chunk of change. Just give me a couple days notice and the party will begin!