Thursday, May 19, 2011

One never knows

When any of us go out for dinner we never know how it will turn out. That's one of the joys of the whole dinning experience. Even if you're like Marilyn and usually order the same item, that she has eaten many times before, she nor anyone knows if it will be exactly the same. For those of us who like to be challenged, and menu hop, each time is a new experience.
So it was on the last three times out.

"Oriental Wok" Hyde Park, which I write so often about, even I feel guilty, always seems to come up with something different. Maybe Guy Burgess, the chef, hides things till we arrive, but I doubt it.
Friday night we started with Egg Rolls, as our granddaughter, who spent the winter in Ghana, had brought home a sauce she said we had to taste and it was "perfect" on Egg Rolls. Well it would only be "perfect" if one had a cast iron esophagus and stomach lined with asbestos.
"Devil's Fire Paste" is my best description. I put a reasonable amount on the end of the appetizer and after one bite grabbed for my half finished Bombay. I should have had a quart of milk. We love our granddaughter but will use the sauce sparingly, if at all.
The rest of the meal was a delight. Marilyn and another women shared a whole Flounder beautifully prepared and served with crisp Chinese vegetables while I had broiled frogs legs, medium sized, and tender, on a bed of semi-sweet tomato and herb sauce. Whose to know what to expect at this unusual Chinese restaurant.

Monday, I knew going in what we were in for. We had a date with a top flight local chef and his wife and I had told Marilyn that we would let him have the lead on the evening. when one chef goes to anothers dining room for dinner you can count on the food and wine both flowing at an amazing level. Monday was at the "Palace Restaurant" in the Cincinnatian Hotel. Jose Salazar is the new chef and we started dinner at 7 and made our first move to leave at 10:30 ( made it out by 11).
We started with a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc planed to get us thru our first course. As you remember Marilyn doesn't drink, so the job feel to the 3 of us. For a first course I ordered a lime cured Fluke( their take on Ceviche). Marilyn passed as she pland a whole Dover Sole for her dinner. Before our appetizers arrived the kitchen sent 4 plates of items we had not ordered, Roast Duck Confit with apricots, Roasted Pork belly laced with mousse, a lovely arranged salad ( various grilled, roasted and raw vegetables) and two Manicotti is a light Italian spiced, stained, meat sauce. These, of course, were complements of Chef Jose.
Our starters came as ordered and were followed by a bottle of Pinot Noir( all alcohol was, of course, on the four of us) to accompany our main course. As mentioned Marilyn had Dover Sole, perfectly prepared, while I had equally well handled crispy skin Redfish served on a bed of spicy lentils with strips of white asparagus.
We debated desert, but we shouldn't have, as the pastry Chef sent four plates of her specialities which we all shared. A strip of Chocolate Mousse Cake with a clinging Butterscotch sauce and ground nuts; Strawberry-Rhubarb short cake, presented on wafer's of English short bread and accompanied by a small scoop of double vanilla ice cream; Buttermilk Creme Brulee with fresh red raspberries while the fourth plate contained a Chocolate Cherry Crepe. An after dinner drink and a stiff bill sent us on our way stuffed and full of memories.

In a posting a couple of times ago I wrote glowingly about "Pelican's Reef" and their treatment of our daughter. We returned last night to a less crowded but still nicely full side dining room. I love Soft shelled crabs and since they had them on the menu, I ignored the warning that they were served fried in a beer batter. The dish turned out to be too heavy, for my taste, and although the new item, sweet and spicy crispy cole slaw, turned out to be a pleasure as well as the twice baked potato, I was mad at myself for making a poor choice. One of the party had a piece of the recommended Barramundi, and gave me a taste, which in this instance, it would have been a much superior choice. Live and learn, even at our age. as I said "one never knows". Still love "the Reef" but will listen to their suggestions the next time.

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