Restaurant Week 2012

Tuesday night was girls’ night – we made the plan to meet at Kybecca before realizing it was restaurant week. And somehow, only 1 of the 9 girls actually ordered off the restaurant week menu! Most of us got the panko goat cheese salad – a great spring mix with two balls of fried goat cheese. So good, but I think 1 extra goat cheese ball would send it over the top.

The best part of Kybecca, in my opinion, is the Xenomatic wine bar. You get a card, similar to a Metro trip card, and load it with any amount of money. Then, you put the card in the machine and pick a wine (they seem to have 20-30 at any time) and tasting size. It’s a great way to taste different wines and the process of it is fun. As far as the food and service, I find it somewhat inconsistent. We’ve ordered food before and gotten desserts with parchment paper still on the bottom, and lamb chops that were in three very different degrees of done-ness.

Then Wednesday, I met with L for a quiter lady date night while M was out of town. We went to Jake & Mike’s, which is one of my favoritest restaurants. I haven’t had a bad meal yet, and I’ve been there about 8 times. It’s even gotten the stamp of approval from my parents, who are foodies with high standards! Their goat cheese bruschetta is non-negotiable; you MUST order it. It comes out slightly different every time, but is always delicious. Then I had the spinach and goat cheese salad, with cranberries and walnuts; and the french dip sandwich, which is so good. It was perfect for a chilly winter night! L did the restaurant week menu, which had the same salad, a pan-grilled chicken breast with zucchini, and a grilled pound cake with dulce de leche drizzle and ice cream.

It’s a great restaurant; small, with great waiters and consistently great food. If you come to Fredbg, you MUST go to Jake & Mike’s!

Food Network – The Big Waste

This is one of the most interesting, and slightly awful, specials Food Network has ever done.

Bobby Flay, Michael Symon, Anne Burrell and Alex Guarnaschelli are participating in a challenge where they have to prepare a banquet meal using “waste”. They’re visiting produce stands, grocery stores, farms, and meat/poultry/seafood distributors to get their ingredients.

Through it all, one message is surfacing. We, as American consumers, are absurdly superficial. We reject produce because the outside layer of cabbage is wilted, a tomato’s skin cracked from too much water, or a chicken’s egg is perfectly sized and colored.

I don’t think I ever realized this was going on. I’m completely guilty. I reject blemished tomatoes and potatoes and onions and lettuce. If it’s going to be chopped, diced, minced, pureed and otherwise reconfigured…why in the world do we care?!?

Another question, which may be unanswered due to editing, is why the farms don’t donate the food to soup kitchens or sell processed versions of the produce/meat/etc. It may be a matter of no one willing to accept the “imperfect” items, or the quantity being too overwhelming to process. Really, though, if I were a restaurant or processed food maker (like a pie baker, jam maker, or a deli selling chicken salad)…I would be on this like crazy.

One of my dreams is to own land, animals, and grow food. There’s a clear lesson here – all those leftovers WILL be donated.

There are far too many hungry people in America to throw away such good food.

Our first Restaurant Week!

We finally made it to Restaurant Week for the first time in the…10 (Mike) and 9 (me) years we’ve been in Fredericksburg!
We went to Bistro Bethem, which is a great restaurant on the main street here. We’ve been a few times before, but not for about two years. They have a mostly seasonal (there was one time they served a super heavy mac’n’cheese in the summer, but other than that) menu that changes regularly and alway offers a nice variety.
I had a glass of Malbec, which might be the first time I’ve ever ordered red wine in a restaurant! I was determined to be a grown-up and order red wine for the red meat entree.

We added a starter of Potato Gnocchi in a three cheese sauce. The dough was light and pillowy and the warm dish was perfect for a cold night. Then we did the tasting menu. I have no problem admitting I am a VERY picky eater, so of course nothing listed on the appetizer options appealed to me. So Mike got two: an oyster duet and clams in a spicy, garlicky broth. Mike preferred the clams to the oysters, which were served as one Rockefeller and a couple fried. They had a heavy hand with seasoning on the Rockefeller, and the fried oyster was mostly fried, not enough oyster.

Second course: Mike opted for the soup de jour, which was a tomato bisque with creme freche, and I chose the Caesar salad. The third option was a beet salad. The soup was good, but I found the caesar salad to have an unusual taste – possibly too much anchovy? or some sort of smoky taste?

Third course: Sadly, they didn’t have Pork Belly on the menu. Mike ordered Sea Bass instead, and I had a duet of beef – braised flank steak and a lightly charred Kobe steak. Mike liked his sea bass and accompanying potato dumpling things. He’s still cranky I declined a taste of the dumplings, but really…they would have been contaminated by the fish. duh. My beef came with sauteed shitakes and potatoes gratin, both of which were delish. The flank was very tender, but the Kobe was a bit tough. I preferred the actual flavor of the Kobe though. Char. Yum!

Afterwards, we met a great friend at F.W. Sullivan’s slightly up the road. This is apparently the new hot spot in town, in a location that’s been through many bar/restaurant experiments in the last few years. The bar was fairly crowded, and the large warehouse-like space was chilly. We had a couple drinks, then headed over to Brock’s. This was an unusual move. We don’t do Brock’s in the winter, but it’s a mainstay for warm weather, happy hour on the porch and dancing or cornhole games. It was great, though! We ordered wings and fries (diet? what’s that?) and had a few drinks and just caught up.

And I put a fry in her purse. Two fries. That’s a story for another time, though!

Hey Y’all!

It’s a new (or new-ish) year, and I’m determined to finally get the blogging going!

I’ve previously had blogs about pop culture and movie reviews, but fell off of those sites pretty quickly.

My goal for this site is to post regularly about several different topics: exploring Fredericksburg, VA and its surrounding areas, talking about our international travels, food, and pop culture; with a sprinkling of tidbits of my life…