DINNER 147: Saturday, May 27, 2006

In the morning/early afternoon, Jay & Angel and I went up to Xenia to read the script (“Gratuitous”) written by Dan, a filmmaker friend of mine. Dan likes to workshop his scripts to see what works and what could be tightened. This is the second time I have read “Gratuitous” for him, and this latest draft is working pretty well. It’s my pleasure to read for him, and Angel & Jay seemed to have a good time too.

Jay & Angel got to meet Buster when we got back to the house. Buster was having a pretty good day physically (though he’s got diarrhea from one of his meds) — he’s “commando crawling” all over the place and can flop himself out of his cuddle cup (the plastic box with the doggie bed in it where he sits when we’re around (when we’re not around, Buster stays in a playpen)).

Daveed'sWendy & I found ourselves with an unexpected free Saturday evening, so we took a couple hours to go to Daveed’s restaurant in Mt. Adams for a very nice dinner. Daveed’s opened in September of 1999. It is a small restaurant (seating about 60) with an even smaller kitchen — everyone in the galley kitchen stands shoulder-to-shoulder. There’s no room for a fat guy back there! The restaurant’s decor is funky but understated, evoking a warm comfortable feeling in the dining room. I know most of the kitchen staff (David, Megan, Matt, Ms. Brown, and Nathan) from classes and having worked with them elsewhere. Our server, Todd, took very good care of us; he was very knowledgable and personable. The menu we ate was:

Amuse: Smoked Salmon Salad with Egg Mimosa and Truffle Foam. This was a very pretty and flavorful way to begin the meal. The salmon was nicely smoked and the truffle foam lent an amazing flavor to the couple-two-three bites of this amuse.

Enticements: Foie Gras on Brioche with Pears and Red Wine Gastrique; Wild Mushroom Soup with Flan and Truffle Oil; Lobster & Crab Salad with Citrus; and a Tuna Tartar with Kimchee sent out by the kitchen. The foie gras and the mushroom soup were superior dishes. A thick slab of foie gras set atop the toasted brioche (to soak up the juices) and a scattering of pears went around. I’m not embarassed to report that we used the excellent breads in the bread service to sop up the sauce at the bottom of the dish when everything else was consumed! Wendy’s Mushroom Soup was thick, hearty, and rich. The truffle oil garnish was almost too delicious. The Tuna Tartar was good, though the flavor of the tuna was overpowered by the kimchee. Still, it was a bold and not altogether-unsuccessful dish. One of the interesting components of the Tuna dish was little frozen dots of pureed avocado that contributed a cooling temperature and smooth texture.

Main dishes: Kobe Beef Tri-Tip with Warm Potato Salad; Duck Breast with wild mushrooms, Vermont white cheddar & garganelli pasta. Both of these dishes were excellent. Well-prepared with good attention to detail in the presentation. My tri-tip was nearly tender enough to cut with a fork, and cooked to a perfect just-barely-past-rare. I am not usually a fan of potato salad, but the Warm Potato Salad alongside the dish was very good. Wendy’s duck breast, in addition to being a large portion, was exceptional both in preparation and presentation. The white cheddar that topped the dish looked like it had been frozen, shaved, and sprinkled. It slowly melted during consumption of the dish. The garganelli was delicious.

Desserts: Deconstructed Banana Split; White & Dark Chocolate Mousse with fresh berries. My mousse was fairly standard but tasty. A generous dollop of both white & dark chocolate mousse was alongside some fresh berries. The Muscat that Todd served with it was perfect. Wendy’s banana split was interesting — a paper boat of fried banana, a quenelle of vanilla cream on top of a raspberry puree, a little pot of bittersweet chocolate sauce, and a small glass with lemon curd and more vanilla cream — all in seperate quadrants of the plate. Wendy had fun combining the elements in different ways to personalize the tastes.

It was a very good meal. Thanks to David and the gang in the kitchen!

On the way home, we stopped by our new Wal-Mart to get some supplies for Buster — another (smaller) playpen in which he can sleep upstairs with us, and some more pee pads to line them. We bumped into Gean, who certified us as scuba divers, and his family while we were there. It sure was nice to see Gene and meet his wife and family!

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