friday--two great meals in one day!
Friday, March 06, 2015
good morning. yesterday was a foodie delight in every way. first off was lunch. I had to go to Debbie's house to sign papers that closed out my mom's estate (a huge milestone in itself). she had suggested we go to lunch after, and further suggested we drive into laporte and go to spire.
spire is the restaurant operated by chef brad, who teaches the cooking classes rob and I go to. its someplace I have been wanting to visit for a long time, and so has deb. its a farm to table place with 90 percent or better locally sourced food. we were SO. IMPRESSED.
the restaurant is on a golf course, the décor is so pretty--contemporary and sleek with a definite naturalistic look. a modern fireplace greets you when you walk in, and the walls are sage and eggplant colors. the chimney carries a phenomenal sculpture of two abstract flying herons made completely of bark and driftwood. each one is about 5 ft. across and they soar towards the high vaulted ceiling. on the table was a pot of fresh growing mint (a bit ragged after the winter, but still a fresh, growing scented plant. on the table beside us was tarragon in a pot. a pepper mill and a block of Himalayan salt with a micro plane were in a small wooden box on the table. the area culinary magazine was on display and free for the taking--our waitress pointed out an article by chef brad and another local bakery. we sat at high tables that looked past the bar and out the windows across the rolling vista of the golf course--silent and white with stark blue shadows in the snowdrifts. the sun was out and the sky was that clear icy blue you see in winter. its one of those places where every detail reflects the identity of the place--from the broken tile tabletops on the big tables to the bamboo textured table we were sitting at, to the classic, modern tableware. but the atmosphere was very casual--the waitress wore a black shirt and jeans under a long black apron. she was very nice--attentive and knowledgable. they weren't very busy--about 4 other parties shared the dining room with us, so she was free to chat and visit and tell us a lot about the place.
the menu is interesting--and diverse, even being a farm to table menu in the dead of Indiana winter. soup du jour was cannalini and chorizo, or a very heart healthy (local hospital approved) carrot ginger soup--which is what deb and I both chose. it was so lovely--earthy and simple. served in a plain white bowl garnished with some fresh herbs.
for our entrée, I chose the white fish. it was a small sandwich--almost like a big slider. the fish was baked and surrounded with some kind of aioli that tasted of mustard. it was garnished with Brussels sprouts slaw and some other odds and ends and served on a beautiful little brioche type bun. Debbie had the bison double pattie with caramelized onions and some kind of local cheese on it. then it was time for dessert. and wow. I chose orange pound cake with citrus reduction and lemon prosecco sorbet, and deb chose the fig tart with red wine caramel on the waitresses recommendation.
I am really a big fan of plate presentation. it tells me that the person making our food cares about what they are doing. and if its any indication, there is a serious love affair with food going on in that kitchen. Debbie's tart was a long slender slice that came on a rectangular plate. the red wine reduction was swirled all across it and the plate in a beautiful design, and the top of the tart was studded with purple and green basil. mine came in a large white bowl--two warm triangles of cake laying atop a glistening puddle of lemon reduction that shone in the light like liquid sunshine. a small scoop of the sorbet held up the cake slices, that were garnished with basil leaves. there was enough for each of us to have half of each dessert and I am telling you--they were amazing. the fig tart was made of mascarpone cheese with a walnut crust--and just a hint of fig flavor. smooth and gently sweet. and the pound cake was feather light and deeply citrusy--and that prosecco sorbet was just to die for. the whole effect was crisp and clean--a perfect end to a meal. it was not cheap--50 for the two of us--Debbie paid since I drove. but it was well worth the money because everything was so beautifully thought out and executed. I would much rather pay 50 for two and have a meal that is a work of art than pay 30 for a mound of French fries the size of a small dog and a sandwich. I also know brad is committed to healthy, conscious food preparation, having used his culinary training to loose 100 pounds himself. so the food is carefully thought out from that viewpoint as well. in the cooking classes brad does not shy away from fats--but he uses very high quality fats in very judicious ways. he does carefully limit sugar in his recipes.
so that was our heavenly lunch. we left, vowing to make a date soon to take rob and Gerry for dinner--knowing that they would both love the place. then we hit goodwill for a round of shopping and came away with a few treasures. I found a lovely little bowl--I think its a bowl for forcing bulbs or something. a beautiful old jade green glaze with a foot--like an oriental bowl, but distinctly more American. deb found a couple old prints with trains on them to put down in her basement---which is train themed.
when I got home rob called to say he was running VERY late--he didn't make it home until after 6, and was quite disgusted with work. we had intended to go out to our fave trattoria since yesterday was our 37th (I think) anniversary. we talked about it and decided oh, WTH, let's go. so we did and had a lovely relaxing time at our favorite place. although now I think spire is going to vie for the title!
so that was my gastronomic dream day--today its grapefruit and salads to compensate for the rich dinner we had! have a great weekend, everyone!