Monday, September 06, 2010

The Reason My Hubby Took Me Out To Eat

Last week my husband emailed me an hour before quittin' time about taking me out to eat. My paycheck usually goes to the eating and dining aspects of this marriage, so I pounced on the opportunity. We decided to check out Stronghill Dining Co.

Back in the Spring we had enjoyed brunch at the place, but had never gone for dinner. And I had just read that the dinner menu had changed up to feature small plates and more sandwiches.

While the food part of the menu had scaled back in the financial department, the wine list had yet to catch up. Very few offerings under $35 with plenty hitting the $50 or higher range. We did come across a 2006 Truchard Cabernet Franc that pleased us, however.

As for food, we wanted to order all of the small plates.  Since this was definitely not an option and the wine was hearty, we both opted for the Magnus Burger - ground beef and pork topped with Manchego cheese and accompanied by a side. I had the garlic-rosemary fries and he had the white cheddar tater tots. The burger was dense and had the texture of a hamburger steak. The pork also gave off the tiniest essence of bacon (yummy!). The bun was a bit dry, though. The fries were hand cut and hinted at garlic and rosemary. And while good for fries, I expected more flavor based on the description. The tater tots began with a brief taste of cheddar which increased as the fried morsels cooled. Soft and mashed potatoey on the inside; fried and crunchy on the outside. Definitely, not your run-of-the-mill tot.

We had a good time. The bar sported all women on this evening and I admired the range of tatoos. One lady wore a black strapless top. Her neck displayed a rose and vine tatooed necklace that was divine. This art work makes me proud to live in the 3rd most tatooed city.

And the reason why? So, I would agree to make a dish at home that I had refused to make in the past: Chipped Beef on Toast.

Don't get me wrong. I love gravy and order open-faced roast beef or turkey sandwiches at various diners. But, my hubby wanted me to make the army-type SOS stuff using this:

He even bought me a jar and brought it home. So, I caved. I used a recipe from Saveur as my base. I had not made a milk/cream gravy/sauce before. And, indeed, it turned out to be exactly what my hubby expected.

We ate it. He enjoyed it. But, of course, the beef was way too processed and way too salty. I kept thinking that this sauce would be excellent with leftover roasted turkey (Thanksgiving is coming up).

While the dish was a success, somewhat; I made damn sure the wine would be kick-ass. I had dropped by Vino Market for the B.R. Cohn tasting. While browsing, I asked Dave to pick me out a really good wine. He did not disappoint.

The 2006 Copain Thompson Syrah from Santa Barbara was divine. Dark purple inkiness and berriness and very hearty. While not inexpensive, definitely a great experience. Almost great enough to make me forget that I made SOS.

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