Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day

My wife and I took my mom out for a great lunch at Satterfield's. She was excited the moment I mentioned it, because she'd always wanted to go there, but never quite got around to it. A bit of backstory, but my mom's work requires that she has to attend a certain amount of continuing education courses. These are usually funded by people with a lot more money than I have, and usually at fairly nice establishments in Birmingham. Ocean's, Daniel George, Highland's Bar & Grill, Bottega Favorita, the former Copper Grill, to name a few. To put it succinctly, she gets to eat out at really nice places on the boss's dime, which is something I've envied her for years for doing.

I had a lot of fun treating her today. She had a smoked salmon filet on an english pea cake that was almost like a sweet falafel. She loved that. It came with soft boiled quail eggs which she wasn't a fan of, and set aside. Her main dish was a total comfort food explosion of crawfish and andouille sausage, pan-fried peppers, and smoked gouda polenta. That definitely made her day. She's not into wine pairing and has a pretty set comfort zone on drinks (which is fine!) so she had a really good Riesling that was just barely off-dry.

My wife had a lot of asparagus apparently. Both her appetizer (jumbo asparagus tips) and entree (lobster cake benedict) had these almost comically-enormous asparagus stalks that were as thick as my thumb. Of course she had her lobster too because that's what she does! She had a strawberry pomegranate mojito, which I got to steal a sip on. I've had a lot of mohito variants, and some hit where others miss, but this one was really good. Very tart, slightly astringent, and a great summer drink.

I had a starter of oysters three ways, which was easily the best part of my meal. One oyster was a gulf oyster, done classically into Oysters Rockefeller. Very rich, very creamy, very French. The next was a blue point oyster with cucumber, capers, and a citrus granite. It was ice cold and the combination of tart citrus and capers with the brisk cucumber really made it taste light on the tongue. The final was a miniature bloody mary, with a beausoleil oyster at the bottom and tomato foam on top. This was crazy stuff, and I loved it. Of course, the whole experience of swallowing liquor and raw shellfish in one go was a bizarre one. The Worcestershire sauce really held it all together. Definitely got me in the mood for more oysters! I normally don't eat them unless I'm close to the coast, but nice places make the effort to fly in fresh, so its all good. When I wasn't sucking down bloody mary, I had some Perrier Jouët Grand Brut sparkling wine, which certainly helped sort out the Oysters Rockefeller. Both dish and wine were astounding.

My main was a medium rare hanger steak with arugula, sweet potato and leek hash, and scorched tomatoes. The hash was really sweet and tasty, and my steak was great, but it didn't offer any big surprises. Never had the cut before, so I'm now tempted to cook with it. I paired it with the Napa Cab they had on offer, which was good but not great.

Mom and I split a coconut frangipane (my wife's not a sweets person usually), which was a little coconut cake with bittersweet chocolate sauce in the center. Alongside that was some sort of pecan praline with a bitter caramel sauce, and then a sphere of coconut sorbet. I loved the praline though it nearly broke my mom's tooth when she bit it. Really good dessert for a coconut fan.

It was a great day and both my wife and I enjoyed meeting mom for dinner. I owe a lot to my mom for raising me right and for helping to urge me to try new things and inspire my epicurean curiosity. It's one of the endless things she's done with grace and charm, and it's only fitting that I say thank you from the bottom of my heart as much as I can, because it's still not enough.

Mom, I love you.

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