Tuesday, November 07, 2006

autumn gardening /Sibling Rivalry

Today I dug up my rosemary and brought it in for the winter. I really hope it survives. I haven't had good luck with keeping it alive inide before. I guess Thurday ngiht I'll make a rosemary-roasted delicata squash and red onion risotto and at least give it a good send-off. I'm trying to use up the contents of my cupboard rather than buy new groveries, and I have an over-large amount of dried beans and grains of all kinds, and of coure, nothing to cook them with in the way of produce or meat. I also planted this blueberry bush that's been sitting on my porch all summer, next to the existing blueberry bush. Both the blueberry and Asian pear tree are budding already! That scares me.

Sibling Rivalry was amazing. It was fairly crowded, for a Wednesday night, but the service was prompt and very accomodating. I had my salad without cheese, mom had her squash ravioli without duck confit, and there were no sneers or anything. Wine was adequate-I did have a Russian River Chardonnay but the Gewurtztraminer was totally one dimensional. They rushed us to a booth, quickly, and gave us plenty of time to look over the menu.

The gimmick of Sibling Rivalry--and I think a gimmick works once, to get you in the door, but you need a reason after that to go back--is that it's run by two brothers and the menu is subdivided by their names. Chef David and Chef Bob each offer a take on the same ingredients (duck, arugula, tomatoes and mushrooms) and you can choose the presentation you want. I knew in advance I didn't want any of the main courses, which were all game-y and fish. Some of them sounded amazing, like the Duxbury Mussels with Spicy Thai Yellow Curry, Kaffir Lime Leaves, Sweet Potatoes, Coconut Milk, Peanuts, Ginger, Chilies and Cilantro BUT I'm not quite up to ordering seafood.
We all ended up ticking with the small plates, going with salads and apps. I got the Salad of Roasted Pear, with Gorgonzola, Crispy Leeks, Endive, Radicchio, Red Onion and Port Vinaigrette...and found the pear had not been roasted long enough and was altogether too crunchy still. It was an elegant pear half with the middle melon-balled out--plenty of pear--but please, prick them with a skewer or something. Otherwise the salas was lovely, with some nice walnuts thrown in there. I love nuts and fruit in salad. Then I had a nice homemade pasta dish: Hand-Rolled Papardelle with Artichokes, Dried Tomatoes, Toasted Garlic, Portobello Mushrooms, Buffala Mozzarella and Olive Oil. It was heavenly. Wide pasta ribbons about two inches, the vegetables were perfect--I even ate all my mushrooms! Very lovely for a cold autumn day. And the dessert menu--damn, the choices! We stuck with an autumn tasting of gingerbread, pecan "pie" and pumpkin creme brulee (which was served with miniscule cookies, very cute) and the Seven-Layer Mocha Cake Cappuccino Anglaise and Mocha Crunch. But there were so many more I wanted--next time. The Mocha Cake was all right. It came with these nice crispy-crunchy chocolate mendiants on top adn a flavorful cappucino anglaise, and the cake was very moist (I get nervous ordering cakes now for dessert). BUT the frosting wasn't flavored enough to stand up to the chocolate cake and chocolate sauce. Come on, people, don't be afraid of string coffee. The autumn tasting was somewhat disappointing. The brulee was watery, almost--maybe it was stirred and not baked? The consistency was off, I think...The pecan pie was a baklava-type creation with some inappropriate flavor in it, lemon or anise, I think. Not enjoyable. And the gingerbread was great. I'm not a big fan, btu it was with this stewed cranberry compote adn it was warm...mmh!

All in all a great night with lovely food. The pumpkin ravioli (with pancetta, but no duck confit) were good. Ann had the shrimp special and loved it. I'm definitely going back--for dessert as well as the main offerings.

Last note, this chocolate babka that was given to me by my old employers (by way of my mom) is so good!! I did not have high hopes...it looked like brioche, which I don't love, but the bread wasn't so eggy and it was great even after two days of sitting in the fridge. I've got to find out where it came from.

Time for lunch at the Porter Exchange with Francine, then writing, then a catering shift with Gourmet at the JFK library. Should be good food, at least, whenever we do get to eat it.

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