Some people are thrill seekers, always looking to challenge their limits, to venture beyond their established boundaries, to leave the comfort zone.
That’s not me.
My zodiac sign is Cancer the Crab, the lover of home, family, the familiar, and comfort. Usually it takes a Herculean effort to drag me out of my aforementioned loves, or an unforeseen challenge. For example, if you were to ask me to do or try something new, my initial reaction would be a tenacious “no” as I dug my claws into the sand and buried myself into the dunes to avoid it. However, given a moment or two to think about it, I will often peek out and change my answer to yes. It’s a Crab thing.
That’s often obvious in my food selections, both my choices in a restaurant as well as what I cook at home. Even though I always try new recipes, the ingredients are often very similar. Did you notice? However, when other people cook for you, and you have no choice about what’s served to you, aka the unforeseen challenge, and then there are surprises. Like almost the entire menu I ate on Friday night.
Joe and I attended a fund-raising wine tasting dinner for a charity organization supported by one of his clients. It was held at one of the nicer Italian restaurants in the region, and I expected all types of familiar, Italian comfort food. Yum, I was looking forward to a great dinner.
And this is what we were served instead…
The first course (photo above) was Crudo of Black Bass with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Pine Nuts, Avocado Purée. In other words, raw fish. I know, I know, everyone loves sushi/sashimi, it’s hip, trendy, and some people actually consider it delicious. Well, I like my proteins cooked, and usually warm, but I was faced with this plate and I couldn’t find a sand dune to crawl into. I ate it, and loved the olive oil, pine nuts, and the avocado. The black bass was tolerable because of those ingredients.
This second course was pasta, comforting, right? Except the meat was rabbit. Cute little bunnies were killed to prepare this plate of food. I would never choose to eat cute little bunnies or even the big Bugs Bunny, but I ate it anyway because it tasted like…no, not chicken… it tasted like braised pork. Would I choose this again? Not necessarily, but it didn’t send me scurrying away from the table.
The main course was Pan-Seared Duck breast with Wild Mushrooms, Parsnip Puree and Red Wine Demi-Glaze. All wonderful possibilities. I’ve had duck before and enjoyed it. But only when it wasn’t so undercooked. I know, this is the way chefs in fancy kitchens cook duck these days. But this isn’t the way I like my duck. The side dishes were awesome!
At last, my patience was rewarded. We arrived at the final course, a familiar, comforting dessert, Housemade Panna Cotta with Raspberry and Strawberry Sauce with Fresh Blackberries and Raspberries.
I’ll have another, please.