On this particular evening, I met Lori for our last dinner before her knee replacement surgery a few days hence. There's something to be said for relaxing and keeping your mind off the trials of the day.
Not one to be confined to the kitchen, Alana visits her dining room frequently. This evening, she greeted each guest shortly upon their arrival with a bite-size sampling of a seasonal pumpkin tart dressed with arugula. I love the personal touch of a chef mingling with her guests.
Courtney then presented a small basket of bread. It was very good, but, alas, three pieces for two diners… Is this a culinary rule? Offer an odd number of bread items for an even number of guests? Well, we got the last laugh…we asked for another basket!
My first course of the evening was the arugula salad with pomegranate seeds, feta, pecans and pecan vinaigrette. I love a salad with character and crunch. This was a sizable portion, but very light. The pomegranate seeds and pecans added the necessary crunch to complement the spicy nature of the arugula.
The next course allows me to introduce you to one of my favorite aspects of dining which is also included in the title of this blog – adventure! My culinary adventures often involve trying new restaurants, but, more importantly, trying foods I have not yet experienced. I am a firm believer that one must try anything, will undoubtedly not enjoy everything, but will unquestionably discover new flavors and textures.
This evening, I ordered the Braised Bluescreek Goat Shank with sweet potatoes, baby kale, and pancetta gravy. The adventure began with the goat which I had never tasted, sweet potatoes which my family knows I do not eat (unless they are in the form of fries or pie!), and pancetta which is not as much an adventure as it is an orgasmic gastronomic experience!
Not sure what to expect with the goat, I pulled a portion of it away from the bone with my fork to discover that it had been prepared in such a manner that rendered the knife utterly pointless. The first bite revealed that the low-fat meat was indeed quite tasty and resembled a cross between pork and lamb in its flavor.
Too often, kale is used as a cheap garnish that, in my humble opinion, adds nothing to the presentation of the dish and, in fact, degrades the appearance of the food. Prepared properly, however, as it was at Alana’s this evening; this slightly bitter cabbage accompanied by the saltiness of the pancetta gravy provided a delightful complement to the goat.
Finally, although the meal was perfectly filling, we succumbed to the allure of the dessert menu. The chocolate pecan tart was served with a healthy scoop of Jeni’s ice cream and was the ideal ending for a delicious dinner.
(Photo from Alana's website)
(Photo from Alana's website)
Thank you to Fudha for reminding me of the treasure that is Alana’s and for offering the $20 for $10 discount.
Alana’s website has not been updated for sometime, but a visit there will give you a glimpse into her background and a peek at a menu; but remember, it changes daily, so don’t expect to see those items on the menu when you visit. Instead, you will be faced with the dilemma of choosing between a small number of seasonal offerings that will be equally fascinating.