Sunday, October 29, 2006

There is no good title for this post that doesn't include a bad gardening pun.

Thursday night I met a friend for dinner at Tilth, the new all-organic restaurant that went in where Mandalay Cafe used to be. We were super sad when Mandalay closed--it was one of Larry's favorite neighborhood restaurants--but we've been excited to check out Tilth, since it's one of only two certified organic restaurants in the country, and the chef (Maria Hines) is highly acclaimed. (I felt a little bad about going without Larry, but we'll go again soon--they have a great looking brunch in addition to dinner service.)

It's cliched but true nonetheless--the food at Tilth was amazing. Every dish was so well thought out, and presented beautifully. There was nothing on the plate that didn't need to be there--no extra garnishes that just get thrown in the trash, and even more importantly no superfluous ingredients. We both commented on how nice it was to eat food that wasn't over the top in presentation but still felt special. Our server was friendly and knowledgeable, and the ambience was homey (fitting, since it's in a house). My only complaint was the noise level--at our small table for two, we both had to lean in and talk louder than normal to be heard, and even then at times I was straining to hear the conversation. So for a romantic dinner Tilth might not be my first choice, but I'd definitely go again for brunch or dinner with a group of friends.

The food:

Local Comice Pear Salad
arugula, walnut, ewe’s blue cheese

The cheese was sooo deliciously was an excellent compliment to the bitter arugula, and the thin slices of pear and cracked walnut blended in perfectly. One of the best (and best-composed) salads I've had in a while.

Crispy Pork Belly
cranberry beans, scallion pesto, bacon vinaigrette

Really tasty, but I would order the small size next time, and share it. About 2/3 of the way through, I was horrified at the amount of fat I was consuming. But it tasted so good!

Local Mountain Huckleberry Tart
black pepper ice cream

YUM. The ice cream was different without being weird, and the tart crust was flaky beyond belief. Plus, the huckleberries were perfectly sweetened.

Mini Caramel Apples
Taffy, peanut, hot apple cider shot

Seriously, the cutest dessert I've ever eaten. Six teeny apple balls with peel on the top and speared with toothpicks shaped like blades of grass. Presented on a bed of peanuts with a little dish of caramel for dipping. We didn't want to eat it at first, it was so adorable. But we gave in to temptation pretty quickly, and it tasted as good as it looked. We both decided we might have to crib this idea for future dinner parties.

alternate titles for this post...
The Com-Post
I Dig Tilth

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