This week, I'll be eating with people rather than by myself. I love being able to taste, have quiet, and take in the atmosphere at a restaurant, but I love the community that surrounds food. Making it, sharing it, eating it -- all are a regular part of my interactions with my friends. It's how Adam and I started dating, is part of how/what we barter for, and for me, a way to cement friendships.
Today, I'll be eating at Oscar's at the Museum for lunch. Dinner will be a date night (with a surprise location) for my husband. Yesterday, a friend and I went to Continental Bakery Downtown for lunch. It's only the second time I've been in there in the year and change that they've been open, but the decor is still warm and welcoming.
The Restaurant Week menu was entirely light and refreshing, perfect for a meal on the patio. The entrée and dessert were largely in the style of Alice Waters, offering Old World-style cuisine in a New World setting.
I started with the salad because I was craving veggies -- after a couple days of Restaurant Week under my belt, I'm trying to eat salads everywhere I can. The balsamic reduction on the greens was slightly tangy, with the toasted almonds adding a bit of fat to cut the vinegar's acid. Figs added a nice sweetness to add to the crunch of the greens.
The accompanying tuna-filled tomato was fresh. The tuna mixture inside was a chilled mixture of salty olives, zucchini, and fish. All of it was crispy and fresh -- two things good for a sweltering summer afternoon.
But when it comes down to it, the highlight of the meal was the dessert. Like the entrée, it was light and perfect for a summer's day. Since I was little, I've loved pie crust, sometimes as much as (or more than) what's the in the pie.
The ricotta, topped with a honey and lavender mixture, provided a richness and depth to the dish. Seared figs, which were caramelized quite nicely, added sweetness, and the blueberries gave the whole a bit of tanginess and a slight crunch to round out the dish.
So far, Restaurant Week has been an adventure into new restaurants and styles of cooking. I've visited Satterfield's and BYOB, and can't wait to see what else lies in store.
Check out the Birmingham Restaurant Week website and James Martin's blog The Sipologist for more Restaurant Week coverage.