Saturday, October 17, 2009

"how sweet this world can be"

Before I start, I just want to say "Hook 'em!" Football has never been that important in my life (hence writing a post while watching one of the most important games of the season), but I'm from Austin, dammit, and I'm so glad those boys in orange won. I hope they are all celebrating at the Texas State Fair today with some victory fried butter.

the food: Wink 5 course vegetarian dinner

the song: "Heaven" Orange Mothers

We are rounding out our anniversary week with some college football and breakfast tacos. It has been a good week, although I kind of wish we has a mandatory vacation built into our work schedules for anniversaries. We've both been busy, but we did take some time out this week for some specialness (most involving food). Tuesday night, I made a delicious dinner inspired by a couple of recipes for pastas involving butternut squash. My main inspiration was Giada De Laurentiis, with secondary hints from Vegan Dad. I followed Giada's recipe closely, adding walnuts instead of the ameretti cookies and garlic to the sauce instead of nutmeg (those are interchangeable, right?). I was clearly going for more savory than sweet. And the verdict? Yes to butternut squash lasagna with a garlicy bechumel. We enthusiastically ate leftovers all week. I will most certainly be making this again.

Friday night we shared an AMAZING anniversary meal at Wink. My wonderful husband (of 4 years- woot!) chose the place, and there is no way he could have picked something more up my alley. We started out at the wine bar, where the awesome wine goddess Darcie started telling us about the menu. After she gushed about the grass fed beef, quail breast and venison on the menu, we told her about our diet. She assured us that the chefs would not spit in our food and that the chefs could even alter the 5 course dinner for vegetarian eaters. When we expressed interest, she went over to the restaurant to give the chefs a heads up so they could be brainstorming. As we sipped something bubbly and light to whet our appetites, our one-of-a-kind meal was being planned. Score one for Wink.

We were seated around 8:30, greeted by name by the manager and presented with menus that read "Happy Anniversary, Emily and John!" The date was also printed at the top, because Wink does a daily rotating menu based on the items they get from local farms. Add another tally mark. Our waiter opened up the evening by telling us about the Slow Food movement and another lovely wine selection. At this point, I was beaming, and I hadn't even tasted the food. Wink-3. Us-Not a chance.

I'm going to go ahead and write about our courses, but please be aware that words do no justice for the taste and service we experienced.

course one: Lolla Rosa with Texas Galla apple, goat feta, and walnut-sherry vinaigrette
course two: parsley gnocchi (holla!) with long beans and carrots
course three: okra & eggplant with black pepper gravy and herb yogurt biscuit
course four: confit potato, trumpet mushrooms, zucchini, and black truffle cream corn
course five: goat cheeseplate from Pure Luke Farm

Just amazing. truffle cream corn. Did you see? We started eating a little before 9 and didn't leave the restaurant until 11:30. We agreed it was probably the best dining experience we've had. At the end of our meal, our waiter brought back our menus which had been autographed by the chefs. After that food, I felt a little star-struck.

Our Wink experience was a great way to celebrate. I feel so lucky to be with a man that appreciates food, is adventurous with food, and understands the value of a good meal. We moved to Austin in 2001, away from our folks for the first time and learned to eat and cook for ourselves...together. We've come a long way. But from dorm food and Velveeta shells and cheese to butternut squash lasagna and parsley gnocchi, it's all been pretty perfect.

Thanks to Scott & Tem, who took our wedding photos. They did an amazing job.


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