March 10, 2011

Casey’s Birthday Dinner at Flea St. Cafe

A friend asked me what I made for Casey’s birthday on Sunday and besides fulfilling his breakfast request of bacon, eggs & toast, I made dinner plans! After having Cooper, we don’t have the luxury of going out to fancy dinners like we used to, so I jump at any excuse to make a dinner reservation! Parents of littles, you know what I’m talkin’ about!

We went to a cozy little restaurant called Flea St. Cafe in Menlo Park. We had such a wonderful time on our first visit last summer that I couldn’t wait to see what they would come up with on their Early Spring menu. The restaurant serves nothing but local, flavorful and sustainable foods and the ambiance is charming & quaint! It’s almost as if you’ve been invited to a friend’s home for dinner- I love that. On a rainy Sunday evening, it was the perfect place to celebrate another year for Casey.

Here’s what we had!

Upon arrival, they poured the wine that Casey brought with us- 2005 Marimar Dona Margarita Pinot Noir. We found out that they didn’t charge us corkage when the bill came! Happy Birthday to CASEY! Our server got a nice tip 😉

While we were looking over the menu, out came the bread basket! Tucked inside the napkin we found the most BUTTERY biscuits topped with sesame seeds. I could seriously eat my weight in these. Sesame seeds on top of biscuits= GENIUS.

And then suddenly they dropped off this little amuse-bouche containing a few beautiful potatoes (fingerlings?) & carrots with some oil, parsley & mint. Casey was blown away at how carroty the carrots were. He requested that I start growing carrots in our backyard. I grew a few last year but I’m not sure it was worth it! Hmmm…

For our appetizers, we indulged in a few fried things… First there was a plate of Crispy Half Moon Bay Sardines served with a smoky/spicy seaweed salt and some lemon wedges. Isn’t that fish plate cute?  The sardines were tasty! We also ordered the Cornmeal Crusted Early Spring Vegetable Fritto Misto and yes there is a chipotle aioli there! In the mix, we found carrots, cauliflower, onions, parsnips & a slice of lemon! It was topped with fried parsley. Incredible, really. I can never resist a fried appetizer, can you?

Here’s my favorite part of the meal–the beet salad served with watercress, fennel, blood oranges and pine nuts. HELLO!!!!!! My camera phone was so overwhelmed by it’s beauty that it locked up the second the plate came to the table. We had a hard time waiting for it to reboot so here’s what I was able to catch:

Thin slices of beets were sandwiched between creamy goat cheese. OMG. I am SOO gonna make this at home.

For my entree, I ordered the vegetarian plate–not my normal choice when eating out, but after our server said KALE, I was sold. Left to right we have the best roasted beets I’ve ever had, pan fried polenta triangles topped with a sun-dried tomato relish (?), some potato & goat cheese croquettes, incredible sauteed kale & some beans (that were OK). Honestly I wouldn’t have minded if that whole plate was kale!

Now we have Casey’s entree. Whenever he sees duck on a menu, he goes for it! This one was served with savoy spinach, blood oranges, wild rice with a walnut dressing. He enjoyed it!

And for dessert…we had a few scoops of rum raisin gelato. The raisins were fat and juicy and totally out of this world! I’ve never been a fan of rum raisin but this gelato converted me.

And of course…there was this caramel bread pudding that made it’s way onto my top 5 favorite bread puddings of all time. I loved that it wasn’t too eggy or soggy and the top was nice and crispy. It was served with a bourbon cream and some juicy cranberries. We demolished that plate.

I think I have to unbutton my pants just looking at these photos. We ate well and I have a lot of fun ideas to keep me busy in the kitchen. Hooray for birthday date night!

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