Earlier in the week, I'd caught DucCat plotting with the Cowboy himself, regarding certain birthday feasts. I knew my birthday dinner was going to be something special, but I had no idea what lay in store.
We arrived at Cowboy Syd's on a very quiet Tuesday evening. DucCat and I were both gussied up, and I toted along the pink Barbie balloon that my mother had given to me earlier in the day.
With much fanfare, we were led to our table, where a fresh bouquet of flowers sat between two over-sized, specially made menus. I can only reproduce a very tiny portion of it here, due to the extravagantly hilarious ADULT nature of almost each and every page. Suffice it to say- DucCat and I both howled through the menu.
Our favourite waiter, Tony, provided water just the way I like it
(no ice), and our first bottle of wine for the evening.
He's fuzzy in this image, since he's always in action; in this case, preparing to pour the Hendry Bloc 9 & 21 Chardonnay.
The Hendry is a wonderful little chard, full of tropical fruits in the nose and a great mouthfeel... there's enough oak to keep things interesting, and a lingering finish that makes you want to go back for more. Oh, yes, this is indeed a good start to the evening.
The above shot is the ever-ripening vat of 'Cow-nilla' that sits on the side of the cook's station. As you can see, there is a picture of our own beloved Syd with the Man In Black Himself, Mr. Johnny Cash. Just one of the many little funky artifacts floating around the restauant.
The Starting Course featured SMOOCHIE BEAR HAM, NEO-PIMENTO CHEESE AND BRIOCHE BABY SANDWICHES, WITH PICKLED OKRA, TWO TYPES OF FIGS AND DUCK SALAMI. It is safe to say that DucCat and I have a new, go-to cheese sandwich. Duck salami? I've never had it before, but I will again. It was absolutely delicious, rich and smooth just like you think it would be. Oh, and this is only the second time I've had okra- it's a new favourite, and wasn't in the least slimy, like I've heard rumour.
Next course: "BIG ASS GULF SHRIMP WITH MY COWBOY SPONGE COATIN SITTING ON FRESH GARDEN TOMATOES WITH SPICY TOMATO SYRUP".
And the shrimp, they were big, and juicy and bodacious. The syrup was like a katsup, and definately held a tingle of spice. Just a glorious little plate, and I devoured it down to the tails.
We'd finished the Hendry, and it was time to move onto something else. Henceforth, the garishly-altered bottle of Shafer 1998 Cabernet Sauvignon, a very big, very bold wine. It demanded to be eaten with bracingly raw steak, or a large, insouciant bistro burger.
Instead, we had it with the following.
Earlier that month, DucCat happened upon the Cowboy having lunch at the restaurant, his plate was brimming with deep-south fried chicken. This very same poulet was his request for the s'kat birthday dinner meal, and boy, was it ever delivered.
Syd brined a whole chicken, and slapped it around a succulent, tangy little batter that held a dollop of spice on the back-end. The staff chuckled behind the counter as Tony brought our plates out. "I hope you're hungry!" Sara laughed.
They had every right to, as the plate was heavy with FRIED CHICKEN (complete with SKIN and PIG CRACKLIN'), FRIED OKRA, and a FRESH CREAMED CORN SAUCE SITTING BY A TIMBALE OF ORGANIC GROUND YELLOW GRITZ. The chicken was delectable
. When asked why he didn't put it on his menu, Syd replied, "It's the only thing that people would order!". John T. Edge, you need to pay a visit, and put another notch upon your belt, brother.
My entree was also quite delish.
Pre-selected by my thoughtful husband and Syd, there sat before me a plate of FRESH LINE CAUGHT COHO SALMON SAUTE MEDIUM RARE WITH CRISP FRIED 'MY GARDEN' BASIL ON TOP OF BIG ASS DIVER SCALLOPS TOPPED WITH OLIVE AND HERB COMPOUND BUTTER PLUS (oh delight) A FOIS GRAS PANCAKE.
I have had fois gras once before, a fois gras'a'trois, actually, at a tapas restaurant in Duck. The first of the menagiere was steamed; DucCat actually had to spit his out into a napkin. I swallowed (ha-ha), and then took a hearty chug of water, then wine, then more water. It was terrible, and I've never thought kindly of it since.
It is safe to say that my position has been reversed, as the fois gras pancake was a wonderful little thing. There was lots of happy, typically pancakey-type dough that was studded with chunks of fois gras. It was actually quite sausage-like, caramelised at the edges, and so- succulent! I am so fond now of this fois gras pancake-thing. They just make life happy.
The rest of the plate didn't let down, either. The scallops, as promised, were big ASS fat juicy little baubles of the deep. I usually don't like salmon ('tastes too pink!'), but this was different. The taste was distinctly 'fresh fish', and with the compound butter oozing into every little flake, intimate and gratifying. I've never liked salmon so much as I did this night.
DucCat and I pushed our plates away, chugging water, and gasping for breath, but it wasn't over just yet.
LAST BUT NOT LEAST COURSE: A CHOCOLATE PUDDING CAKE WITH MAJOR CHOCOLATE ICE CREAM SITTING ON A WHITE CHOCOLATE ANGLAZE AND IS TRULY BEYOND THE TRELLIS DEATH BY CHOCOLATE STUFF
Okay, maybe that last lil' bit was my own, but there you have it.
It really was the best chocolate dessert that I've ever tasted. Chocolate crust, chocolate tart, chocolate ganache-anglais with chocolate-chocolate-studded ice cream. I thought I was full, yet couldn't stop tasting each wonderful little bite. It was rich, yet not overbearingly so. I have had the perfect chocolate desert, and this was it, SO EAT THAT MARCEL.
Oh, there was a little wine that accompanied the dessert course: a 2001 Ridge Petite Syrah Essents. It was like a light port; the sweet depth barely held its own along the intense chocolate, but that would be a big order to fill for almost any digestif. I'd still say that it went quite well, with enough raisin-y sweetness to hold hands with the incredible bitterness of the chocolate.
It was a weeknight, so this fabulous dinner had to be compressed into two hours. We walked out, achingly happy, and took a surprise walk around the block after arriving home.
Barbie stayed at the restaurant, and drank another glass of wine with the staff. That bitch.