|Picky Girl and the Bottomless Pit: A Denver Food Blog||
Though he's normally associated with disgusting and not delicious, I would like to thank Mike Rowe over at Dirty Job's for introducing us to this great food website. A lot of conscientious foodies want to get superb culinary delights while still minimizing the ecological footprint those tasty morsels cause; hence the local food movement. Only it can be trying to fill your regular shopping list when local farmers often grow a few ingredients or raise certain livestock or maybe you don't even know where to start to find local produce and meats. That is where Farmplate.com comes in to play. It is a search engine for finding restaurants, stores and farmers that will provide you tasty local grown food. I thought I knew most of the restaurants and markets that grow locally, but I was amazed at how many more businesses Farmplate located. It is still in the Beta version and I do have some gripes. A lot of the business contact information is incomplete, an address and no phone or vice versa. Ideally, it would hyperlink to all businesses websites and have complete contact info, but I think they want users to fill in all the info. Still a few extra clicks is worth consolidated listings to find local, sustainable food.
Last night after being expelled from our kitchen in order to keep it pristine for a showing, we walked the grueling 50 yards to Potager to check out their summer menu. If you have never been to Potager you should know that the restaurant is built around the concept of seasonally available, fresh, locally grown ingredients. Despite the proximity to our house we have not frequented this place as often as we could have or should have. We're glad we bucked that trend and experience a great dinner. The food was yummy, the servers friendly and informative and the giant window front of the restaurant added nice ambiance on a hot summer night.
We decided to split the appetizer and let the Picky girl risk stab wounds getting her share. We decided on the risotto fritters which was an excellent concept and the flavor profile was spot on. The texture of the fritter kept this dish from being as perfect as it could be. The fritter was to tough and upset the balance. It the fritter had been lighter or fluffier this would have been phenomenal instead of just good. The mint pea sauce was a bright, fresh counterpoint to the fried fritter. The Pit enjoyed it so much he scraped up all the sauce long after the fritters had disappeared.
Then we split the strawberry rhubarb tart with duck confit salad. What can we say about this dish? Other than there was a violent table fight to claim each tasty morsel! The tart was flaky and just the right amount of sweet. The crispy rich duck was balanced by the tartness of the rhubarb all of which highlighted the sweetness of the strawberry. The strawberries were like little red jewels of oh my god yummy! (This is when produce selection really makes the difference.) This dish was epic and we would return to simply smother our taste buds in the amazing ducky-fruity-pastry perfection.
The Pit View
I had the strip steak, which was shockingly tender for a normally tough cut of meat. The steak was well, seasoned, cooked perfectly and tasted like the cow died in my mouth. The slice of bruschetta, that served as a bed for the meat, could have been better presented as croutons because it was difficult to cut. They could have been a little more restrained with the salsa verde topping, it tasted very good, but there so much it was overwhelming to the meat. Let the meat speak for itself! Moo! The only downside to a restaurant with a constantly changing menu is that you can only get the things you love (see duck tart above) for a limited time.
The Picky View
I was initially terrified when I saw the menu. The concept of highlighting seasonally fresh produce in every dish provides a wonderful continuity to a meal, it also frustrates a picky eater. Asparagus, peas and mint had me frightened, but I strapped on my big boy pants and decided to put these things in my mouth anyway. I was really glad I didn't punk out and ask for substitutions, the duck and I experienced such a wonderful moment that I thought my husband may be in trouble... For my main course I had the hand cut noodles with peek toe crab. (yeah I didn't know what that was either, supposedly a sweeter crab from the northeast according to our waiter.) The noodles were delicious, the mint was gracefully restrained (mint is a dangerous weapon in the wrong kitchen) and the crab was surprisingly fresh. The peas were my favorite part of the dish, another moment where the seasonal produce shined. Cooking vegetables to perfection is a great way into a picky girl's heart! Overall I liked my entree, but it unfortunately suffered from not being the duck tart. God I really want another duck tart...