Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Winter 2007 Belated Restaurant Week Review

With a little bit of TV thrown in for good measure. So for restaurant week, J and I made plans to have dinner with Rootbeer and Spyrogyra at Indigo Landing, one of the few waterside restaurants in the DC area and one of the few QUALITY waterside restaurants in the DC area (we're looking at you Sequoia).

Located on GW Parkway just south of National airport, Indigo Landing serves an even more upscale version of the upscale low country cuisine that Georgia Brown's serves. Things like fried chicken or fried green tomatoes.

It's funny walking into Indigo Landing because the architecture is clearly that of a failed Chart House restaurant but the decor is interesting and upscale. They were trying hard to overcome the fact that the architecture was kind of screaming for a captain's wheel and a net hanging on the ceiling. We were all looking forward to warmer weather where we could lounge on the patio with a drink because the view of the Potomac was spectacular.

I'll have to commend the excellent hostess who was perfectly gracious and laid back Rootbeer and Spyrogyra were delayed by an hour with a flat tire. We were seated with a great view of the river and DC in the background. For those of you who didn't catch Indigo Landing during restaurant week, you're still in luck. All of January is restaurant week.

I can definitely give major props for their starters, all of which were excellent. The four of us gave each other tastes of our dishes so we got a fairly comprehensive idea of the menu. The four srters were the fried green tomatoes (rootbeer), the fried chicken livers (J), the oyster sausage(me) and the salad with fried oysters (Spyrogyra). While all the starters were excellent, the oyster sausage was a revelation. It tasted LIGHT with the oyster adding a rounder flavor to the sausage overall.

The two main courses I remember were sliced pork loin (Rootbeer)and beef cheeks (me). While I appreciated the dish, I thought the meat was a little too stringy and fatty and the dish overall being too salty. However, one reason why I may be forgetting the entrees was because the mashed rutabaga that came with Rootbeer's pork loin was positively divine. For such a humble sounding vegetable came a creamy but full bodied mash of heaven. I could have eaten a pho sided bowl of that.

For dessert we had the chocolate cake (me), the rspberry fool (Rootbeer), the buttermilk pie (Spyrogyra) and the coconut cake doughnuts with caramel sauce (J). Once again, uniformly excellent. However, the true suprise and standout for me was my cake. Here's the thing, I hate heavy chocolate desserts. I like my desserts light and fruity. So Rootbeer claimed the fool (a trifle of sponge cake,whipped cream and raspberry sauce) so I had the chocolate cake. It was a wise decision because this cake was light and airy. The texture was perfect and normally overpowering chocolate flavor gave some substance to this airy confection.

This is not a cheap place to eat but we worth going to for a special occasion or going for drinks on a warm spring day.

On the tv front, I am totally loving the new season of Ace of Cakes on the Food Network. Mary Alice and the adorably stoned Geoff are as funny as ever. I keep on wanting to write all of this fanfic about them. I was sad and happy to see Mary Alice's wedding photo as she and her husband made an adorable couple but sad because the MA/Geoff pair was never going to happen. I am glad that the other folks like the bald goateed ambiguously gay cake decorator, the three hip young female cake decorators and the intern wrangler were highlighted in the credits. This season is much stronger than last season and you get a better sense of EVERYONE's role and personality. Especially the adorable Geoff who while completely stoned is amazingly detail oriented and competent. I hope he hooks up with one of the cake decorators (of either gender). One complaint I have is that there's a lot of stuff that Duff does that seems like "for the camera" stuff. Would it REALLY be Duff who would drive 13 hours to Chicago to deliver a cake? Wouldn't he actually want to stay and BAKE? Although Goeff is probably baked enough for an entire Dead concert. HEE.

Ok my other Tv thing is how crazy Top Chef is. Every time I think Top Chef has brought the crazy they seem to bring even more crazy. I almost understand Cliff wrestling a frightened Marcel to the ground (which led to his elimination). Considering that on Project Runway crazy Vincent had a major freak out about DRY CLEANING, I can see where someone wouldn't think about what would be considered good natured wrestling. Although to the much more slender and much more victimized Marcel, it's just assault plain and simple. What has made this season so unwatchable has been that Ilan and Sam's ascension to the final four has been so pre-ordained. The judging has been inconsistent to lead to this conclusion and I am fairly certain it will be a Sam and Ilan final two.


ScottE. said...

Oh hell! I had a very nice comment written up and then Blogger was all stupid about me signing in...dumped me out and deleted my comment I had typed...what did I have to say...?

Ace of Cakes...I haven't seen a new episode yet. I'd have to see pictures of the people you are talking about, I don't remember them that well from last season. I'm curious, has anyone tasted their cakes?

Barbara (Biscuit Girl) said...

We had our first anniversary dinner at Potowmac Landing (which is now Indigo Landing).

Top Chef. My prediction is Sam and Elia with Sam taking the whole enchilada. Why Sam? Well they show a preview of SRTW looking up as she says "Congratulations, You are Top Chef." And the only one of the four left that's tall is Sam.

Anonymous said...

RE: Ace of Cakes/Charm City Cakes cakes taste wonderful. At my wedding cake tasting I got to take some home to share with my family. Everyone went nuts over the texture, moistness and incredible flavors.

It was difficult to decide which to have for our cake, so we had three tiers each different flavors. Our cake was decorated so gorgeous - more traditional than what's on TV, but absolutely intricate, but at the same time, stunningly elegant. It took my breath away; it must have taken them many, many hours to decorate it.

RE: your comments, Geof is not stoned - he's exactly the way he is on TV - pretty quiet actually and focused. I met Geof's girlfriend that afternoon, so that answers that ?... Geof's probably laughing that there's so much mystery around him, but he's just the coolest guy imaginable.

RE: Duff delivering cakes; I saw an interview where he says his personal biggest joy is seeing the reaction of the recipient/customers faces when they first see the cake. As a wannabe (great)cook myself, I always kind of hold my breath and watch when my guests take their first bites and (hopefully) express their delight. It's what makes all that work worthwhile I think.

That Wrigley cake was incredible and I'm sure, although they must have paid Duff a ton to deliver it in person, he must have gotten a lot of satisfaction from the happy reception he obviously got. As far as the camera, I'm sure they do try to make it interesting for the show, but I also imagine CCCs is as much a well-oiled machine as it is a creative playround.

RE: their hours, Duff told me he works never less than 12 hours/day but usually more. I believe it - he lives upstairs!

Not that anyone's asked, but my opinion is that Duff and his talented gang are probably the happiest, luckiest people on the planet. I'd give up my desk job in DC in a heartbeat to work there. They are all (to quote Duff's favorite word) "awesome"!

I'm one happy bride!

DC Food Blog said...

Thanks for the inside info on Charm City Cakes. Sounds like an incredibly cool group of folks. In the future, just know that I am commenting on the "TVness" of a reality show and not necessarily the actual people. I sort of assume that Duff Goldman, being a guy who owns his own business, works his ass off and is incredibly dedicated. But the way he's portrayed on Ace of Cakes gives a whole DUUUUUDE!!! slacker vibe that you wouldn't know that the need to drive to Chicago was based on a real PROFESSIONAL desire to see the end product as opposed ot a slacker road trip.

Barbara (Biscuit Girl) said...

Well call me 100% wrong with my top chef picks. Looks like Sam and Elia are out. Never would I have thought that Marcel would be in the final two.

loveless101 said...

i love how you bring up the idea of geof hooking up with one of the other cast members, specifically of either gender. geof/duff pairing...think about it, someone HAS to write at least one story about them!