we love rick’s

Rick’s on Main.  It’s fantastic.  We LOVE it.  We’ve been three times since “moving” here, which averages out to about once a month.  It’s certainly a splurge, but it’s so worth it.  The food really is THAT good, and you cannot beat the atmosphere, especially if you sit outside (like we did) on a nice night.  We were celebrating the meeting of my weight-loss goal and me going back to school.  And we won’t have many more chances to sit outside around here, as the weather will cool off in less than a month…

We started out the evening on a mission: to take a new photo for my blog “gravatar,” which is the photo of me you see on the right.  So, I got all dolled-up (Rick’s is nice, so I would have dressed up anyway, but I pulled out all the stops thinking my image last night might be posted on the internet for the world to see) and we started by taking some shots in Andrew’s parents; yard before leaving.

This is the best photo we got, and I wasn’t even smiling!  Drat.  Better luck next time.  The lighting just wasn’t right.

We arrived at Rick’s and got a table outside.  The temperature was in the upper 70s and beautiful.  I ordered a glass of the Concannon Chardonnay, which the server said was only slightly dry, buttery with oak-y undertones.  The last time I was at Rick’s I got a glass of the Lotus Chardonnay, which is crisper and fruiter.  While I’m no wine expert, or even very knowledgeable for that matter, it was neat to taste a difference between the fruity, crisp wines I normally drink and the Concannon.  It was incredibly smooth, and, well, buttery.  It lacked the “bite” I’m used to, and I think I learned that I do prefer the crisper, fruitier wines.  Next time:  Lotus!

To start, we split the Pepper and Onion Stack.  It was a fried yellow bell pepper bottom, topped with a fried poblano pepper ring (middle), topped with a fried onion ring.  All this sat on tomatoes and fresh mozzarella drizzled with a balsamic reduction, which I ate most of.  YUM.  Inventive yet tame enough for Andrew.

We also split the Fall Creek Salad, which was Andrew’s choice.  It was full of blueberries, strawberries, mandarin oranges and dried cranberries.  My half also had feta, and this was served with three tiny wontons filled with cream cheese.

For dinner Andrew ordered the Espresso-dusted tenderloin, topped with fried shitake mushroom strips and sweet potato fries.  I love that he likes sweet potato fries.

I was in the mood for salmon (I usually am at nice restaurants) and ordered the wild Coho salmon with yellow tomato and olive “relish”, atop a creamy garlic and asparagus risotto.  INCREDIBLE.  After our appetizer and salad, I wasn’t very hungry anymore (grrr), so I took much of this home.  And the salmon fillet was GIANT.  So, I’m looking forward to that for dinner tonight!

After dinner I was thinking about ice cream (Andrew had mentioned it earlier), why I’m not sure since I was FULL TO THE BRIM.  Seriously, what is wrong with me??  Thankfully, Fowler’s is on their fall hours now, so they weren’t open, and Andrew suggested we walk to Taste for some late-night tea and coffee.  He got a latte and I enjoyed a cup of warm ginger peach tea.

The jacket above is one of my best Goodwill finds; a Gap almost-brand-new navy blue blazer.  LOVE IT.

magnificent dinner and Amazon rocks

This is what I made for dinner last night:

I roasted farmer’s market asparagus in the toaster oven (something I did at home a ton), made barley and added my own frozen herbs from last years’ garden and grilled steak on my grill pan.  I see the grill pan getting A LOT of use this summer in the kitchenette.  I drizzled my all-in-Italian balsamic syrup over the steaks.  Served them up with the last of the Fingerlakes Riesling our friends JD and Sara gave us a bit ago.  Again, not bad for a kitchenette.

A moment on photography:  I suck.  Seriously.  I do not know how to use Andrew’s camera to save my life.  The above photo was taken in the kitchenette on the “no flash” setting.

This one was taken by the window:

I don’t really like either of them.  I realize natural light is better, I just don’t think I used it properly.

Amazon to the rescue!

I found Anna Pump’s newest cookbook, Summer on a Plate, on Amazon for $9 yesterday, and because she is Ina’s (a.k.a. The Barefoot Contessa) best friend and partial inspiration, I knew this was one I had to have in my collection the moment I first saw it a month or so ago.  (Thank you Susy, for showing me it’s OK to have a gazillion cookbooks–they are both beautiful AND functional!)

ANYWAY, in order to get free shipping we all know you have to spend $25…so I called Andrew to see if there was anything he had been eyeing on Amazon.  No luck.  I put it in my cart and logged off.  And then I remembered…

…Pioneer Woman’s macaron and photography weekend at the Lodge!  No, of course I didn’t win.  I never win anything from her…might be because 60 THOUSAND other people want to win, too.  Helene, from Tartlette, just came out with a food styling and photography book, Plate to Pixel, and PW was raving about it (and was included in her weekend prize package), so I decided to take a peek on Amazon to see how much her book was.

Wouldn’t you know it was only $16???

Needless to say, both of those goodies will be arriving on my in-laws’ doorstep in just a few days.