Friday, August 19, 2011

Livin' on The Edge

Birthdays are a big deal in our family, so we celebrate "Birthday Weeks" instead of just the one day. It's not like those "Super Sweet 16" shows where Chloe is carried into her party Cleopatra style by a bunch of greasy muscle men... we just make the week special. For instance, this week was Jeff's birthday week. He's really into surf music, so I ordered him some vintage CDs online and he received them throughout the week, a subscription to a surf magazine, season 5 of "Dexter" on blu-ray, then his big "wow" gift today (a 1964 Fender Reverb Tank). The kids don't get anything nearly as expensive as Jeff. Jeff is special because, well, he pays the cost to be the boss. When your husband works 80-hour weeks to bring home the bacon, you better darn well bet that I fry it up gourmet-style in a pan!

I also cook an array of "favorites" throughout the week for the birthday boy/girl. Yes, thanks to me, my children are probably going to grow up to be food snobs. Heck, Trevor is already well on his way. I decided to treat Jeff to a romantic dinner this evening for just the two of us.

FACT: Noting says "classy" like pulling your swagga' wagon with the taped-on mirror into the valet at The Four Seasons.

I opted for "The Edge", a well-reviewed restaurant at the swanky Four Seasons Hotel. Oh. My. Goodness. It was WELL worth the money! Since Jeff frowned upon me bringing in my fancy camera with the huge lens, you'll have to settle for cell phone pics. Yeah, I know.

The Edge had a great ambiance. Clean lines, stone walls, fire places that looked like aquariums, simple candelabras... but the best part was the music. They played Weezer, Radiohead, Nirvana... it was a great mix of music that you could hear, but it wasn't belligerently loud.

I originally wasn't going to take pictures. It was Jeff's romantic birthday dinner and it was about him and not me, so I was going to be a normal dining patron for the evening. Then Jeff gave me the "okay, go ahead and take pictures in this swanky restaurant" look, so I pounced. Sadly, he gave me this look halfway through our appetizers. Here's the Dungeness Crab Cake with a Blood Orange Fennel Salad and a Basil Sauce. Seriously, this was the best crab cake that I've ever put into my mouth.

Jeff ordered the Prosciutto with Melon Mache Salad and Shaved Manchego Cheese. The salty prosciutto mixed with the sweet greens, the fullness of the manchego cheese and balsamic vinaigrette drizzle was delightful on my taste buds. Here's his last bite.

For our entrees, we ordered the Pecan Wood Grilled Filet Mignon, Crispy Truffled Mac N Cheese, Grilled Asparagus and a Brandy Peppercorn Reduction. It was flipping fantastic! The pecan wood really complimented the flavor of the steak, and the brandy reduction rounded out the flavors quite nicely. See the white stuff? That's a mornay sauce ("mornay" is the fancy way of saying "cheese sauce"). It was fan-freaking-tastic. As for the truffled mac n cheese... it was high-end macaroni and cheese rolled into a ball, coated in bread crumbs, then flash fried into a crispy truffle. 'Nuff said.

We also ordered (notice how I say "we"? We [I] insist that we order different things so that we [I] can try more than one thing) the Orange Flamed Muscovy Duck Breast with an Orange Reduction, Roasted Squash and a Citrus Salad. The duck was cooked to perfection and the orange sauce brought out the unique duck flavor. Oh. My. Word. It was ah-mazing!

For dessert we had the Bananas Foster with a Banana Semi Freddo and a Roasted Hazelnut Sauce. There were also flecks of gold (yes, I said gold) in the caramel. We also had the Decadent Chocolate Cake with Coffee Ice Cream and a Salted Caramel Sauce. This was probably my favorite dessert. We literally fought over it. I'm not going to lie... it wasn't my proudest moment.

Then after dinner, they brought us these cute, dark chocolate cow pops. I wasn't going to have one, but dark chocolate is known to aid in digestion (we lie best when we lie to ourselves).

After all was said and done, we were stuffed! We walked out of the restaurant and headed for the valet. I told the attendant, "Be careful with her, she's a 'beaut." I would have paid to see the look on his face when he walked up to the lot and realized that he would be driving a mini van. Man, I'm the funniest person I know...

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Hello. My name is Chérie and I take pictures of food. (Hello, Chérie.)

Before you start judging me, realize that we all have our "weird" habits. You know, that thing that people say while mentioning you to another person. "You know John Doe... he's the guy who wears extremely short shorts and runs everywhere."  One man's food pictures is another man's Star Wars collection. Hey, at least I own it--embrace it even. I'm that girl who whips out her professional grade camera in a fancy restaurant and starts to snap pictures while the other patrons look at me with equal parts of intrigue and judgement.

Many people have told me that I should write a food blog. (Yes, people other than my mom and husband... and for the record, I guarantee my mom won't be reading this.) In this blog, I will write about my many Colorado adventures... be it cooking, eating in dive restaurants, exploring my great state, attending concerts, etc. I've put a lot of thought into this blog before it came to be. I've come up with a "code", if you will, of things I will keep in mind while writing said blog.

1. I promise to post pictures. I recently purchased a fancy camera to take pictures of food--I mean, my kids. I promise to post those pictures. I also promise that the pictures won't be as spectacular as they could be... I'm just learning how to use my camera.

2. I promise to be honest. Okay, this is probably the part of the code that is going to get me into trouble. You know liars? I'm the opposite of that. I am brutally honest, and people have told me that I should strongly consider taking up lying... or at the very least, I should consider "bending" the truth and sugar-coating my opinions. Now what fun would that be?

3. I promise not to lead you astray with my opinions on food/places. If I say a place is awesome, you can bet your bottom dollar that it's awesome. If I post a recipe, you can bet the farm that it's spectacular (assuming you follow the recipe). Like I said, I never lie--especially when it comes to something as sacred as food!

4. I promise to post step-by-step, user friendly recipes. I realize that many people can't just read a recipe and prepare it. I will try to take pictures along the way to make things a little easier for you novice cooks out there. (Assuming people other than my husband read this blog.)

If you fancy food and entertainment, I encourage you to keep reading. I also encourage you to comment so I know that someone out there is reading. Besides, we all like validation, right?

Here's the Scrambled Eggs on Ciabatta with Hollandaise from the brunch menu at Olivéa Restaurant in East Denver. This is also the first food picture I took with my new camera.