Sunday, September 14, 2008

Caipirinha's and a new set of Wüsthof's

A few weeks ago, the ladies from work and I had a "Girls Night Out" at the newest wine bar in town. Filled with Fort Worth's most desperate housewives, the decor was simple and wine bottles laced the walls. Bottles of pear Cava were emptied within minutes as we scoured the menu. The menu was impressive.... as was the food. I ordered the gnocchi with fresh basil, Parmesan and matchstick summer vegetables in a vegetable jus- light and delicious.

Last Saturday, some friends and I discovered the Yucatan Taco Stand and Tequila Bar. Don't let the title fool you- although you wait in line and order at the front à laPei Wei, the food is upscale, the decor modern, the plating and dishware artful along with a full bar and drink menu complete with traditional Caipirinha- a Brazilian favorite. I immediately went straight for the banana leaf wrapped Chilean sea bass with chimichurri, fried plantains and rice. Megan opted for the vegetable plate with black beans, fried rice, crispy yuca fritters, a matchstick medley, fried plantains and a cilantro aioli.

As with most brand-new restaurants, there were a few kinks. Instead of my expected accompaniments to the sea bass, it came with chipotle mashed potatoes and a simple cabbage slaw flavored with lime juice and a bit a sugar- unexpected, but delicious. The fish was cooked perfectly, the potatoes had the perfect amount of heat and the slaw was light. Megan's was equally good and the aioli was addicting. We returned again last night to try something new. I ordered a tempura fish taco and a cabrito (lamb) taco both on a soft corn tortilla with cabbage, cilantro and a garlic sauce. Megan ordered a bowl with tequila lime chicken, rice, black beans and matchstick vegetables...the spicy food was perfect with the slushy (and strong!)margaritas. Next time I'm going for the braised short ribs.

Tomorrow is week two of culinary school. Last week was pretty nerve-racking-first day jitters all over again. Last week concentrated on knive skills. You know- chiffonade, brunoise, julienne, small dice....I never realized what a science something as elementary as dicing could be. It really does highlight the food and make it that much more beautiful. Our brand new Wüsthof's were put to good use as we went to town with carrots, parsley, onions, garlic, oranges and tomatoes. Tomorrow is equally stimulating- stocks!!!

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