Friday, January 30, 2009


Well, I've been back from Austin and little D for a few days now. The night I got back, Sophia threw up all over her bed (which I was also in). After a couple of days of that, Fiona joined in. Barfing has now ceased at last.

I'll start with the fabulous dinner Triana treated me to at Wink (THANK YOU, Triana!). I seriously wanted to make a reservation for the next day, but we had places to be, places to see. Please look at the menu, which changes daily.

We shared two appetizers. We had the "seared bison tenderloin on lolla rosa (a red leaf lettuce) with grilled leeks and roasted bell aioli". This was a beautiful dish. The bison was very rare and very tender. It had a dark, savory crust. The flavors of each part of the dish were wonderful on their own, but oh so good together. Bison is really lean, but it has a fantastic flavor. They really did a wonderful job with it. We also shared the "seared dayboat scallops with herb gnocchi, romanesco, Siberian kale, and brown butter balsamic". First of all, wow. I love browned butter, it's like a magic ingredient to me. It's so simple and it adds such an amazing flavor. It was a great match with the thick, reduced, sweet balsamic vinegar. The scallops were big, perfectly seared, and lushly meaty. I really thought I'd be swooning over the gnocchi, because I have a weakness for gnocchi, but the show was stolen by the sauce. The gnocchi were delightful, as was the kale, but I was just too distracted by sauce. It's the simple things, I tell you.

It was so hard to only pick two appetizers and two entrees. We could not decide between duck leg confit or rabbit, but the rabbit won out thanks to our very helpful and very pleasant waiter. I mean, if the question involves duck confit, the answer is (almost) always yes, but this rabbit sounded too good to pass up. The name of the dish was "rabbit loin and rabbit ravioli with Wink sausage ragu". These ravioli were wonderful little packages of yummy meatiness. The loin was very white and tender. The ragu tied it all together. This ragu was complex, savory, and the kind of thing you would lick off a plate, even in dignified company. There was some garlic-y kale with it, which always pleases me. One can probably tell from earlier posts that I have a soft spot in my heart for wilted garlic-y kale.

The next entree was "prime NY strip with Parisienne potatoes, rapini, braised trumpet mushrooms, and green garlic". The steak was very tender and had a very peppery crust. The mushrooms were savory and delicious. I didn't write much else about this dish, but it was a nicely done steak and potatoes dish.

I didn't get a wine list, but here's a picture:

The notes I got from this were leather, cherry, and berries. Very nice wine and went well with everything except the scallops. Definitely not a match with the scallops, but what can you do when you only want one bottle of wine?

Now dessert! It looks like the desserts don't change as much as the dinner menu. I believe they always offer the "wink trio", which is one dessert plate we had: a sampling of "lemon meringue pot", which is a nicely tart lemon curd in a crisp meringue cup with candied lemon zest and berries, "creme brulee", which was a very traditional, very nicely done creme brulee, and "El Rey chocolate cake", which is a warm flourless chocolate cake made with 'El Rey' chocolate and zinfandel infused cherries. I'm not usually a fan of chocolate after a big dinner--I usually prefer something light and fruity or a cheese plate--but these portions were just right. Just tastes of three very well done desserts.

We also ordered the "foie gras brulee", which is a foie gras custard with Riesling poached Bosc pear and spiced pecans. Foie gras is so buttery and creamy... and in a custard with a caramelized sugar crust? Fabulous. The pears were maybe a smidge too firm and crunchy, but the taste was a great match. Arugula sprouts were sprinkled over the dish and were a nice spicy foil over all. I tried a 2003 Chateau D'Armajan "Des Ormes" Sauternes glass with this, which had honey, jasmine, apricot, and honeydew melon notes. It really brought out the flavors of the pecans and the spiciness of the sprouts.

I must have been a very enthusiastic and inquisitive diner, as our waiter brought me a copy of the menu signed by the kitchen staff! I have fallen in love with Wink and I can't wait to eat there again.

Wink also has a 5 course and a 7 course tasting menu, which you may pair with wine if you choose. I think next time I will choose this instead when I take Triana there! The dessert menu does also offer a French cheeseplate, which looked extremely temping. But how can one not try the foie gras brulee?

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Quick Update

Fiona starts talking about the candy canes long before Christmas.

Sophia loves to play on the heat vents or play in front of the fire. She seeks out warmth.

Sophia and I have fun with the webcam. Here she is practicing her wink.

Getting Christmas cards out was difficult this year due to squirrely subjects.

So our debit card number was lifted and someone has been eating at McDonald's and Dunkin Doughnuts on us. Oh, and filling up at Gulf Oil. The card has since been canceled, and unless I am very much mistaken, we will not be responsible for $300 in flat burgers, stale doughnuts, and gas. Still, it's an icky feeling.

Sophia is now going to school five days a week. She is taking to this with relish. She's come a long way from being so sad at drop off, tearfully waiting at the window.

Christmas was wonderful and the girls got fabulous loot and fun was had.

We survived the vacation and it actually went by rather quickly.

10 days until I see friends and family in Texas, but who's counting? If ya'll are getting too warm down there? Don't worry, I'll be sure to bring in some sort of cold northern front.

Oh, and if you haven't been to Ellen Aim's blog today, be sure to check out today's post.