dessert

An evening in the Mediterranean

A sweet lady recommended Sachet on Oak Lawn to me and I did not wait to try it...she has great taste, after all. As it happens, we were trying to decide where to have dinner on a Thursday night and upon her comment, I called and made a reservation, excited to try something new.

Their only available times were 6:15 and 8:00, and as Thursday is not usually a late night for us, we opted for the earlier slot. We arrived at 6:10 and sat at the bar, because we like to check out all the aspects of a restaurant--including figuring out if sitting at the bar for dinner would be a good option in the future. Many times, JB and I enjoy having dinner at the bar...it's a luxury we couldn't indulge in B.E.N. (Before Empty Nesting) The bartender also clued us in that they are happy to let you sample any of their wines and there are so many and from all over!

The bar staff was casual but very friendly. We sipped our Sachet Manhattans and though we declined, the barman offered bread to nibble on while we enjoyed our drinks. A nice touch, I thought. Another nice touch: complimentary sparkling water at the bar and your table. 

The hostess led us to our table at 6:20 and she was also very friendly. She gushed about our table location and indeed, we loved where we were seated: near the kitchen but cushioned from most of the noise of the restaurant, we could have a lovely intimate conversation. We would definitely request that table again.

Our server was cute, happy and friendly. She said "everything is good" which is not super helpful when you are a first time diner, but i'll put that down to the newness of the restaurant. The menu is quite large so we had hoped for a little direction. But we muddled our way through...

The first section, titled Meze, lists no less than 19 options at 3 for $14 and 5 for $21. Most were vegetables, some nuts and olives, with the intent to be shared by the table. We opted for 1) French Lentils served on a spicy pepper dip, 2) Farro, mushrooms, and cauliflower in a lemon sauce and 3) Grilled Carrots and pepitas in an herb sauce. Honestly, this was not my favorite part of the meal. The Lentils were the most flavorful and all the items although "room temperature" were kinda cold. I would definitely order from the Meze again but choose totally different items until we found the tastes we favored.

From the Salad section, we selected the chopped salad ($11) which was perfect, with salumi, olives, sweet piquillo peppers, cucumber and manchego cheese. On the Appetizers list, I chose the Charred Octopus ($13) and it was AMAZING! Might have been my favorite thing all night. Octopus can be chewy when over-cooked and this single, lovely tentacle was seared to perfection.

The Pasta section offered nine menu items that our server promised were small enough to perform as appetizers as well. We selected Ricotta Gnocchi ($12) with prosciutto and Short Rib Ravioli ($13) with mushrooms and crispy kale. I could have eaten either of those dishes all. night. long. Absolutely fabulous. Wait, I just said the octopus was my favorite but I think it was a three-way tie!

After all that, we finally arrived at the main course and chose just one to share. The Grilled Branzino ($26) was two perfect little filets served on a bed of Swiss Chard and accented with Marcona almonds and a lovely lemon vinaigrette. The dish was delicious and a great choice to split after the other courses.

Wait--one more. For dessert we chose Almond cake with huckleberries and Lemon Ice Cream. Yum. Yum. and Yum. 

Other thoughts:

  • The decor is gorgeous and the place settings are adorable with the flatware encased in a little burlap pouch.
  • The lighting is just right, soft but not dark with a lot of natural light from large windows on two sides. 
  • I have used the word "friendly" three times to describe the staff.
  • The atmosphere in the restaurant is energetic and the groups we saw dining at tables for 6 or more made me think of friends that are happy to be together.
  • So much attention has been paid to the details and it really shows.

I know this has been a long review, but thanks for staying to the end...Sachet is a win. You should definitely make a reservation sooner rather than later. But forget about me telling you our table number, because I don't want any competition for that perfect little spot!

 

Red wine + Chocolate

Could there be a better match made in heaven? I mean seriously. Forget about coffee with dessert—I adore dark chocolate with a glass of red wine or port. So why not combine the two? Have you tried Red Wine Hot Chocolate?!

I made a batch for Boxing Day and it was a straight-up treat. So rich and creamy and can I say it? Sexy. This is the perfect beverage to serve your sweetheart after dinner this week. And according to our Dallas forecast, Tuesday (Valentine’s Day) has 100% chance of rain so this lovely, warm drink will make your toes all cozy too.

Red Wine Hot Chocolate

Serves 4

2.5 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips

1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tablespoon packed brown sugar

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 cups whole milk

Pinch of salt

3/4 cup fruity red wine, such as Merlot, Shiraz, or Zinfandel

Whisk the chocolate, cocoa powder, sugar, and cinnamon together in a medium saucepan. Add the milk and bring to a simmer over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until hot and smooth, about 5 minutes. Stir in the salt.

Remove from the heat and add the wine. Divide among 4 small glasses or mugs, (or 2 large!) garnish with a cinnamon stick and a dusting of cocoa powder, if desired, and serve. (recipe adapted from thekitchn.com)

Speaking of romantic meals, my husband and I don’t really go out to dinner for Valentine’s Day. The crowds are crazy, service is often sub-par and the food is predictable. We like to cook dinner together on nights when all the other couples are struggling to get out on the streets . One year we made lobster risotto and some seared sea scallops with champagne-butter sauce. Another time it was Barolo braised short ribs with pimento cheese polenta. This year I’m feeling Italian—because I think it’s romantic. I want to open a nice bottle of chianti and share a big plate of spaghetti & meatballs a la Lady & the Tramp! I’ll snap a picture for y’all… Hope you too have a fun, safe and delicious week!

lady and the tramp

lady and the tramp

The real superwoman - Jeanette Weisenberger Butterfield

thxgiving 04
Last Sunday I took you down memory lane to my mother’s story and this week it’s only fair that I tell you about my lovely mother-in-law, Jeanette. She is responsible for my wonderful husband’s appearance in the world and as we celebrated his birthday this past weekend, of course she comes to mind. Incidentally, he is the middle child in a line of seven. (I am the middle of 3 — don’t middles always end up together?!)

My first impression of Jeanette was through her son’s eyes. He talked a lot about what an amazing cook his mother was/is and how she served delicious meals to their table every single night for his crowd of a family. And dessert. Every night. Baked. Homemade. Desserts are a big thing with Michiganians, I’ve decided. So I couldn’t wait to meet her and she was everything he’d described her to be: sweet, quiet, welcoming and a Fantastic cook.  Her menus became the model for what I served our young family over the years. If I were to put her dinner philosophy to paper, I believe the list below summarizes it well.

1. The table must be dressed with a freshly pressed tablecloth.

2. Grace will be said before the meal commences, always by Pop, and ending with his signature “We pray for the gifts of wisdom, love, courage and perseverance.”

3. Every meal must have a tossed green salad. With no regard for extra dishes to wash, Jeanette happily adds salad bowls or plates to every table.

4. The main course will be hearty, delicious and hot. And plentiful. When you are feeding a crowd of 9, be sure to have enough for everyone to eat and be satiated.

5. There must be at least one side dish, either a vegetable or a starch but preferably both.  See crowd comment above.

6. Milk is the beverage of choice to accompany dinner, especially during the week. Wine is a close second.

7. THERE WILL BE DESSERT. Sometimes, if everyone is too full from the delicious dinner, dessert is moved to the time slot after dishes are done. The sweet treats range from homemade Angel Food Cake topped with macerated strawberries and freshly whipped, sweetened cream to tart Rhubarb Pie (btw, I had never tasted home-whipped cream before her’s and it changed my life) Of course, there are always a few of her famous cookies on a plate and plenty of ice cream. On the weekends when we dined with them several evenings in a row, she would bake something fresh each day, even if the previous evening’s dessert had not been completely consumed. Another rule: Jeanette takes the first bite. Pop is the enforcer of this rule. Do not break it.

I think it is safe to say that Jeanette manifested love for her family with her work in the kitchen. Oh, and through her ironing…she is a master in the laundry room but I’ll save that for another blog.;)  Check out the Menu for the next few days and give your mother-in-law a big hug; since mine is arriving midweek, I will do the same! -R