On Saturday, I woke up to the best Valentine's Day card ever, made by Jackson and Olivia.
This year? Hmm. Is it me, or does that sound vaguely ominous?
I'd picked up some Chocolove treats for them. Valentine's day is all about chocolate.
That evening, my parents babysat so Tony and I could go out to dinner. We were super excited because we had a reservation at Counter Culture's special 5-course Valentine's dinner!
We drank local - a Zoe beer from Hops & Grain brewery for Tony, and a Buddha's Brew ginger kombucha for me.
The first course was a baked apple with caramelized onions and a "brie" cheeze. I loved how the savory cheeze contrasted with the sweetness of the apple.
Next up, borscht with a dollop of sour cream. Tony does not usually care for the earthy flavor of beets, but he admitted this soup was much better than he anticipated. I loved it; it was so thick and creamy.
Then we were served a raw dolma - a collard leaf filled with sundried tomato, raisins, and pine nuts. With raw food I'm often taken aback at how bold and intense the flavors can be. Each bite was totally satisfying, no need for a dressing or dip to make this dolma amazing.
We had a choice of two entrees, so I ordered one and Tony got the other. There was much sampling from each other's plates going on. I had the tofu scallops, very lemony with a nice crispy outer crust. They were served alongside rice and asparagus with a fantastic dill gravy, and a seaweed and cucumber salad. It was all so good! I love seaweed - so good for you!
Tony loved his mushroom and pea bourguignon, served with mashed potatoes and roasted carrots. He said it was as rich and flavorful as any beef stew. An omnivore's high praise.
We had a choice of two desserts as well. Tony went with the flan, adorned with almonds, whisky-soaked dates, and salted caramel. I could've drank a cup of that caramel sauce, yum!
It's hard to say there was a standout since the whole meal was awesome, but if I had to choose, it would be the raw tiramisu I had for dessert. I guess I'm just amazed at the different flavors and textures you can achieve with raw ingredients. All the layers of a traditional tiramisu were represtened...the whipped cream on top, the sweet, creamy chocolate, and the dense, coconutty "ladyfinger" layer at the bottom.
By the end of the meal, we were full, happy, and relaxed, yet not overstuffed. It was such a special treat to have such an elegantly presented meal that was entirely vegan!
Before heading home, we stopped at Capital City Bakery down the street and picked up some special Valentine's goodies to take home and enjoy the next day - a "Fauxstess" chocolate cupcake and a heart-shaped sugar cookie.
I love this dude!