Thursday, March 12, 2009

Springtime of My Life

It's that time again! Spring is upon us! Well, technically winter has not yet run its course, but the month of March means that Dine Around Seattle is back, and for us that meant dinner tonight at Spring Hill. Back in November I wrote of our Dine Around experiences at Restaurant Zoe and Crush, taking advantage of the seasonal offerings of three courses for $30, and this time we decided to venture out of our usual neighborhoods to West Seattle. Even though it is only about a twenty minute drive away, I always feel like I'm going on vacation when I head to West Seattle. There must be some psychological advantage in leaving downtown behind as you cross the West Seattle Bridge.

Lewissa joined us for a wonderful meal. Starting with a butter lettuce salad lightly coated in a zingy citrus vinaigrette and studded with radishes, herbs, and Parmesan, I really felt as though spring had arrived on a plate.

All the entrees were excellent, and in this course we were lucky enough to have each chosen one of the three options, giving us all the chance to try a little taste of everything. Lewissa's chicken breast, while that hardly sounds like an exciting choice, was poached to perfection and tasted of citrus in each tender bit. Michael steak came elegantly fanned over caramelized potatoes in a pool of creamed spinach, rich in flavor yet not at all heavy. The vegetarian option was a strudel filled with spiced chick peas and chard, earthy and filling inside the crispest of crusts. Tangy yogurt sauce and warmed grapefruit slices provided a nice balance to the darker flavors of the strudel, along with tender roasted cauliflower.

There's something about grapefruit that has been lightly cooked served alongside a hot entree. The little bit of heat mellows the grapefruit nicely, taming the tartness but still adding tang to a dish that would otherwise feel too rich. I never would have thought to serve it alongside cauliflower, chard, and chickpeas, but it kept the dish interesting and elevated it above some of the more uninspired vegetarian fare.

For dessert, none of us could resist the call of chocolate fudge cake with salted peanut ice cream. Michael and I both consider peanut butter and chocolate to be our favorite ice cream flavor, so we had high hopes for this dish, and luckily were not disappointed. The thinnest slice of rich chocolate cake, topped with meltingly soft peanut ice cream with just the right touch of salt, a ribbon of dense chocolate sauce, and candied peanuts came close to perfection. I love the combination of salty and sweet (isn't that why we find kettle corn so irresistible?), and this dessert nailed it.

And now, as I sit typing this, I still feel full and content. No question, it was worth the trip to West Seattle.

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