I don’t like spice. I love spices, but anything that adds heat – I’ll pass. This includes pepper – barely use it (yes, I know what you’re thinking). I love all types of food and will try just about anything but am a serious wuss when it comes to any bit of hotness on my taste buds. One time at Topolobampo, I started with the ceviche that the server swore was mild. It wasn’t. In fact, I thought I was going to be scarred for life. The server even had to bring me out a glass of milk to put out the fire in my mouth (apparently a first for them, thank you very much).
But then something changed. I got pregnant and actually started to crave (and enjoy) spicy food. And meat – I wanted all sorts of meat and poultry. I was a never a vegetarian (veal and short ribs are two long-time favorites), but just never liked chicken, steak and really only occasionally would want a burger. I thought this would surely pass once my daughter was born but it didn’t. Now I find myself ordering and cooking spicy food (nothing along the 911 lines, but spicy enough) as well as steak and burgers – on a regular basis. Before this, I can honestly say I can’t ever recall ordering steak out. I knew I was in for a lot of changes when I found out I was first pregnant, but wasn’t expecting this. But, along with Natalie, this is one change I’m happy about. I still don’t like pepper, though.
Here are a couple dishes I recently tried that I never would have thunk to order two years ago. On Groundhog’s Day, we headed to The Greenhouse Tavern to celebrate the release of their new beer with the Buckeye Brewing Co.: Saison de Maison (it’s brewed exclusively for GHT). I’m not a beer drinker, but I easily enjoyed two glasses and almost went for a third (and I love the logo, too – based on Amelia). What I really enjoyed was our dinner: we shared the wings (almost went for the super spicy but our server scared us!), braised lamb shank ravioli, devils on horseback (dates wrapped with bacon, almonds, bitter chocolate) and the Groundhog burger with sausage, fresno chilis, onions, aged cheddar and a spicy mustard.
I loved the ravioli and would want two dishes next time, but the burger was most impressive. And again – not something I would normally like. It was different – but in a good, unexpected way. I liked the sausage and chilis and how everything worked together. I hope it shows up on the menu more than once a year.
Another perfect example of my post-pregnancy eating was at Fire. I met my friend Heidi for dinner one night and was so happy she suggested Fire. I just love this place – the location, décor, chef, but admittedly don’t go nearly as often as I’d like (and really need to make a point to go for brunch). They even offer free valet, too – how great is that?
I ordered a half portion of the tandoor roasted hanger steak with Killbuck mushroom ragout atop truffled French toast. What a surprise this dish was. It was even better than it sounded and even as a half order (which I think is just great that it’s offered this way), was more than enough food for me. I’m planning to go back soon because this is a dish Jamie has to try, too. It’s something I know he’d thoroughly enjoy. And if I would have tried this pre pregnancy, I probably would have sampled a bite and thought it was nice – but never would have actually ordered it and enjoyed as much as I did
Funny story about Fire – and meeting friends in general. If you’re meeting someone out, be sure to describe them to the hostess or make a point to walk the restaurant if you believe someone is really late. We both arrived within 10 minutes of each other, but didn’t sit together for over an hour. I came in, didn’t see Heidi and got a table at the window; Heidi arrived first and sat at the bar (she was in the restroom when I came in). We were separated by a wall and after an hour, realized we were both there (thank you, Twitter). Luckily for me, I had great wine and cheese to keep me company!