Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Finding tea in unexpected places
Over a long weekend, Alex and I were blessed to stay at the lake house of some friends on Lake Wedowee in Alabama. Since Saturday was his birthday, we drove into Birmingham that night to have dinner at a restaurant we'd both long wanted to try, Frank Stitt's Highlands Bar and Grill.
Stitt published his first cookbook, "Frank Stitt's Southern Table," in 2004, and it was a huge hit. The foreword was written by the inimitable Pat Conroy, and his elegant food descriptions alone would make you want to try the place. (It doesn't hurt that Highlands was named #5 on Gourmet magazine's list of the 50 Best American Restaurants.) Some family members in Alabama had recommended the restaurant as well, so off we went.
Alex wasn't even finished with his appetizer before he started raving over his meal (he'd ordered the pork loin). Like him, I have to say it exceeded my already-high expectations. I had Tasmanian Salmon with new potatoes, sugar snap peas and English peas, and I never knew a vegetable could taste so good. (And I'm a veggie lover to begin with.) What capped it off for me, besides watching my man enjoy his birthday dinner, was when we decided to share a dessert and he found the perfect one, a Dark Chocolate Espresso Tart with dark chocolate espresso filling topped with a scoop of rooibos chai ice cream. Could ice cream really taste like rooibos tea? Indeed it did! The tart was just incredible, and plated beautifully (as was everything else). And I was pleased they offered Harney and Sons teas, so I ordered the Paris blend to accompany my dessert. Now, if I could just figure out how to make that ice cream. Or, if any of you decide to dine in Birmingham and would like to bring back a pint for me (along with the special of the evening, of course), I'd be much obliged.