Fondy and I celebrated our ten year wedding anniversary with a special dinner at (Where else?) Fuel. The place was hopping when we arrived for our 6:30 p.m. reservation. Surprising considering many Vancouver restaurants don’t start getting busy until around 7:30 p.m. Also, things were a lot quieter at Fuel last year when the hot weather hit. But that doesn’t seem to be the case this season. Owner Tom Doughty informed me that they’re busier than ever, thanks in no small part to the great press they’ve been receiving of late. Well deserved, I say.
Rather than bother with the menu, we left everything in the hands of Chef Belcham and his crack kitchen crew. On this night, we would be enjoying his personally designed Polderside Farm Milk Fed Organic Lamb Menu. Allow me to break it down for you:
1st course: Lamb tongue gelee with tarragon, frisee, and mustard. Now I’m sure many of you will make the same face Carl made when I told him about this dish, but I can assure you that it was utterly delicious. The texture of the tongue lends itself wonderfully to this preparation.
2nd course: Lamb neck consomme with poached summer truffle, nasturtium, and brioche. Wow! Tasty, nicely marbled lamb neck, and a whole black truffle that proved delightfully subtle yet wonderfully aromatic in its light consomme bath.
3rd course: Lamb sweetbreads, bacon, sweetpeas, and lemon. The addition of bacon to the golden-brown sautéed sweetbreads makes this a dish I want to see on their regular menu.
4th course: Spot prawns, arugula, and lamb heart vinaigrette. It’s spot prawn season! The prawn are purchased off the dock as the boats come in that afternoon, then prepared that night for the evening service. They don’t come any fresher. And the lamb heart vinaigrette was so good that I actually finished my arugula before eyeing Fondy’s (alas, she finished hers as well).
5th course: Confit lamb shoulder with laurel, olives, radish, and mint. Not being particularly enamored of mint, this was my least favorite dish. That said, the shoulder was nice and tender and the accompanying olives, of all things, a truly stand-out addition. For her part, Fondy (who enjoys mint just fine) really liked this dish.
6th course: Aromatized rack of lamb with morels, fava beans, ramps, and spaetzle. The crowning glory! I pointed out to Tom that every month or so, I’ll be eating at Fuel and someone at the table will say “This is the best (fill in the blank) I’ve ever had.” The best duck I’ve ever had. The best pork I’ve ever had. And, on this night, it was the best lamb Fondy has ever had. And, to be honest, I’d have to agree with her. Tender, incredibly flavorful, redolent with the scents of roasted onions, garlic, and rosemary, it was the dish of the night. When I told Marty G. about it, his response was that he’d already had the best lamb dish he’d ever eaten – at Fuel. He looked forward to having it topped.
7th course: The new addition to the dessert menu, a decadent chocolate and hazelnut creation with homemade vanilla ice cream. A definite keeper.
Two days later, Fondy left for Montreal and, that night, I was back at Fuel for another memorable meal. But I’ll save the details of that visit for another entry as I suspect you’re already completely stuffed.
Today’s entry is dedicated to Leila (best wishes for a speedy recovery), Amy as she heads in for major surgery, and birthday girl Sarah L.
AMZ writes: “So, what types of green tea to do like?”
Answer: I’m a matcha man.
PG15 writes: “1. Are you guys shooting both parts of the mid-season 2-parter at the same time…? 2. 2. My uncle saw one of those signs indicating that someone was filming something nearby with the letters “SGP” on it around Oak street; is that you guys? 3. I don’t think we’ve heard much about episodes 17 and 18 yet. Care to share any hints?”
Answer: 1. Yes, we are. 2. Nope, not us. 3. Right now, I know as much as you do about them.
David writes: “So…do you have any summer plans yet?”
Answer: I’m thinking of heading back to Montreal for a week. Other than that – much like last summer: reading in the backyard with the dogs.
Prior of the Ori writes: “So my question was, were the Ancients justified in their cleansing of Asuras?”
Answer: That, my friend, is a matter of opinion. Clearly the Ancients felt they were justified in ridding themselves of a device of their own making. The Asurans, who obviously considered themselves more than mere constructs, begged to differ.
Rose writes: “Which actor is most unlike (his/her) screen character? I’m guessing – based on some of your past comments – it would probably be Jason Momoa.”
Answer: In some ways he is very much like the character he plans, and in some ways he isn’t. Unlike Ronon, Jason is a very deep and thoughtful individual with an artistic streak. But, like Ronon, his imposing physical presence belies a warm and goodhearted soul.
Jill E. writes: “Thanks too for inspiring me to start my own blog. No one reads it except probably my family but I don’t care.”
Answer: Your family and me. Nicely written entries. And given that two of the entries deal with two of my favorite topics – animals and chocolates – it’s hard to go wrong.
Alainaross writes: “Were you ever in Theatre, or even an actor yourself.”
Answer: My theater career began and ended with my high school production of Hamlet.
Sue writes: “And still curious when Michael wraith will be showing up again…”
Answer: Well, if he survives the events of the season premiere, chances are good he’ll pop up later in the season.
Masterchief writes: “Hey Joe, I was wondering which actress is playing Katana?”
Answer: More on Katana in Tuesday’s entry.