Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Celebrating at Woodberry Kitchen

by Erin & Xani

The past few days have been great for the BCD girls. On the Xani front, the doctor removed her cast and she now has full typing abilities! Keep your eyes out for more regular blogging by the X-Factor. As for EP, yesterday she turned in her bar application and then had her last law school class ever! Also, after LOTS of hard work, her article was published in her law journal, and it's very exciting to see it in print after all this time.

So, to celebrate all this good news, we headed up to Hampden and went to Woodberry Kitchen. Xani had been several times and finally we got the chance to go together! WK has a strong emphasis on local, organic, and seasonal eating, and supports sustainable agriculture (very appropriate for Earth Day!). In other words, we HAD to get there ASAP.

The space at WK is an old renovated industrial space and it's super cozy with a wood-burning oven and an open kitchen-- its totally gorgeous. While WK's menu has a good handful of entrees, we decided to stick with their larger selection of small plates. It was so hard to choose only a few - we wanted to order everything!

We started with some celebratory cocktails. Erin got the "Birds and the Bees," comprised of housemade berry liquor, local honey, lemon twist, and cava (Spanish sparkling wine). It was similar to a Kir. Xani got an organic IPA.

Then it was time to eat! We started with the Kitchen Pickles and Olives, a small jar of pickled onions, green beans, and leeks, plus olives. A good light start to the meal. Then came one of the specials of the day, featuring the first local asparagus of the season! It was a salad with shaved asparagus, greens, smoked shrimp, and a vinaigrette with lots of lemon and mint. Very refreshing, interesting flavor combination with the shrimp, and great to enjoy the asparagus!

Also during this course we enjoyed the Chicken Liver Parfait, a mild pate of chicken liver served with crispy crostini, a berry sauce, and apples. Very nice dish.

Next we enjoyed another special of the day: local rockfish served sashimi-style topped with a salad of fresh greens and ginger. This dish was fresh and delicious, great flavor from the fish combined with the fresh salad. It was also a very generous portion, and when it comes to raw fish, the more the better.

The next course included two dishes that we were both very excited about: first up was the Pork Buns. When we read this, we figured these would be Asian-style pork buns: a gummy, fluffy dough filled with a little blob of pork. But no! These were mini pulled-pork sandwiches on mini pretzel rolls with a sweet onion relish - outstanding. And messy. The sauce on the pork was nice and acidy, not too sweet, sort of like NC-style BBQ, EP's favorite.

Also for this course was the Poutine! The only other time we've had poutine was at Victoria Gastropub in Columbia, where it's made with duck-fat fries, covered with duck confit, gravy, and gruyere cheese. And before last night, we thought this was the best poutine ever. Then we had WK's poutine. It was amazing and completely surpassed Victoria. This poutine was french fries covered in cheddar curd, house-smoked bacon (GIGANTIC lardons, if that's not an oxymoron?), and chicken wing gravy. A-mazing.

For the next course, we had one of the WK flatbreads, presumably cooked in their wood-burning oven. We selected a flatbread with lamb, ramps (first of the season!), and ricotta cheese. It was a nice bite, but we were so full by then, I don't think we could appreciate it fully. We also had broccoli raab with chili flakes, garlic, and a parmesan chip. Unfortunately, this was the weakest dish of the evening - it was very bitter and a little watery.

Despite our fullness, we pressed on and ordered dessert and coffee. The direct-trade Rwandan coffee came in a French press and was strong and delicious. For dessert, we ordered the Neopolitan Sundae, which was absolutely delicious vanilla ice cream, strawberry jam, and sugar-coated chocolate donut holes. PLUS, there was a malted cone on top. Um, HELLO?! Fabulous dessert.

The French press came with a timer so we would know when to press it

What an amazing meal! It was not too expensive either, which means we'll be back ASAP (especially as the weather continues to improve-- they have a great patio with a firepit). Who's got something worth celebrating? We'll take any excuse...

Thanks for a great meal, WK! See you soon!

E & X

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