I experienced oral euphoria with two men over the past weekend.
It sounds decadent - and, oh, but it was.
Because these two forays involved truffles, caramelized Brussels sprouts and bread pudding made with French toast.
Yeah, I never thought Brussels sprouts would be sexy, either, but this dish was a hot mess on a plate.
My edible expedition started Saturday night at Boca in Oakley. Wingman and I decided to set out for a first rate dinner in anticipation of our trip to San Francisco later this week.
From start to finish, we were impressed with everything that passed our lips. The tender poured a wonderful Woodford Manhattan - perfect balance of my favorite Bluegrass bourbon and sweet vermouth.
For starters, I went with the roasted pear salad. The pears were tender and bursting with tartness. W went with a buttery pasta graced with flecks of truffle. He waxed poetic about the dish's bold earthy flavors, and I couldn't help but agree when we swapped our half-finished plates.
I jokingly asked the server if we could box up the emptied bowl for W, what with its bottom still awash in buttery, creamy, woody flavors.
For our main course, W went with the Branziano - a grilled sea bass dressed with lemon and atop a pile of sautéed Swiss chard. The fish was substantial in texture but light in taste, well complemented by the tart flavors of the grilled lemon and the subtle bitterness of the chard.
I went with an entrée sized portion of Boca's legendary scallops-and-Brussels sprouts. As an East Coast transplant, I was indoctrinated with the ways of authentic seafood preparation as a teen. These scallops were gentle and gave way to a little bit of the murky, muddy flavors of seafood I've come to know and love. But honestly, they were upstaged (significantly, I might say) by what may be the most wonderful thing I've ever put in my mouth.
Caramelized Brussels sprouts.
And herein comes the point where I dropped my fork on my plate, leaned back in my seat and exclaimed, "That is oral euphoria."
W, jealous he didn't come up with as spectacular a turn of phrase (we have a thing for the nuances of language and discuss complex vocabulary words - who says we don't know how to have a good time?), retorted his truffle pasta dish was oral euphoria, too. So, there.
The Brussels sprouts were soft and buttery with every single bite. Forget those bitter, horribly tasting sprouts your mother served up for dinner - these gems had the consistency of tender, roasted artichokes but offered an incredibly rich, somewhat salty flavor.
You would be foolish to order anything different should you have an opportunity to dine at Boca.
Our night was capped with two spectacular desserts - a caramel creme brulee and a flour-less chocolate bourbon torte (my choice, but it was honestly outdone by the creme brulee).
The only misses of the evening? That our entrées were brought to the table as W was in the restroom, and when the desserts were served without silverware.
Sunday, a new friend and I set out for lunch. We rode off in a big Cadillac, Destination: Northside, for an opportunity to see twitter pal James at Take the Cake's newish Sunday brunch event. A snowy Sunday plus clever company and minus football (moment of silence for the Cincinnati Bengals, please) seemed like the perfect opportunity.
James had previously tweeted about the Bread Pudding of the Day - a decadent homage to Elvis' 75th birthday, made with French toast (have you ever heard of bread pudding made of French toast??), peanut butter, banana slices, caramel and homemade marshmallow fluff. I knew, in the span of 140 characters, that I had to. try. this. dish.
We arrived and were ushered to two stools perched at a counter ringing the kitchen (my favorite space to sit because I can catch all the culinary art in motion).
I sipped on my coffee for a while until I was served a heaping, golden brown pile of goodness, awash in a pool of caramel and topped in fluff. This was the kind of lunch/brunch item that Little Kate would have swooned at.
I am so grateful Grown Up Kate takes every opportunity to indulge the little girl inside.
My fork dove in to the French toast/banana/peanut butter conglomeration and my mouth opened wide, practically trembling in anticipation.
Oral euphoria round two.
Try as I might, I just could not finish my breakfast/lunch/dessert. James was kind enough to box up the remaining half of my dish and even drizzle a little more caramel on top.
Because who doesn't like a little extra caramel?
In all, the past weekend served up heaping helpings of decadence. Looking back on it, I still can't believe I lived so high on the hog in a 24-hour span.
I guess when it rains, it pours.
And in the case of oral euphoria, I always love a good soaking.
Kate's Random Musings by Kate the Great is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.