Wednesday, August 11, 2010

french roast and fugazi. . .

mahler’s 150th birthday. the brutal brushes, the pushing-and-pulling colors, the sounds of knife scraping canvas, a female arabesque becomes a pennsylvania hill grided into mosaic farms, charcoal grinding her black dry-oil against the tweed of cotton, the pushing of titanium white into burntbone black, gray pasting form into fields of kinetic line. landscape and figure mingle and enmesh, a biomorphic dance, fugazi launching vocals and rampant rifts, then bach cello suites (rostropovich) and kyote sleeps as basho breathes.

the pleasure of work. the pleasure of the run. the pleasure of Being, Whole. (van gogh’s delirium?)

august fifth twenty-ten. caprice bistro for dinner.

my wife and I haven’t had a dinner date since our anniversary, and before that it was sometime around our wedding two+ years ago. so a date was due—and enjoy a date we did.

the hostess warmly received us, offering the window table on their banquette as we arrived. it was 6pm and we enjoyed a marvelous living theater of the street outside, watching downtowners walking dogs, moving from desk to bar, jogging, or riding the horse-drawn carriage for a tour (probably the finest window in downtown wilmington). my wife was beautiful and happy, reviewing the menu and sipping a mohito, freshly muddled mint wafting across the table. our lively waiter explained the specials, cracked a coupl’a jokes, and we ordered the first course: spinach salad and curried mussels. mussels are something of a culinary religion in the bistro menu, and man does Caprice nail them! yellow curry pushed and pulled the mussels like a spirited dance partner, allowing the mussels their own flavors, then enhancing them. the spinach salad was good, the fresh leaves like crisped butter pushing lightly bitter notes against a very good Roquefort cheese and sweetened walnuts.

for the entrée, my wife had the plat du jour—lapin au moutarde. the rabbit was perfectly prepared, and a hint of smoky pork-salt extracted the nuanced flavors of the meat. the mustard notes were pleasantly subtle, infused with a buttery white wine. the sauce coated a fresh fettucine, perfectly al dente and flavorful in itself.
i had the bistro steak. pomme frites arrived with the teres major steak, seasoned and grilled and served with a bordelaise reduction. pink and tender on the inside while nicely charred on the outside, the beef was amazing. the baked, herbed tomato and sauteed carrots were also delicious, that innate sweetness working the meat's earthier elements.

dessert was a simple, traditional faire (by choice)—my wife ordered the crème brulee, vanilla, with the crisp skin of the caramelized sugar cracking nicely beneath the spoon. my choice was also delicious, (though I caught some jokes for the simplicity of my dessert palette)the eternal "dame blanche." while vanilla ice cream is timeless and not very exciting, add the chef’s belgian chocolate and freshly whipped cream (amazing!) and voila—a beautiful dessert. a cup of dark coffee, procured from a regional coffee roaster, poured dark and deep to make the meal a fine success.

while my palette may be less advanced in some selections, the fundamentals of cooking are well-represented and are, infact, feted at caprice bistro. even a basic selection, whether beef or vanilla ice cream or coffee, becomes a multilayered, intricate flavor-map of culinary traditions of the French bistro.