Friday, February 23, 2018

What's Online May Not Come To Your Plate

Yesterday was our dear friend "D"s birthday.  He's finally legal, none of these embarrassing situations where he gets carded at the bar and we sit there ignored.  Stings a bit.

The Birthday Person gets to choose the dining venture and we then sally forth.  "D"s choice was Abigaile's, Hermosa Beach.  Once that decision had been announced, I pulled up their menu.  I don't like surprises at the dinner table.  I want a little anticipation time to mentally drool over whatever I picked out on that menu.

Ah hah!  Seared Scallops with Peach Salsa Verde, Curry, Carrot-Ginger Puree, Linguini and Cilantro
My taste buds shifted their weight in anticipation.

A With-Our-Drinks item appealed and that is their Brazilian version of a cheese puff.  It's listed as Pao de Queijo and I had to point at it - whereupon our lovely server trilled something that sounded like "pow d' kaycho."  

The four of us (Mouton rounded out our party) agreed they would be acceptable with our opening gun drinks - two dirty gin martinis, one gin and tonic, one glass of Cabernet Sauvignon.

The were a golden brown sphere, bigger than a golf ball, but smaller than a tennis ball.  Crusty exterior and unlike gougiers they had not dried out in the oven to make a hollow shell ready for filling.  Theirs was more of a very chewy, dense sensation.

The menu says spiced honey and butter, but it was spiced butter (something kind of allspice-y or nutmeg-y?) and plain honey.  Any road, they met in our tummies, so (shrug.)

Then having polished those off in fine style (and our drinks) it was time to order.  The scallops I was looking forward to now came with tomato salsa.  Gone were the goodies - peach, curry, ginger, cilantro ...

I mentioned gently my disappointment to our server and remarked that it would be good if their online menu and in-house menus matched.  She agreed energetically remarking that she'd volunteered to do it because, out on the floor, talking to disappointed customers was sometimes difficult(possibly due to the number of pre-dinner drinks consumed by that customer.) 

Instead, I had the P.I.G. Pop Tarts for the novelty of the thing which did look like a PopTart (the eating kind, not Brittany Spears) and were unremarkable in every way.  Pork pot pie perhaps.  But the pastry shell was well done.  (If you can't say anything nice ...)

The Brazilian puffs intrigued me and sure enough I found numerous recipes online along with an incidental hit on what Peach Salsa Verde could be - tomatillos.

Call what you will -
PAO de QUIEJO  (Kachow Puffs?)
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil (not olive oil which I consider a vegetable)
2 large eggs
2 cups tapioca flour
1 to 1 1/2 cups Parmesan

Pre-heat the oven at 450
Boil the milk and vegetable oil together until it makes big bubbles.  Certainly subjective and not very helpful ...
Add flour and beat the eggs in, one by one.  Beat in the cheese.  When the mixture is cool enough not to burn your hands, shape into spheres and put on a parchment or SilPat covered baking sheet, turn the oven down to 350 and bake for 15 minutes.  About halfway through turn the front of the cookie sheet to the back.   Bake until they are a lovely golden brown.

Serve with honey on the side and whatever kind of jazzed-up butter you decided upon. Good eating or whatever the expression is in Brazil.

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