November 12, 2011

Tour de Vine

Or should I say tour divine? 

What started out as a trip to try Abigail Street evolved into a Vine Street restaurant crawl. Abigail Street had a ½ hour wait so we headed down to The Lackman to grab a drink. It was insanely hot inside and smelled of stale beer, but the bartender fixed my friends up with some fru fru island cocktails and I enjoyed a pint of the Left Handed milk stout. 

Let me begin my description of Abigail Street by saying that any restaurant that has wine on tap is obviously the coolest thing ever. The selection included a nice variety of both red and white and prices range from about $8-$11. I had the Cabernet Sauvignon and it was lovely. The wine is mostly sourced from wineries in California and the Pacific Northwest. The server described the menu as Mediterranean tapas-style but also mentioned something about family style. When I think of family style I think of huge portions that can satisfy at least 3 people. The portion size at Abigail Street is bigger than tapas but smaller than family-style and at least 2 menu choices per person are required if you want to make a meal out of it.

I dined with 2 friends and we each chose one item to start: Cheese tray, Gnocci and Scallops.  Our server recommended our cheese selections and the tray was garnished with small portions of toasted cinnamon raisin bread, grapes and nuts.  It was a crowd-pleaser at our table.

The two scallops were served over a bed of savory bacon and carmelized onion cous cous and topped with a lobster cream sauce. So decadent.  The picture below does nothing for the presentation, it was taken after one of the scallops was eaten.  The flavor of the cous cous was perfect and the lobster cream /scallop/bacon combination was excellent.

The gnocchi was in a very light saffron sauce with large pieces of crab meat and cherry tomatoes. I quite liked it but I am not a gnocchi aficionado so I don't have anything to compare it to. I believe gnocci is usually served with a heavy cream sauce which would certainly overwhelm me. I thought the lighter broth complemented the doughy creamy texture of the gnocchi quite well.  (Again, the picture below was taken after several bites.)

I look forward to going back to Abigail Street for another tapas and wine tasting. The bouillabaisse was calling my name.

After splitting 3 dishes between the 3 of us we had room for more and decided it would be fun to do a restaurant hop. (Side note: after publishing this post I logged on to Urbanspoon to read A Tavola reviews.  Apparently I'm not the only one who appreciates the dining options of Vine Street in OTR.  Great minds, I tell you.)

During our dinner conversation it surfaced that one of my friends, who loves Sentate, has never tried their poutine!?! Duck fat fries, short ribs and cheese followed our tapas perfectly. We had another drink including a special mixture concocted by Mike, the oh so friendly bar tender. I had some sort of Gin/Grapefuit mixed drink that was extremely refreshing- not too much gin, not too sweet. After having a drink and splitting one order of poutine between the 3 of us we decided we would round out our evening with A Tavola.

I dined at Tavola earlier in the week and had been thinking about their beef meatballs with goat cheese since that visit. Four beef meatballs drowned in delicious red sauce and topped with a smooth pesto-like puree, goat cheese and adorned with 3 nice slices of Blue Oven bread. To die for. I mean, I would seriously die for these meatballs. And to really bring this home- I went to A Tavola on a Wednesday and had meatballs, then went back this past Saturday and I'm headed back again tonight...for meatballs.  Don't get me wrong, the wood-fired pizza is awesome, but the meatballs have my heart.
Hopping from restaurant to restaurant and sharing dishes is the way food should be experienced and I love that Vine street in OTR enables this.

  Abigail Street on Urbanspoon

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