Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Birthday Beets

Tom Robbins' novel Jitterbug Perfume suggests beets as a ticket to immortality. It didn't work for my Ukrainian grandparents but they sure did teach me to love beets. The only word of Ukrainian I know is "smetana"- sour cream, because my non-English speaking grandma was always insisting I add more of it to my borscht to cure my scary skinniness.
Far from the land of borscht, I've had some wondrous beet dishes recently. The heirloom beet salad at Daniel Boulud's restaurant in Vegas: HEIRLOOM BEETS:Roasted Beets, Herb Goat Cheese, Black Quinoa, Pistachio,Sherry Vinaigrette
was maybe the best lunch I had in Vegas, as detailed in my description of Vegas meals in my blog posts from February. At a Vancouver restaurant whose name escapes me, I had some beets and pears in a custard made of talagio cheese that has inspired me ever since.
I normally go out for dinner with my friends on my birthday, but decided on lunch this time. New favourite restaurant Hawksworth has served me the 2 best lunches I've had in Vancouver. My last lunch there, last summer, was the best food I've eaten in Vancouver in several years:
 seared japanese squid  peanut, nashi pear, crispy pork chili vinaigrette  18
The first lunch I had there, shortly after it opened, was quite dissappointing. The dish promised morels, a favourite of mine, but delivered truckloads of pasta, peas and a Liliputian serving of the tasty mushrooms. Great blueberry-lavender mocktail though. The 2nd lunch was fried chicken and beets and another great mocktail. Things were looking up. Hawksworth keeps winning restaurant of the year awards but that's like saying the best golf course in Antartica. My third lunch was the palate-altering squid above. So the 6 of us went to Hawksworth on Saturday, the day before my birthday but a more convenient day for one and all.
We sat down and I ordered the squid, of course. "Sorry, it's not on the menu on weekends." That was as dissappointing as the morel dish that first lunch. So I went for the beets, pictured above. apple beet salad  pickled beets, caramelized honey, burrata, walnut, dill  16 I had my ol' fave Blueberry lavender mocktail and another with lime and coconut water that went well with desert. Now, I'm not a desert person, but everyone else was having it and as I wasn't full from the salad, I split a fine fruit dish with Fumiyo. Strawberries, rhubarb, gelled chamomile and whatever, it was a new dish and isn't on their web menus.
As we were leaving, my friends said, "that was a lot better than our usual birthday restaurants." Keep on flying, Hawksworth.