We don’t usually write about a restaurant the same night we eat there, but there are a couple of circumstances that come together to make tonight an exception.  For one thing, this wasn’t our first rodeo…we’ve eaten at Tallula before and had a great meal every time.  More important, though, is the fact that one of the recommendations we’re about to make has a distinct expiration date: this Sunday.

Along with its fellow Neighborhood Restaurant Group establishments, Tallula is celebrating the Olympics.  Each of the six properties has adopted a country, and they are offering special food and beverage options that reflect that country’s cuisine.  Get your “Olympic Passport” stamped at all six restaurants, and you earn a $50 NRG gift card for use at any of the six.  You’ll also be entered into a drawing for three grand prizes during an outdoor celebration at Evening Star Cafe on Sunday.  If you’re just getting started, you may have a tough time hitting all six in time to make the drawing (though it can certainly still be done!).

Of all the Olympic menu items, there was one in particular that caught our eye (okay, two if you count the poutine at ChurchKey).  We’re suckers for a good pierogi, those Eastern European pockets of dough stuffed with delicious, hearty fare like potatoes.  When we saw that Chef Barry Koslow and his crew at Tallula were taking them on, we knew where we’d be heading.

After the jump, I risk alienating my Russian-American family members with a startling confession. (more…)

Advertisements

asparagus-ramps-and-shallotsLast time we worked on a “Favorite Five” with Counter Intelligence’s Melissa McCart, I ended up chasing yuzu all over the metro area before finding the juice at Hana Market.  This time, thankfully, our mission involved a list of ingredients that would make even the most ardent locavore smile.  The biggest challenge would be showing off the wonderful spring flavors to their best advantages.

When Melissa emailed us the list of ingredients that chef Barry Koslow of Tallula selected, we knew we wanted to participate again.  Koslow’s five were a veritable all-star list of the early spring farmer’s market:

1. Ramps
2. Asparagus
3. Spring Lamb
4. Morels
5. Fava Beans

salad-and-entreeSince we’d been eagerly awaiting most of these ingredients ourselves, it would be super-easy to work them into a dinner for the challenge.

As it turns out, three of the ingredients on the list – ramps, morels and asparagus – figure prominently in “Think Like a Chef,” Tom Colicchio’s cookbook that has yet to steer me wrong.  They are a “trilogy” whose flavors and seasonality naturally complement one another.  Colicchio provides several recipes that make use of this interplay, and I’ve been eager for the opportunity to try one of his more ambitious recipes as the second in my series of Restaurant Quality Dishes that I’m attempting as my Foodie Resolution for the year.

My efforts at asparagus soup with morel custard, fava bean and pecorino salad with prosciutto, and broiled lamb loin chops after the jump. (more…)