the annual eye exam visit: gastronomical delights

Since Gerald + Mel had us over for dinner last month and Mel shared the secret to her culinary success, Ian has been a little obsessed with Barbara Lynch. (I bought him the cookbook; I can hear it calling out from the shelf, "Ian, use me to cook dinner for Anna.") So when Ian selected a nice restaurant for Micki's birthday dinner Wednesday night, naturally he chose The Butcher Shop.

the butcher shop

The space is small and casual. Butcher paper covers the tables and you can pick up meat cuts, sauces, and a handful of deli-type food selections from the refrigerator in back. The menus are printed on sheets of paper as they change weekly.

We chatted about work, life, and the future over mouth-watering comfort food. Tender juicy chicken over broccoli puree with twice-baked fingerling potatoes. Yes, they scooped out tiny potatoes, stood them on end, then refilled them with creamy goodness and sprinkled on cheddar and bacon. Venison over mashed yams with kale chips. A mesclun greens salad with pumpkin seed vinaigrette, a ring of roasted fall vegetables lining the edge of the plate. Prime rib with roasted fingerling potatoes and a side of the aoli Mel couldn't stop gushing about. And to top it all off, a slice of pumpkin cheesecake and helping of chocolate mousse that perfectly balanced deep chocolate flavor with creamy rich texture. We might have licked the bowl. Our waitress assured us this was perfectly acceptable.

Thursday, Dane and Micki treated us with an exciting home-cooked dinner: stuffed pork chops, potatoes au gratin, and sweet Halloween snacks. We made the most of their last night in town, relaxing over football.

Early Friday morning we picked up a ZipCar and drove Dane and Micki to the airport.

airport goodbye

As hard as it was to say goodbye, we can look forward seeing them again soon: Christmas is just around the corner!