In Alabama, the trees’ red buds are out and some are even covered in pink flowers. Spring is arriving, and the temperature was in the fifties, sometimes even sixties in sunlight. When I got back to Chicago it was 19 degrees F and I was confused.
Etta and I went for a romantic end of winter dinner at Lula Cafe. I love going to their farm dinners to mark seasonal change, or to celebrate the height of a particular growing season. In this case, I thought it would help me regain my Midwest bearings.
The starter was soft and luscious poached black cod, served in a steamer basket, over sauteed dark greens, with aioli and black garlic. The entree was braised veal cheek: an ingredient my sister would have been happy to know I’d never eaten. She won’t be so happy now. It was falling apart delicious, with aromatic, earthy, crunchy carrots, rich jus and perfectly cooked grains.
We added Meyer lemon tart to the farm dinner dessert of olive oil panna cotta. The panna cotta was jiggly and creamy, with cookie crunch and pistachio notes, the perfect end for most, but not this beast. My second dessert of Meyer lemon tart was even better, half frozen, with the tang of goat’s milk caramel and candied citrus.
We passed the Logan eagle on the way to the train. It was still light out, a good sign after a 3 course dinner that started at 6:30PM, three days before the vernal equinox.