Friday, October 22, 2010

Madness in Fort Lauderdale

C and I just returned from spending a week in Fort Lauderdale. He was having surgery, so the trip was far from all fun and games, but we did manage to squeeze some fun and relaxation out of time otherwise spent in deep convalescence (for him) and ennui (for me). And as you no doubt are already anticipating, having advanced knowledge of what unrepentant piggies we are, a healthy portion of what I mean by "fun" came in the form of food. The day that C had surgery, our bff Matt sent a lovely package including a dvd, a massive Walking Dead omnibus (which the invalid couldn't even pick up by himself), and some freshly baked treats from a newish (I believe) vegan bakery in Brooklyn called Champs. If I have erred in any of the above, hopefully Matt will be good enough to offer some corrections. Though both of the care packages we received in Florida were ostensibly intended for C, and not me, I was good enough not to take complete advantage of a situation in which he literally would have been helpless to prevent me from devouring all of the pastry's in Matt's care package: pumpkin danish, peach danish, chocolate chip scones, chocolate chip cookie, and rocky road cookies. Seriously, big ups to Champs. Though the scones were delightful, remaining tender even a few days after Matt mailed them to us, the show stealer were the danishes. I took care that we ate them first to extract the maximum benefit from the treat that seemed most in danger of suffering from the passage of time. C ate the pumpkin (or rather, I fed it to him in chunks a few hours after he got out of the surgery center) and pronounced it "buttery and tender, just the right of sweetness to spiciness ratio." I ate the peach, and largely concur with him with one addition--they used real, actual peaches in the danish topping. Maybe it's been too long since I've had a danish, but WOW. I was expecting a sort of peach flavored fruit mush and I got perfectly sweetened chunks of actual peach. Unfortunately, our fatness and the frenzied eating we occasionally engage in prevented me from snapping the pictures that these treats definitely deserved, but I'm including here whatever I was able to get in the few quiet moments before the storm.

How Sublime does artichokes
We also seized the opportunity to indulge in the dining offered by Sublime restaurant, getting takeout one night and then actually going in for the full experience when C was finally upright for more than a few hours at a time. They bill themselves as a natural and organic restaurant, and the whole menu is completely vegan. Sublime is definitely a little on the pricey side, especially for a cheapo like me, but we saved enough money eating boxes of frozen vegetables that I microwaved in our hotel room that I didn't so much mind the final splurge. The decor is really lovely, with an indoor waterfall on one side, high ceilings, low lighting, and warm colors. We showed up for happy hour to make the most of the half priced drinks, and did we ever. I started with the Cutini, a martini made with muddled cucumbers and organic gin, while C had the watermelon margarita. After this round, we shared an appetizer of roasted artichoke that had been liberally drenched in garlic infused butter and topped with panko. I ordered the watermelon cosmopolitan, and C opted for some Patron, straight up. The drinks were all very fresh, and we enjoyed some delightful banter with our bartender, even managing to draw her into a conversation about the economic and environmental impact of the gulf spill. Our idea of a good time.

Mushroom Ravioli

Isn't she beautiful?

Chocolate Nirvana Cake
We had already tried the macaroni and cheese, frito misto (a delicious fried cauliflower dish), and steak burger, so in the restaurant, I had the mushroom ravioli and C got the Shepherdess Pie. I just had a feeling about those ravioli, and I was right on. They were delicate and richly flavored. A light garnish of roasted tomatoes gave them just the right touch of acidity. C said the pie was tasty but mostly potatoes, a bad thing coming from a protein-focused guy who certainly would have liked more seitan or veggie crumbles or the like. By far, the best thing on the menu--in my humble opinion--is the coconut cake. I liked it so much I ordered it twice. Most of the reviews I've read online focus on the chocolate nirvana cake, a dark chocolate and kahlua number that people get really excited about. While I thought it was perfectly servicable, the real magic is the coconut cake. Seriously. Three layer of dense, moist white cake spread with coconut buttercream and topped with a large, buttery, almond tuile cookie. This is a dessert worth risking diabetes over. 

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