Thursday, March 18, 2010

that took ... guts

My last night in Atlanta for annual meeting, I had a phenomenal time, and an outrageously good meal, with my friend Betty and her husband the other night at Linton Hopkins' gastropub, Holeman & Finch. Perhaps my favorite memory of the evening would be the great discussion over the veal fries, which has to be shared:
Husband: "What are veal fries?"
Me: "Well, given that it's the only 'part' on the "parts" section of the menu that doesn't have an anatomical name, um ..."
(Betty and I lock eyes; I'm pretty sure we're thinking the same thing) Betty: "I'm sure you can ask; the waitress will know."
(waitress appears)
Waitress: "Do you have any questions about the menu?"
Husband: "Yes; what are the veal fries?"
(very brief awkward pause)
Waitress: "They are ... testicles."
Me: "Yeah, it kind of had to be, right?"
Betty: "It's basically the only body part you wouldn't list verbatim on the menu."
Husband: " ... "
Waitress: "They're really good, in fact."
Me: "It's not that unusual; think Rocky Mountain Oysters."
Husband: " ... "
Betty: "Cojones, you know."
Me: "Ooh! Why can't they just put that on the menu? That would be great!"
(another brief awkward pause)
Husband: "I'm gonna try 'em."
Betty: " ... "
Me: " ... "
Waitress (cheerily): "All right then!"
(she leaves; Betty and I look at each other again)
Betty: "Well, that was unexpected.
Me: "I think I need more wine."

In any case, they turned out pretty well -- texturally akin to sweetbreads, and topped with a jalapeno/shallot/orange salad that was far more interesting flavor-wise than the parts themselves.

This morning, Betty told me that she was talking to her sister yesterday, and they had a conversation along the following lines:

Sister: "Blah blah blah wedding planning blah blah blah."
Betty: "So, we ate testicles last night."
Sister: "Wow, no segue there."
Betty: "There's no good segue for veal balls."
Sister: "Quote of the day!"

All in all, though, the meal was pretty fantastic. I had the steak tartare, a luscious and herby version topped with potato straws that epitomized the crunchy, salty, ur-potato, and mussels in a bacon-rye whiskey sauce that just begged to be sopped up with excellent pain au levain. The deviled eggs (particularly the sunchoke one), fried pickles (crunchy and spicy), beet-and-blue arugula salad (sweet and peppery), and chocolate toffee pudding (....yum) all hit exactly the right notes in each bite, and no serving was too overwhelming to deal with. It was a great finale to a great time in Atlanta (filled with much excellent food and company, to be sure) ... I definitely had a ball.

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