Monday, January 18, 2010

This is where a pun on the word TAG would go.

This blog is allegedly about food, and not relationships. If you're looking for a relationship blog, check out Kristen's newest addition to her writing portfolio, Kristen's Fishing Trip. (I don't know if that's supposed to be a secret blog or not. Either way, it's a riot and required reading in my house. [And cubicle. And on the couches of anyone with a sense of humor.])

Therefore, I will only briefly mention that Sara and I went to TAG on Saturday night, and that it was sort of a big deal, because one of us met my mother. And seeing as how I lived under the same roof as my mom for 18 years, it probably wasn't me who was meeting her for the first time. Although we were strangers for the better part of my teens.

When you're deciding on a restaurant in a situation like this, you can go one of two ways: Slum it, pick Village Inn, and hope the food makes everyone decide to call it an early night - or you can pick a fancy restaurant and hope the strong drinks (fingers crossed) make it bearable.

So, very serious things aside. TAG is famous 'round these parts for making their own tonic water. I don't drink many gin and tonics these days, because they get me into the Villegas version of "trouble." Needless to say, I've had my fair share of gin and tonics. And the gin and tonic at TAG is really good stuff. Even though quinine can be nasty stuff, it's magical when included in homemade tonic made with Cinchona bark. By the way, I just earned my two-wikipedia-links-in-one-sentence award.

So we started with a salad (come on, Mom. Live a little.) and two appetizers - the Hiramasa and the Duck confit sope cakes. The sope cakes were very good. They sat on a bed of guacamole and were savory, warm and flavorful. The winner of round one, though, was the Hiramasa - which was pan-seared, had a small amount of truffle oil drizzled on top with and a little myoga.

And, oh yeah, a slice of jalapeno and pop rocks on top. What started as a "What's sizzling?" thought in my head led eventually to, "What's pink on my plate, and doesn't smell like roe?" And eventually ended in my saying out loud, "Holy God, those are pop rocks." Very creative, Troy Guard. Cheeky monky. It was a great way to start this experience.

Main course time. My mother had the safe choice, which was cooked extremely well and still delectable: Caramelized sea scallops. She reported them to be "perfect."

Tamarind mustard braised short ribs was the entree du jour for Sara. Pear, yuzu (or some citrusy fruit) the rib...a great plate, full of balanced flavor. The citrus did it well, I thought. And I never met mustard that I didn't like. Tamarind mustard should be required on all hot dogs. Hear that, Montforts?

No fork needed, although for the sake of appearances, she kept her butter knife on the plate. Polite company apparently uses a knife to cut ALL meat, even when it's not necessary.

And I had Szechuan Colorado Lamb, with couscous and Dragon Sauce...a touch spicy, but in a good way. Lamb is one of those meats that needs another flavor to contrast with when prepared correctly. (And it's uneatable when cooked wrong.) The Szechuan influence is a standard choice, but executed correctly here. The couscous is a welcome addition of an entirely different texture.

I have my problems with Lodo eateries, and especially Larimer Square restaurants. We were seated right next to the door, which wasn't fun. But someone has to sit there, so oh well.
But TAG is a nice place to go, even if it is a little pricey, and can sometimes come off more about appearances than food. Which is not a problem, because, let's face it, I'm can be sort of about appearances. All of this coming from a guy who uses the word "classy" more than Donald Trump.

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