Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Restaurant Redo: Vandalia Grille Beet Artichoke Salad

I had some time to kill a couple weeks ago between work and a meeting, so I ducked into one of my favorite places downtown, Vandallia Grille, to have a cocktail and a light dinner. This place has killer sweet potato fries and butternut squash soup, but I was in the mood for a salad.

I thought I'd tried pretty much everything on the menu, but somehow, The "Autumn" didn't seem familiar. If I've had it before, I don't remember it, and I think I would have rememberd, since it's been haunting me for the past two weeks. The "Autumn" has beets, artichokes, goat cheese and candied pecans over field greens with a dijon vinaigrette. I nearly licked my plate. And I'm not even really a beet person.

Someone gave us a couple quarts of pickled beets last fall. I'm not sure where they came from. One jar became Borscht last winter. And last week, when I noticed the second jar still in my larder, I knew exactly what I was going to do with it.

It didn't require much "cooking" per se, but it sure was delicious. The lettuce is red butterhead from the Monroe Farm Market. I've bought a lot of it this spring to supplement what I grow--arugula, mesclun mix and black seeded simpson. I piled on some marinated artichokes, goat cheese, candied pecans and beets, and found a simple recipe for dijon vinaigrette.

While my at-home version was delicious, like the pizza I tried to replicate, it's just not quite as good as the original. Maybe it's just the ambience of the Vandalia Grille or something, but I'll definitely be getting this next time I go back.

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