Sunday, May 1, 2011

Second + Congress

Got invited to a tasting at Second Bar + Kitchen by the Google Places last week. It was a fun time, and great to meet some new blogger friends!  Google Places is a personalized local recommendation engine, that can also help you to find local businesses based on the ones you already know. It's similar to Yelp, but from what I can tell thus far (and not being a regular Yelp user), GP has the ability to do much more. They were a wonderful host for the evening, as we enjoyed the semi-cooling breezes up on the second floor private balcony.

It began with cocktails, which is always a good start. The bar made three different cocktails that aren't on the current menu, and over the course of the evening, we tried them, and rated them; the winner will be included in the summer menu. First up was Forever My Queen, with chartreuse, reposado tequila, and orange juice. Sort of like a tequila sunrise.
There were some cheese plates, which I wish I had gotten the names of all the cheeses, because they were delicious! The dish on the right is the avocado fundido, which was layered guacamole with chorizo, and queso fresca on top.
The waitstaff began with some passed appetizer dishes; my compliments to them, because they were extremely patient and gracious about us (most of us!) taking pictures and asking what things were. This little bite was a sensational combo of flavors -- beet and watermelon with arugula, blue cheese, and Maldon sea salt.
Next we had veal meatballs arrabiata with a fennel gremolata, and grana padana cheese. Loved the little whiteware serving dishes.
Buffalo fried pickles with a gorgonzola sauce arrived next; the pickles were marinated in a house-made hot wing sauce, battered, and fried, with the sauce at the bottom of the cup. 
Another delicious bite was the beef short rib sitting on truffled grits. 
Various pizzas started arriving, these were the pulled pork shoulder with green chiles, asadero cheese, and tobacco onion rings, and the pomodoro with fresh mozzarella and basil. Nice crust, with generous amount of cornmeal sprinkled on the pan before baking. 
Then the bianca with gruyere, grana padana, and arugula. There was also French fries with black truffle aioli.
Midway through the food, the Dickel Daisy was -- Dickel whiskey, powdered sugar, lemon juice, marachino liquor. Tasty, but I am just not a huge whiskey person. 
The last drink however, the Gin and Jam, has made a gin drinker out of me! It was Citadelle Gin on the rocks, with a spoonful of homemade raspberry jam in it. Fantastic! And this was hands-down the best of the drinks! Too bad this was the last drink served, because I could have had multiples of these!
As the sun was beginning to set, there was a huge storm cloud that had formed to the south east. I got a few pictures of it, and then thought it would be best to beat it home, in case it started to storm. I really thought we might be in for tornadic activity, but fortunately it dissipated, though we could use the rain!
I would really like to go back to Second and have a full meal; I enjoyed all of the items that were served, but nothing absolutely knocked my socks off. I hope that David Bull and his team's efforts did not all go into the pricey Congress restaurant, so a return trip is needed!