VQ (and Burly-Q)
My good friend Pammy and I try to get together regularly, despite our busy schedules, to work out and catch up on each other’s adventures. Typically we end up meeting at a dance class then go out to dinner. Before, we ate anywhere. Now that I’m a Food Blog Princess, we’re more conscious about our choices.
This time it was the Veritable Quandary – and I was so happy when Pam suggested it! She tends to like Shepherd Pie, so I figured she’d want to head to one of the regular spots we go for that. I was very eager to try Veritable Quandary as I’d heard about it for years (waaay back in my 20′s) when my friend Charlotte used to go there for happy hour and Spanish Coffee, and I just never have gotten around to checking it out. It turned out to be the perfect way to end a busy day filled with work and Burly-Q.
What is Burly-Q, you ask? Well, this summer we had our try at Tribal Belly Dancing. It was amazing, fun, and nothing makes you feel good about your body than permission and a reason to shake anything that will! But this time Pam found us a new place, Vega Dance + Lab … and they have a class that’s a burlesque style work out/dance routine. I promise, there’s no pole, but wow. I was sore for three days – mincing and slinking around to the theme from the Pink Panther for an hour will do that to you!
So we were ready for a drink by the time this was over, as well as ravenous – all that slinking, you know. Turns out the Veritable Quandry (or VQ for short, as those closest to it say) is the perfect spot for just such situations! Our server (his name was Kyle) helped us pick out drinks. Pam and I always drink when we go out, especially when I have my camera because drinks are so pretty. She decided to try the Lavender Lemon Drop ($8) and I was instantly jealous because that was the only one that had really caught my eye. As anyone who knows me knows, it’s not usually what’s in the drink, it’s the color. Same goes for my cars and shoes but that’s another tale for another blog.
However, it wasn’t really lavender, so I’ve recovered from the blow. I don’t drink often enough to know what would be a good alternative – they had no mint, so Mojitos were out of the question. My other favorite drink is a very pretty bright blue and I can’t say the name without having to issue an adult content warning on my blog, but it rhymes with Adios RubberDucker. That hardly seemed a good idea on a work night. Kyle came to the rescue with the suggestion of a Cosmopolitan ($7), which immediately made me feel much more sophisticated, demure and exactly what a femme fatale would imbibe after laying down a perfect steamy Pink Panther routine. Never mind that the only thing fatal about me is the risk that I’ll inadvertently kick you during said routine… at any rate, I was delighted when I saw that my chosen drink was actually pink!
The drinks were pretty strong, and mine tasted just like pink lemonade so I may have drank it a wee bit too quickly. Thank goodness they brought us bread or we’d have been in trouble before we even ordered the rest of our meal! I may need to start switching to the virgin variety after this. At least on work nights!
The bread was nothing special but I included a photo because I liked it and so you can see glimpses of the nice linen tablecloth and napkins … this place is a little fancy, and the prices are definitely on the higher end. The entrees, salad, soups and sides are all ordered separately, and the entrees run from about $18 to $29, which really isn’t that bad for a higher end place. However, neither of us was in the mood for a really fancy heavy meal, so we opted to just order a few smaller items rather than a full meal. Plus I wanted to investigate the possibility of dessert. What’s the point of slinking around to get your metabolism up if you aren’t going to reap the rewards of dessert? None, say I.
There were some tempting numbers on the menu, though: Ravioli with Sunchokes ($18) (what’s a sunchoke anyway?), Pork Tenderloin and something called spoonbread ($24), NY Strip Steak with Garlic Smashed Fingerling Potatoes ($29), Crispy Duck Confit with Cider Reduction ($22), Osso Bucco (no idea – $29)). As an actress I almost longed to order some of these just so I could hear the words on the menu out loud, they seemed like they’d be fun to say. Veritable Quandary indeed.
We settled on a couple of appetizers and smaller side dishes. I ordered something called House Made Rabbit Pate with Toasted Brioche, served with Prune Vinaigrette, Two Mustards and House Pickled Cranberries (10). The only problem was I was already so tipsy from the drink that I may have murmured something like, “bunny spread” instead of all those lovely words rolling off my tongue when I ordered. The bacon wrapped around the bunny was a surprise and it turns out toasted brioche is not as neat as it might sound, buttery or salty crackers would have been just fine with me. I know culture is totally wasted on me. But it was the most lovely dish I think I’ve ever seen, so I took a lot of pictures.
If you’ve read my other posts, you will know how I feel about certain sauces. I ate all the condiments. Pate is more something you nibble at, I think, so I did – dipping it into the sauces, spreading it onto the bread. Rabbit pate isn’t exactly what I was expecting, it was firmer, less spreadable, however I”m not an expert. It tasted good, subtle, not a very strong taste which also was a surprise. I saved some of it to take home, however as it was very rich and filling.
Pam ordered the Duck Confit Spring Rolls ($9). I felt a little bit guilty, the whole Duck and Rabbit thing – I mean, neither of us have any kind of a vendetta against Easter or anything, it just sort of worked out that way. Typically she and I share our entrees, but we both liked these so much we didn’t even think to suggest trading bites until each of us were fairly stuffed with our own choices.
Pam ate every bit of the spring rolls. I warned her to pace herself because I was determined to have dessert – another reason we’d resisted the entrees. However she couldn’t resist and filled up on those, said they were very delicious.
The next items up were a soup and a salad. I had the Seafood Stew ($14) – absolutely wonderful and probably really healthy!
This dish features mussels, clams, prawns, calamari and fish. I was relieved no legs on the prawns, just tails. I probably shouldn’t admit this, but I’ve never eaten calamari when it wasn’t fried to a frizzle and doused in sauce, so I was impressed at how tasty it (they?) actually is (are?). Everything very good, not overcooked which of course is important with seafood. I think seafood is risky because it has to carry the dish, its not like chicken or beef where you can just saturate it in some other flavor and hope for the best. Seafood can be ruined by becoming rubbery or too dry, or on the other end too mushy. This was just perfect and I’d recommend it if you like seafood. I usually have it with pasta or some other dish, never had a stew or soup except clam chowder which is more like a gravy than a soup. This was another pleasant surprise.
Pam had the “Warm Chevre Crostini, Warm Hazelnuts, Local Apples and Pears” that featured a Honey Pepper vinaigrette ($10). It almost sounds like a dessert, doesn’t it?
Once again, we didn’t share bites so I can’t speak first hand but she said it was very good. She doesn’t always care for overly sweet salads but the Honey Pepper dressing gave it enough of a kick to balance out the sweetness of the fruit. She did decide that on top of the spring rolls it was also very filling. So she tried to back out of dessert. I was determined to at least try something off the menu. But I had the same dilemma. I was stuffed, still hadn’t quite finished my drink, was saving the rest of my pate for home. But the dessert offerings were numerous, puddings, homemade ice cream, sorbets, truffles, tiramisu, salted caramels … I convinced her to have some tea and a cookie plate – I mean, there’s always room for a cookie, am I right?
Again, perfect choice – the chocolate one’s were the best, they brought us tea in little white pots with these dainty little cookies. Just enough to soak up the remaining alcohol buzz and prepare us to re-enter the chilly fall night. Too bad I don’t have this quandary every night (I know, my puns are awful but I couldn’t resist)!