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04 November 2006

November at Impromptu


gluten-free onion tart, originally uploaded by shaunaforce.

Happiness is marrying a Chef who makes all the food for a glorious little restaurant. And after he falls in love with you, and starts to understand the effects of gluten on those who cannot eat it, he decides to make the damned fine food he makes gluten-free, where possible. Happiness is watching him tackle this little challenge, month after month, when he re-invents the menu whole cloth (depending on the wine region of the world the restaurant is featuring), and not see making gluten-free food as an obstacle, but as a chance to learn. A chance to become even better at what he loves.

Happiness is watching people come into his restaurant and eat his food. Most of them simply think they are eating incredible food. Some of them tell him it is the best meal they have ever eaten in their lives. But a few of them -- and increasingly more every week -- come in because they are seeking out food they can eat without worry of growing sick. They look at the menu, and notice the little sign on the bottom, and sigh with pleasure that almost every single item on the entree list is a gluten-free meal. Some of them have not eaten in a restaurant in five years, for fear of cross-contamination. Some of them cannot believe their luck. The Chef comes out of his tiny kitchen to peer around the corner at the diners, craning his neck to see every plate, verifying that they are all empty. Happiness is watching him, knowing that he does all this so he can give people joy.

Happiness is marrying the Chef, who is making the following menu at Impromptu Bistro this month....

FIRST COURSE

IMPROMPTU SOUP OF THE DAY
let me tell you, his soups make me faint

MIXED GREEN SALAD
with soft chevre and champagne vinaigrette

PATE DU JOUR
have you ever had a chicken liver custard?

RUSTIC MEAT POT PIE
with autumn vegetables

PENN COVE MUSSELS

with rosemary, Dijon mustard, and cream

SMOKED TROUT

with wasbi, lemon, and sour cream

CHEESE PLATE

you can order this without the crackers and have it be gluten-free

SECOND COURSE


ROASTED CHICKEN BREAST
stuffed with sautéed mushrooms, goat cheese and spinach; potato puree; carrot sauce

WILD KING SALMON
served with sautéed boy choy, aromatic black rice, and a tamari aioli

VEAL MEATLOAF
served with macaroni and cheese (gluten-free on request) and arugula

SEARED LAMB CHOPS
served with couscous, grapes, slivered almonds, and a curry sauce

BEEF TENDERLOIN
served with an onion tart and a blue cheese dressing

PASTA OF THE DAY

FISH OF THE DAY


DESSERTS



GINGER CREME BRULEE

FLOURLESS WALNUT CAKES

CHOCOLATE PANCAKES WITH HONEY ICE CREAM



A few notes from me....

I have eaten almost everything on this menu, because he tries them out on us at home, first, to decide if he wants to serve it to his patrons. Oh, yes.

Anything baked, floured, or made into a pastry, he has made gluten-free. The tart you see pictured above? It's a gluten-free crust. He worked from a recipe I concocted, with his help, and it is soft, flaky, and the perfect accompaniment to the sweetness of those carmelized onions. No one would know it's gluten-free, except for those of us who need to know. He uses black rice flour to dredge the wild salmon, rice flour and sorghum flour to make the chocolate pancakes, and gluten-free breadcrumbs to make the veal meatloaf. (Oh baby, the meatloaf.)

If you really want the pasta of the day, he has gluten-free pasta in the back. And if you want the lamb, but cannot have the couscous, I am sure he would love to make you up some quinoa instead.

In short, he rocks.

Can you see why I'm marrying him?

8 Comments:

At 5:51 PM, Blogger cookiecrumb said...

It's just good business sense, too. I don't avoid gluten, but I'd have absolutely no qualms dining at a good restaurant that serves gluten-free dishes. And I'd eat them.
Then, of course, you'd have that whole other, grateful clientele.
Know what else? It's just so groovy, trendy, to experiment with alternative ingredients and flavors. Black rice flour? Awesome!

 
At 12:24 PM, Blogger Rachael said...

Have I mentioned lately that I sincerely believe you are, in fact, the cutest thing EVER. Ths is just too great.
You are like a one woman PR extravaganza.
I adore you!!!!
(In a totally, non-stalker kinda way...)
:-)

xoxox
Rachael

 
At 3:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Really, really wishing I lived anywhere near Seattle right now!

Am I losing it? I could have sworn I saw a gorgeous picture of granola earlier today...

 
At 5:00 PM, Blogger Shauna said...

Cookiecrumb,

I agree. The Chef just loves playing with food he has never cooked before. That's one of the reasons I love him. And that black rice flour is kick ass!

Rachael,

I know. I keep thinking I should stop promoting him so much, but I just love the man. Besides, the bulk of my food day is made by him, even spooned into my mouth by him. I'm so hard at work on the book that I don't have time to cook as much as I want. So, I promote him. (Besides, everyone really should come to his restaurant!)

I adore you too, my dear .

Sheri,

Granola is back. Blogger went haywire for an hour.

 
At 11:23 AM, Blogger Kevin J. Bowman said...

After this post I want to marry him too despite that I am a happily married straight man.

Seriously, I am sooooo wanting to come visit my friends in Seattle and spend a few meals at "the chef's" restraunt!

I agree with Rachael, too.... Reading your blog makes me happy! You love life! Thanks for being great!

KjB

 
At 8:19 PM, Blogger celticjig said...

Ach! No fair, no recipe for the tart!!! I miss good old fashioned Zwiebelkuchen from Germany (college days) and this tart, if you add bacon, looks similar. I will try the granola recipe as soon as I get my hands on a can of oats. I too am searching for less expensive oats and am thinking of raiding the oats a cousin of mine harvests as a cover crop. Learning how to roll your own oats might be next on my list. Ah the new adventures in learning to cook all over again gluten free.

 
At 9:08 AM, Blogger Shauna said...

Kevin,

I read the first line of your comment to the Chef, and he laughed out loud. Good on you! Thanks for writing.

celticjig,

Ooh, this tart with bacon? I would definitely eat that! And I agree -- I love how this gluten-free diagnosis leads to adventures.

 
At 9:06 PM, Anonymous Seth and Merrie said...

Your PR work for Impromptu has paid off again.

Inspired by your descriptions, and longing for a divine safe meal, we decided to try out Impromptu. Our meal was amazing - I can't believe we'd never been before. My husband tried the onion tart, while I couldn't pass up the Meatloaf with Mac N Cheese. We followed up by trying chocolate pancakes and ginger creme brulee for dessert. We were in heaven. My husband kept repeating "Ginger Creme Brulee" all the way back home.

What made the meal for me was the Chef coming out and talking to us. The gluten free thing is obviously second nature to him now, and it shows in his menu. It almost seemed like there was no other way to cook with you in his life. The only other non-GF person I've seen take to the GF life so automatically out of love is my own husband.

For someone who has been GF most of her 30 years, it's really nice to have a meal out which will be remembered as amazing rather than gluten free.

Your Chef has loyal customers, and we will be bringing friends!

 

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