Saturday, January 7, 2012
Last night I ended my work week with a spontaneous trek with Erin from her northside home to Tastebuds American Bistro on Macarthur Ave. After a day of digging, lopping and mulching in the garden, I was ready for a little respite. We arrived at Tastebuds right at five o'clock just as they were opening. The wait staff was sitting at the bar rolling napkins, and the owner dimmed the lights to proper dinner atmosphere levels just as we approached the bar. Still, they didn't miss a beat. They welcomed us, and made room for us at the bar. We were after one of their lovely cocktails and were well rewarded. The owner took his time with us, tailoring cocktails for us, a couple of gals who wanted all the flavors and fun of the cocktail without the sweet. Mine was an amazing combination of gin, with house made grapefruit "marmalade"and cardamom essence. The owner explained in detail how he created each of his ingredients and even altered what I already thought was a perfect concoction with a touch more cardamom just for fun. Of course, it got even better. He explained to us that since he wasn't working in the kitchen as a cook anymore, he liked playing around with flavors and ingredients in the specialty drinks. We sat and ordered a Margherita pizza, (one of the best around I think), and watched the place fill up. We even were so very lucky as to receive a small complementary, and absolutely delicious plate of olive tapenade and goat cheese crostini just as the first dinner guests began to arrive. The perfect start to a winter's weekend. Thanks Tastebuds!