Daily Archives: April 30, 2010

The Dogwood: A Review

I will warn you that there are NO pictures from my visit to The Dogwood restaurant in Hampden.  However, if there were photos, you would see mostly senior citizens in the background.

Jeremy and I realized that we have the same eating schedules as most grandparents.  We’re hungry early and we want to eat, dammit. 

So for our 3-year anniversary, we wanted to try something new.  Since we’re both vegetarians now (I can’t express how thrilled I am that Jeremy converted) – we wanted to go somewhere that offered more than 1 vegetarian entree… because sharing your meal is a part of the fun.  Hello?

The Dogwood was also appealing to me because of their “mission” (taken directly from their website):

Food

With a respect for classical technique and a love of straightforward food, The Dogwood lets the ingredients sing with its Sustainable American Cuisine.

We cook with the seasons and feature the finest local and natural ingredients, sourcing from sustainable, artisanal, and organic producers whenever possible.

The Dogwood is community gourmet. We develop relationships and opportunity by preparing, learning about, and sharing outstanding food and wine (and our knowledge about them).

I also learned, after the fact, their “social mission” is to “transform lives one plate at a time by providing training opportunity and paid employment to individuals who are transitioning from addiction, incarceration, homelessness, and/or underemployment.”  Someone said the idea of that might have freaked them out – but I didn’t even realize.  Every staff member that approached our table was fabulous and friendly.

So what did we eat?

Appetizers:

  • Grilled Olive Tapenade & Hummus – flatbread and crudites $5.25
  • Trio of Tuscarora Organic Beets – red beet ‘tartare’, herb creme fraiche, cider pickled golden beets, Chiogga candy striped beets, frisee lettuce and Rogue’s Smokey Blue cheese crostini  $11

It was all very good.  Jeremy was starving because he apparently skipped lunch so he devoured everything.  I had a few bits as well.  They also brought out Irish Soda Bread.  I’d never had that before either and it was awesome.

Entrees:

  • Forbidden Rice ’Risotto’ with Roasted Squash Curry  - zucchini and yellow squash, organic black rice, mild curried coconut sauce with Vann’s spices, currants, toasted almonds and today’s vegetable $18
  • Spring Pea Risoto & Tuscarora Oyster Mushrooms
    garlic sauteed mushrooms, parmigiano reggianito, fresh spring peas, organic pea shoots $18

I ate the “forbidden” rice risotto and it was frickin’ awesome.  I believe it was vegan as well.  Fresh vegetables, delicious and light… oh, so good.

Jeremy also really enjoyed his Spring Pea dish.  I liked it but it was A LOT of cheese.  As a person who doesn’t eat a lot of cheese, I appreciate it in small doses.  Don’t get me wrong – it was still marvelous.

I also ordered a glass of wine.  They had a special going on for 20% off bottles of Pinot Noir and normally I would have jumped all over it but we had a bottle of wine to drink at home (that super special bottle).  So… I just got a glass.  I picked this wine from their menu because it was under the section “Different (Which We Love)”:

Steele Vineyards Shooting Star 2008 Blue Franc (Lemberger, Blaufrankisch) (Yakima Valley, Washington State) 8/31

It was fruity.  And good. 

However, they had a few drinks on their drink menu that caught my eye (and are enticing enough for me to want to go back JUST to try these drinks):

  • The Dogwood, Springtime
    our signature cocktail: citrus-infused Prairie vodka, couintreau, splash of Campari, agave nectar, pomegranate juice and a splash of fresh lemon juice, topped with Prosecco, garnished with a cucumber round and a lemon twist, served over ice, sangria-style in a wine glass, 10
  • Death in the Afternoon
    the perfect amuse bouche: sparkling Cava with 21st century absinthe, in honor of Ernest Hemingway and the Pamplona running of the bulls he made famous. (Viva la celebracion!), 9
  • The Phoenix
    prosecco, splash of vodka, splash of St-Germaine Ederflower liqueur, garnished with a sprig of organic thyme (To second chances and to rising from the ashes), 9

Overall – I would highly recommend this place to anyone.  And if you go for dinner around 6:30pm (like we did) – you’ll be dining amongst senior citizens.  And I’m cool with that.

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