Saturday, March 14, 2009


So I've been a BIT obsessed with Gordon Ramsay lately. I went from never, ever watching any of his shows to DVR'ing all of the foul-mouthed, obnoxious chef's shows, from Kitchen Nightmares to F Word. Even when he's being his absolute rudest, I can't help but like him. And sometimes giggle. (Really, he's not anyone I'd like in real life, but as a Character, he's the perfect escapist TV).

Anyway, I recently went to the new White Elephant in downtown Augusta--and couldn't help thinking "What would Gordon Ramsay do?" And not because the food's bad. It's interesting. So interesting that you think to yourself, "Is this really going to be good?" And it surprises you that it really is. (Kind of like some of the food GR critiques on his shows).

I had a gabby lunch with a friend the other day and ordered the Thai chicken salad expecting grilled chicken, peanut sauce and greens. Even though I read the words "mango sorbet" with the description. Somehow my brain couldn't compute a Thai salad with a sorbet. But it arrived, greens drizzled with a sweet Asian glaze, delicate little chunks of chicken breaded and deep fried and carefully placed at the four corners of the plate, and the scoop of sorbet gracing the center. "What IS that?" asked my friend. "Umm, sorbet, I think," I said, tasting a bit with the spoon. I'm not used to food that makes you think--this did, and surprisingly, the cold, fruity sorbet, melting into a sauce, melded perfectly with the salad and dressing and chicken.

Sean and I went back for dinner. Knowing my weakness for foie gras, he pointed out the special on the blackboard--foie gras with homemade banana bread and candied pecans. "I didn't think it would be good," admitted Sean. But because my husband is the most indulgent, we ordered it. It came--triangles of toasted banana bread ("my mother's recipe," said the manager, whose brother is head chef) topped with the grilled foie gras, and circled with a sprinkling of candied pecans. Who would ever think of that combination? Sean got the first bite--and was amazed. The bread was chewy and sweet, the foie gras light and salty and the pecans crisp--a perfect combination of contrasting flavors and textures.

The White Elephant was packed that night--and we spied two other local restauranteurs dining there with their families. The restaurant's future seemed a little uncertain when it entered its now third reincarnation--but what would Gordon Ramsay do? Judging from the innovative dishes we had tonight--not much.

Gotta Love Some Freebies

Sean and I contributed to the economic stimulus of downtown Augusta today thanks to the "A Brand New Deal" coupon book. Who can pass up freebies? We went to Art on Broad for a candle, saw everyone going coupon crazy, bought one of the bright yellow coupon books and brightened up the dreary, drizzly afternoon by picking up free art prints, free Cokes, free bars of soap, free plants, candies, shampoo samples and more and buying more soap, candles and an Asian-inspired purse. So now I'm basking in the scent of our rosemary peppermint candle and enjoying the view of our new "Bees Knees" print while sitting on our couch and watching Star Wars. And thinking of my new almost-favorite store, the Quilt Shop on the Corner. I love the feel and look of new fabric on bolts and wish, wish, wish I could sew. They're setting up sewing classes, so looks like I might have a new activity!