Oct 21, 2012

Two food comas within one week…life is good.

September was a big month for us as far as celebrations go. Within one week of each other, we celebrated Jared’s 30th Birthday and our 2nd year anniversary as a married couple. I know this is long overdue, but I wanted to share with you where we dined for both occasions. For Jared’s birthday, we went to a favorite of ours, Tarrant’s Cafe in downtown, Richmond. For our 2nd year anniversary, we wanted to stick with tapas and Spanish food since we went to Spain for our honeymoon. However, we tried something different since the place we wanted to go to had a private event. We went to Mezzanine in Carytown, which happened to be a new favorite (when we have money) Haha.

Tarrant’s Cafe is not knew to us at all. We’ve eaten here several times and every time, the food never disappoints. They serve a variety of classics with twist. They have a strong Richmond following. It’s always crowded so I suggest reservations.

We started with ordering soups since it was a pretty gloomy day. The She Crab soup is a favorite of the locals. Sadly, I wasn’t too much of a fan. Don’t get me wrong, it was good, but my one big issue with it was the strong alcohol taste it had. It was probably the sherry or liquor in the soup that overpowered the whole thing. I couldn’t even finish it and passed it along to Jared, who didn’t seem to mind.

Jared ordered their soup of the day, which was hearty and filling on a cold, rainy day. We don’t remember what it was, but it was a cross between a soup and a chowder.

With our meal, we got toasted bread soaked in deliciousness of garlic, herbs and olive oil.  This was great to dip into our soup. I could have eaten all four pieces by myself!

And the real reason we decided to come to Tarrant’s Cafe was to try their infamous chicken and waffles. Before we ordered, we thought we’d get maybe 2 pieces of fried chicken with a plain, thin waffle. Boy were we wrong. Our waitress set our plates in front of us and we were both floored. What came out was three huge pieces of chicken (a leg, thigh and breast) on top of a freshly cooked, thick Belgian waffle. We were in heaven. Just look at how much you get for less than $16!

The chicken and waffles came with freshly cooked green beans that were perfectly seasoned. There was also this syrup that was both savory and sweet. We found out it was a combination of maple syrup, tahini and whole-grain mustard. Who knew that combination would work so well. So, even though we tried to finish our plates, we honestly couldn’t. Jared even had to throw in the towel. We had leftovers for lunch the next day, which made us even happier.

Within the same week, Jared and I celebrated our 2-year anniversary! We really ate pretty damn good that week. We decided to go to Mezzanine because our first choice fell through and I saw they had a Living Social coupon. $20 for $40 worth of food, not bad at all. I’m really glad our first choice didn’t work out because Mezzanine was a pleasant surprise. Hands down, it was by far the tastiest food I’ve had in a while. There’s something about this place that made us not care about how much we spent because the food was THAT good. The quality, the flavors were impeccable.

First on the list, order the cheapest bottle of red they had one the menu. It was infact cheaper than buying by the glass. This was a solid Pinot Noir, light and crisp.

We ordered the fried green tomatoes appetizer, which came with a red onion vinaigrette crab salad. The fried green tomatoes were exactly how I would cook them. They were sliced thickly, the exterior was super crispy. It was fantastic. The only thing I hesitate about this appetizer was the dressing, I wish there was more of it. The crab salad was a nice addition, but it was on the dry side. Just needed more sauce!

We ordered two small plates and shared between the two of us. The first plate was braised short ribs with a hoisin jus over top Byrdmill grits. We were both speechless. What else can I say about this perfect dish? It was buttery, tender, silky, flavorful, moist, sweet, succulent, rich and amazing. It was perfection on a plate. I don’t even think we said a word to each other since we were so focused on our meal! Haha. You know the food is good when it’s quite.

What could probably top the braised short ribs was their Carolina shrimp and grits. Seriously, I have never tasted something so delicious and so flavorful. I think Jared and I were fighting for the last bite. It was THE best meal I think I’ve ever had. It was certainly one of those kind of meals that leaves a mark. It was the kind of meal I live for.

We finished our meal with my favorite dessert, creme brulee. A nice finishing to end our dinner. All in all, our tab was a little high than we wanted to spend. But with a living social coupon and the fact that the food was INCREDIBLE, I couldn’t care less. Thank you Mezzanine for a memorable food experience!

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