Our seven year anniversary. Seven years! Ok, it’s not that long compared to the marathon marriage my parents had, but still. Seven years has meant 1 dog, 3 kids, 3 residences, a career upgrade (him), a career departure (me), weight gain, weight loss (sadly, more gain than loss), and going from a coupe, to a four door, to a mini-van.
We decided to celebrate the evening at Quince, where I haven’t been since it was in the location now housing Baker & Banker. Quince moved long ago to the Jackson Square area, a nice area slightly removed from the Financial District. Along with the move, they’ve continued to garner accolades like Michael Tusk nabbing a James Beard Award for Best Chef, Pacific and they’ve produced a gorgeous casual offspring in the wonderful Cotogna. We knew we were in for a special treat at Quince; if nothing else, because the kids were at home with a babysitter and we both would have wine in hand.
The cuisine at Quince is Italian French. But I think of it more like Italian in its accessibility and French in its refinement. This food is seriously delicious and it’s also seriously elegant. This evening, I went for the four course menu and subbed the dessert for a cheese course (because, like my 4 year old likes to say, “I’m a genius” – cheese is always a win).
First course was salmon served two ways, a cured belly and tartar with cucumber water gelee. As I was eating, I kept debating which preparation I liked better. Both were refreshing and subtle and I found myself actively telling my head to shut up and just eat. That’s probably a sign of a pretty darn good dish, when everything on the dish is competing for first place.
A gift from the chef was next, the raviolo gigante della casa, housing four fillings in one raviolo. On top, the tomato, a ricotta middle, eggplant on the right, zucchini on the left, and corn on the bottom. My hands down favorite was the creamy, rich ricotta (cheese-whore), but the zesty tomato was so good that I made sure to save a bite of it so that I could end the entire dish with a bite of tomato. I loved this big ol’ raviolo. It was a bite of everything you could possibly want to taste, and the fact that it was all encompassed together in its raviolo walls made me want to take it home, name it, and consider it my fourth child (well, fifth, because I have this dog who I consider my child, because I am one of those crazies).
FYI, the husband was gifted with the tortellini with truffle and sunchoke. Also intoxicatingly delicious, but my schizophrenic mouth was pleased with receiving the raviolo and its multitude of tastes.
Since there’s no such thing as too much pasta, I continued with the fagotelli with lobster and nasturtium. The fagotelli was nice and all, but oh, that broth…or sauce…or whatever it was, it was lobster-iffic.
Lamb in two variations, Japanese eggplant, fried green tomato, and tropea onion mostarda. I could have used some additional seasoning on the eggplant, but I think its blank canvas nature was there simply to serve as a backdrop for some phenomenal lamb. Oh, and if you’re wondering, when I ate the fried green tomatoes, I had no idea (as I didn’t remember from the menu) what I was eating. Is that bad? To just eat and not know what you’re eating? I suppose not…unless you’re in rural China.
Cheese plate! I tend to get overwhelmed by cheese carts, as everything sounds good to me. So I typically just ask for recommendations, setting some limitations (like, I don’t love goat cheese, so I’d much rather get a sheep and cow cheese, along with a blue cheese).
For dessert, the Frog Hollow Farm peach, with blackberry, almond, and lemon verbena cream. The lemon verbena is prevalent, which didn’t bother me but could be overwhelming to those who are perfume sensitive. But it’s not a substantial dessert — probably a good thing after a pasta-rich meal.
Quince is lovely. It’s a quiet refined meal that doesn’t turn away the tourist in jeans, the 10 top of businessmen with their jackets thrown back on their chairs, the foreign family trying to manage through the cheese cart, or the couple celebrating their 7th anniversary. From my hazy recollection, Quince is far improved from what it was when I visited it way back when. The price point seems more reasonable (still expensive, but perhaps a little more bang for your buck), the food took a slightly French twist, and the pastas are as good as I recall. Despite a stodgier location, and perhaps clientele, the service is still warm, friendly and totally welcoming. It was a lovely way to celebrate a lucky year anniversary.
So my husband bought me this fantastic anniversary gift that involves wine, which I reveal at another time because it’s so spectacular that I have to post about it separately. Later, when I apologized to him that I didn’t get him a gift or a card, I also surmised how sad it was that neither of us even exchanged cards. But then he said there was a card with my present! I missed it somehow! So I asked him what he said in it…And this is what (he said) it said: “No seven year itch but a huge thirst for your love” (the word “thirst” really referring to my gift). My husband is neither particulary poetic nor particularly romantic. So it just goes to show you that even after seven years of marriage, there are still some delightful surprises.
Or he was just trying to get laid.
Bauer’s two cents here.