Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘souffle’

What’s a girl to do on Halloween? There’s the ‘stay home and pass out candy’ option…been there, done that. The ‘go to a party’ option…didn’t know of any. Or—this year, at least—there was the ‘go to the opera’ option. Ding ding ding!

Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House

Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House, Dallas

While not a huge opera aficionado but I do enjoy a well-sung aria and this weekend’s offering was Anna Bolena. You may know her as Anne Boleyn, one of Henry VIII’s ill-fated wives and mother of Elizabeth I.

After successfully supplanting Henry’s first wife, Catherine of Aragon, and causing one of the biggest church splits in the history of, well, church, Anne achieved her heart’s desire and became Queen of England. Unfortunately for her, now that Henry has figured out wives are disposable, he’s ready to move on to Contestant #3 in the royal lottery, Jane Seymour.

That’s where our story begins. Anna Bolena is an opera by Donizetti and clearly written for a non-English crowd. I’m not just talking about the language, either, there are several little slams at England and protestantism in the text. But never mind, it’s a good–if not necessarily accurate–story.

Inside the hall

Note the chandelier--it rises into the ceiling before the show

Our seats were what we call at Women of Faith “the heavenlies” and in the opera are known as “the gods”. In other words, we were just below the celing. The seats were comfortable enough, and steeply raked so we could see over of the people below us. The sound was excellent. Unfortunately, the set designer apparently didn’t care about the likes of us as anytime someone appeared on the upper level of the set (which happened often) they appeared headless. Considering Ms. Boleyn’s ultimate fate, perhaps that was unintentional foreshadowing.

Denyce Graves sang the role of Jane Seymour, the conflicted (and somewhat gutless) woman who was simultaneously Anne’s friend and Henry’s lover. Poor Denyce appeared to be in some distress as her normally flawless voice was husky at the beginning and downright pained at the end. (I could feel her throat hurting; my own vocal cords flinched in sympathy.)

Soprano Hasmik Papian did a fine job as Anna but tenor Stephen Costello’s voice shone the brightest, imo. Bass Oren Gradus made a delightfully evil Henry; given some of the later portly portraits of the old boy it was pretty funny to see him constantly snacking while others sang around him.

All that drama required an equally dramatic dinner afterward. Our little group was unanimous: Rise. We inhaled the cheese plate before I snapped a picture, but next came the crab & Boursin cheese souffle and the artichoke souffle…
souffles
Followed by the Grand Marnier souffle…

Grand Marnier souffle

Light, creamy, just a hint of orange...perfect

Betrayal, beheading, and souffle: just the ingredients needed for an excellent Halloween.

Read Full Post »

Rise No. 1

Several weeks ago my friend, Ryan, told a bunch of us that we “HAD” to go to this great new restaurant. And we had to sit at this special table. And we had to go together so we could try everybody else’s food. Then he sent a meeting request and made it official…which is how, last night, I came to be with five friends at what is now my new favorite restaurant of all time.

Rise restaurant in Inwood Village, Dallas, TX

Rise restaurant in Inwood Village, Dallas, TX

Rise. They make soufflés (get it?). But before we even get to the food, let’s just chat about the décor. It’s dark, cozy, and environmentally friendly in the most beautiful way. The walls aren’t painted, they’re covered in colored glaze. The glasses are chopped-off wine bottles. The plates are recycled glass. The atmosphere is fantastic. Walking in there was like leaving Texas behind and travelling to a far-away land. It was totally ro-tic. (That’s “romantic” without the “man”.)

Rise interior

Rise interior

We did score the ‘special table’ right in front of the kitchen, surrounded by a stone wall topped with birch trees wrapped in white lights. It was like having the place all to ourselves—the other diners (and they were many) stayed outside our sacred grove. Occasionally a server would walk by with a soufflé and we all stopped to sniff the fragrant air left in their wake.

 The chandelier over our table, made from antique wine bottles.

The chandelier over our table, made from antique wine bottles.

Everything on the menu looked amazing. We started with a selection of cheeses from their board. Our favorite was the house-made variety, redolent of lemon and lavender. Put that on a crusty bit of bread and top with a bit of quince paste…mmmmm. Half the fun was watching our server (I didn’t get her name, but she was fantastic) use the fancy cheese shave called a “girolle” which spun a blade gently around the top of a round cheese, creating beautiful fans of paper-thin cheese.

Rise's cheese cart

Rise's cheese cart

Then there were the starters; I went for “marshmallow” soup a red pepper cream bowl of goodness with three baby cheese soufflés floating happily in the top. Since we both hate to miss out on anything, Kim ordered the salad and we switched halfway through. The pecan vinaigrette was amazing.

“Marshmallow” soup

“Marshmallow” soup

Then the soufflés arrived. Mindful of our gustatory limits, Kim and I shared the crab soufflé (a special that night); it tasted like an amazing crab dip, only better. As we’re all friends of the foodie variety, spoons were soon darting around the table dipping into everyone else’s offerings. Check out the lobster soufflé shared by Marilyn and Micah: 1.5 pounds of lobster baked in a soufflé right in the lobster shell. It was downright decadent. It was huge, too…but I noticed it all disappeared by the end of the night.

 Lobster soufflé

Lobster soufflé

You didn’t think we’d let any of that precious lobster go to waste, did you?

Ryan fishing for that last bite

Ryan fishing for that last bite


Naturally, we had to have dessert. We had (between us all) soufflés of chocolate, bread pudding (seriously), Grand Marnier, and whatever it was I ordered—can’t remember the name, but it was made with cranberries and champagne and, just as our server promised, “tasted like fall.”

Dessert soufflé—note the ghostly pitcher pouring cranberry champagne crème anglaise. My camera doesn’t like the dark, sorry.

Dessert soufflé—note the ghostly pitcher pouring cranberry champagne crème anglaise. My camera doesn’t like the dark, sorry.

It was a fabulous dinner. Good friends, good food, good times. If you’re in the Dallas area and want to get away from it all for a couple of hours, I highly recommend Rise. It probably won’t be the least expensive meal you’ve ever eaten, but it will be one of the best. (If you show a little more restraint than my group, the cost shouldn’t be that bad.) Rise is located at Suite 220, Inwood Village, Dallas, Texas.

Read Full Post »