Last night, Jason and I had a double-date at a Mandolin in Raleigh. This restaurant has been on my must-try list since it opened in 2011. It’s in a part of town we don’t get to much so on those nights when we’re wandering downtown looking for a place we can agree on, Mandolin doesn’t immediately come to mind. It’s a farm-to-table Southern eatery, which was immediately appealing to me, being as my stomach growls for all food Southern. As expected, the prices are on the higher side because of their use of local and fresh ingredients, especially meat. There were a lot of amazing options to chose from but I ultimately ended up with Chicken and Dumplings, one of my top three Southern dishes.
Mandolin’s Chicken and Dumplings were made up of Braised Ashley Farms Chicken, Brussels Sprouts, Rutabaga, Celery, Carrots, and Drop Biscuits. I know many people are not fans of Brussels sprouts (I love them!) but overall, I thought the introduction of them into this dish was perfection. The biscuits were just the right consistency to soak up the flavor of the dish without becoming soggy. It wasn’t hard to eat every last bit of this.
For dessert, I ordered the Strawberry Fantastique (Local Strawberries, Strawberry Biscuits, Buttermilk Ice Cream, and Cookie Crumble). This was a great twist on the classic shortbread with the introduction of the strawberry biscuits. You can never have too much strawberry in a strawberry shortcake! I do feel that the dish needed more ice cream. It melted a little quickly and I was left eating the biscuits with only the strawberries. Next time I think I’ll be ordering the chocolate torte.
Hopefully this has your mouth watering so here are a few suggestions on how you can make your week a yummy one:
1. This week, June 2-8, we celebrate Triangle Restaurant Week here in Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, and surrounding towns. The idea behind restaurant week is to get the community out and trying new and amazing food from local eateries. Depending on the restaurant, there is a 3-course pre-fixe menu either $20 or $30 per person. I also pick places I’ve never been before, which makes the whole experience a little more fun for me. It also entices me to come back for their regular menu items! To make reservations, head over to Open Table to view the participating restaurants and their availability.
2. If you’re not in the Triangle, take this week to get to that restaurant you’ve been dying to try. Make an impromptu girls night or date night and celebrate with great food and awesome company. You can also find out when the closest restaurant week to you happens and plan ahead.
3. Pick a fun recipe and go for it! I’ve always wanted to spend a day working on a delicious creation that would blow anyone away. Find a recipe you’ve had your eye on trying for a while and make it your own. Use fresh ingredients, make your own sauces, and learn new techniques. Invite some friends over and pick up a few bottles of wine for a fun night in.
What will you do to make your week yummy? Bon apetit! — Annie