I joined Groupon a couple of months ago and the first thing I bought was a Datz http://www.datz.com/ Chef's Kitchen lunch. Sounded interesting. Only 12 spots available 5 days a week and the chef prepares a special meal just for those lucky 12. Not reading the not so fine print, John and I trundled our happy butts down there one day and come to find out, ressies are required. Yep. Right there in black and white that I didn't read. Two people were late, so the mgr gave us their seats. We sit down and proceed to nosh on the appetizer that everybody else was already finished with and lo...the "fashionably late" (my read. Rude and inconsiderate asses) show up 30 minutes past the time that lunch was supposed to start. So we gave them their seats and we went and ate in the dining room. No great loss. I got my pastrami sammy and got a half doz of their oh so fab half sour pickles to bring home. And I'm not even telling about the three that I ate while we were there! So I came home that afternoon, went online and booked our 2 seats for today. Two months ago. That's how "in demand" the Chef's Kitchen seating is. And once you eat, you understand why. Chef Nikki was our most personable host. There were four no-shows. (My read again. Inconsiderate rude asses!) We started with a wonderful cheese plate. The cheese is called No Woman. Seriously! Damn good cheese! We bought some to bring home it's so good. Some bitty bite-size toasts that had a fancy-schmancy name, but I don't remember it! And some wonderful roasted in olive oil skinned almonds that were then sprinkled with sea salt. They were yummy too!
Our lunch was "street food"; grilled and roasted in the oven chicken served on pita bread with rice and caramelized onions, crumbled feta cheese and "crack sauce" based on traditional Greek tzaziki sauce. Greek yogurt with shredded cuke, chopped mint and a bit of mayo. I could have just let Chef Nikki put THAT on my finger and eaten it all day! Then dessert was Baklava with honey and chopped mint with a strawberry garnish. Didn't like that at all. No sir-ee! Not one little bit. I keed! I kid! Baklava and I have been friends since I was a wee child. Back when dirt was a baby! Being raised so close to Tarpon Springs and the Greek community and dad having gone to school with all of the Pappas boys, Pappas Restaurant was like a home away from home for us! I actually only ate one of my two pieces and since John is not a big sweets fan ('cept for me of course!), I got to bring his home so I have his full dessert plus one piece of mine! John did eat the strawb's! Chef Nikki also served a cucumber martini. Neither of us are gin fans. I think it's the juniper. I tried it. I wasn't impressed. Nothing personal Chef!
And of course, since we drove all that way! (it's about 35 miles one way for us and having to take a second mortgage any more to put gas in the tank) I couldn't go without bringing home a pastrami sammy for me! I wrap it in aluminum foil and heat it in the oven for about 20 min and it's wonderful. And a half dozen half sour pickles. And a couple of macaroons which were new since the last time we were there. And some pink salt caramels. And the cheese. So glad I had those half off coupons for the Chef's Kitchen from Groupon!! I vertainly made up for it, and then some!
We'll do the Chef's Kitchen again. I'd like to see what other creations Chef Nikki has up her sleeve.
As we were leaving, I go to start the truck and there's a loquat tree right smack in front of the truck! How I missed it on the way in I have NO idea! My maternal grandparents had one as you turned off the main road into their driveway when I was growing up. Every year it was us kids job to climb up in the tree and pick the loquats as they got ripe and Nana would either make jam with them or just put them up in some sugar water. Then we'd have loquats all year round. Course it was kinda like the mulberry tree that was across the road from their place. We'd eat a few. Put a few in the bucket. Eat a few. Put a few in the bucket. Same when we'd go to the strawberry fields over in Plant City after the workers were done. Three strawberries for me. One for the bucket! Anyway!! I thought I was full. I didn't think I could eat anything else. I was wrong! Last time I had loquats was when we were in Japan in 2003. We were at mom's favorite Uncle's Temple and we had been treated to afternoon tea by the family and some friends. As we were leaving, I spotted a loquat tree across the parking lot. I high-tailed it over and the Japanese family was amazed that not only did this American girl who was married to Yaeko-san's son know what a loquat was, but more-so, how to eat them! They are considered a "trash" tree in Japan. Most people don't eat the fruit. They have a skin that you have to peel off. There is very little fruit, rather there are 3 or 4 large seeds in the center. But I can tell you that they are worth the little bit of effort is you ever get the chance!
Thank you again, Chef Nikki for a most enjoyable lunch. We'll see you again soon.