Monday, January 25, 2010

Silk Elephant / Te Cafe

Last Saturday we were out most of the morning and afternoon doing errands. We got home around 4 pm and unloaded the car and then we had the usual "What's for dinner?" conversation.

We frequently have this conversation for both cooking at home and dining out. It usually goes something like this:

"What/where do you want to do/go for dinner?"
"I don't know. What/where do you want to do/go?"
"I asked you first."
"But I don't know."
"Do you want to stay in Robinson or venture elsewhere?"
"I don't know... what do you think traffic will be like? Is there a Steelers/Pirates/Pitt/Penguins game?"

We started the conversation around 5 pm, so already a few places were ruled out, like Cheesecake Factory and Fat Heads (both would already be extremely crowded and have long waits). There was a brief discussion about how much we wanted to spend, followed by a realization that a lot of our 'To Try' places as well as 'favorite' places need a reservation plus we weren't dressed appropriately (jeans and t-shirts are not appropriate for Eleven or Casbah). I didn't want Indian or Chinese. SP sort of wanted pizza, but we weren't sure where to go to sit and have pizza and not feel like a fast food experience or a dining experience with many small children...

Finally around 5:30 we decided to head to Squirrel Hill and eat at either Silk Elephant or Gullifty's followed by tea at Te Cafe. On the drive, Silk Elephant won because we figured Gullifty's was more likely to be filled with college students.

We both really like Silk Elephant. We last were there in September (blog post here). I ordered the exact same drink and tapas dishes as last time, but I took photos anyway since I had Elf with me and Elf takes better photos than my cell phone.

I again had a glass of the Arrogant Frog Viognier/Chardonnay blend. So good. SP ordered a martini. I teased him that he was losing man points for getting a girlie drink! He got the Ginger Lemon Drop martini, with honey and lemongrass in it. I had a sip and thought it was horrible; SP really liked it.For something new, SP ordered the Bangkok Tail Salad: shredded carrot and papaya tossed with lime chili vinaigrette and topped with grilled shrimp. It came in a martini glass!It was tasty. The shrimp had a lovely grilled taste. The dressing had settled in the bottom of the glass, so by eating off the top part I avoided too much spiciness. Eventually, SP dumped it out on a plate. We both enjoyed it.

As usual, I ordered 5 tapas total. SP ordered the salad and 2 other tapas dishes. The first tapas to arrive were the Silk Elephant Rolls (cucumber, lettuce, carrot, cream cheese, crab meat in a rice wrapper with sweet chili sauce) and the pork & shrimp dumplings with ginger-sesame-soy sauce. I love the ginger-sesame-soy sauce. I also really enjoy the cool rice wrapper filled with cream cheese and crab meat. No photo of the Silk Elephant rolls - the photo turned out blurry, probably because I moved I moved the camera when I snapped the photo. Oops.

Our remaining tapas arrived together:

A special of the day, Grape Leaves Stuffed with Ground Lamb:I'm not sure what the lamb was seasoned with, but it was delicious and warming. The mustard-mayo-dill sauce was an excellent compliment.

Shrimp & Pork Toast:I am always surprised by how much I enjoy the Shrimp & Pork Toast because the top of each toast is completely coated with sesame seeds and I usually do not like a strong sesame taste, which is what I expect from seeing so many sesame seeds, but somehow it's not overpowering and it's simply delicious fried goodness!

Thai Crab Crowns:Crab meat and cream cheese in a fried wonton-- what's not to like?!

Chicken Kabob:I took a photo of the dismantled kabob on my plate. The chicken kabobs have a lovely sauce on the chicken plus each skewer has a bit of grilled onion, grilled carrot, and grilled green pepper and there's a ball of sticky rice with it and the sticky rice is very tasty.

Chili Paste Crowned Scallops:I didn't try these because of the chili paste, but SP said they were excellent. They must have been - one second I was taking the photo and the next second they were gone!

Another delicious meal at Silk Elephant. We always find the service excellent as well. The finished tapas plates are cleared in a timely fashion but we never feel like they are hovering, waiting to swoop in and clear plates. Our server was very friendly and caught me taking photos - oops! So much for being sneaky!!! I blurted out something about having a food blog - I was embarrassed I got caught taking photos!! The dishes are all lovely in presentation, too. And I like that our server came over as were getting situated at the table, brought water, and said she'd give us time to look over the wine and drinks lists. I always get kind of annoyed when servers expect you to order your wine/cocktail right away - how do I know what kinds they have when I just sat down?!After dinner, we walked a few blocks to Te Cafe, a tea placed I have blogged about several times before. The last time we were there was on Black Friday in November. This time I chose an orange apricot tea and SP chose a white peony tea. I also, surprise surprise, got a cinnamon biscotti. We relaxed at a table and I read the newspaper and a magazine while SP read a book and played with the Droid.A wonderful date evening.

1 comment:

  1. "And I like that our server came over as were getting situated at the table, brought water, and said she'd give us time to look over the wine and drinks lists. I always get kind of annoyed when servers expect you to order your wine/cocktail right away - how do I know what kinds they have when I just sat down?!"

    -- AMEN to that! Personal pet peeve of mine as well. Everything looks so delish!

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