Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Hazelnut Kitchen

When we started researching restaurants for our vacation, we felt like we were going to have a difficult time finding places we would enjoy. There were 2 places we definitely wanted to try and figured we'd enjoy: Stonecat Cafe (which I wrote about yesterday) and Hazelnut Kitchen. We made reservations at Hazelnut Kitchen for Saturday evening.
Hazelnut Kitchen is in Trumansburg, which was about a 25-30 minute drive for us from our hotel in Ithaca. Trumansburg is another cute and quaint town in the Finger Lakes area. We parked and walked about a block to the restaurant. It's cheery and cozy inside. I loved the bread plates and the cloth napkins - SP had a different design on his bread plate and every table had different napkin designs.

The menu is pretty limited, with 5-6 first courses and 5-6 second courses, and frequently changes. The evening we dined there, they featured a special 3 course prix fixe menu with an optional cider pairing. SP Chose the prix fixe plus cider while I ordered off the printed menu.
As usual, I felt slightly disappointed with bottled, not fresh brewed, iced tea, but at least it was a good brand and unsweetened.
SP's first cider was served in a champagne flute. Eve's Cidery-Northern Spy. I didn't taste any of them because I don't like ciders, but he enjoyed all three of them.
We were served warm, hearty, brown bread served with a tomato butter. This was delicious!
I usually do not butter my bread/rolls, but when it's a flavored butter, I do. The butter melted into the bread.
SP's first course was Sweet Potato & Apple Soup with Toasted Marshmallow and Pistachios. I tried his marshmallow and it was so soft and gooey and delicious! He likes soup more than I do and he likes these flavors more than I do, so he thought the soup was fantastic if a bit too hearty and filling for him as a first course. But, earlier in the day, we ended up with a larger and more filling brunch than intended, so we both were not as hungry as we could have/should have been.
My first course was a huge salad: Honeycrisp Apple Salad with grilled endive, concord grapes, shaved white chocolate, pistachios, basil vinaigrette.
It was a different choice for me, and I really enjoyed the crisp, crunch of the apple sticks. The tiny grapes were purple and popped in your mouth. I have not had concord grapes in years - they are the grape flavor from my childhood. There was lime juice as part of the dressing and it was a nice compliment to the fruit. It was a large first course for me, and SP helped me eat some.
SP's second course: Grilled Pork Loin with Smoked Apple Butter, Blue Corn Grits, and Braised Collards. It was paired with Red Byrd Orchard Cider-Workman Semi Dry. He said the pork was perfectly cooked and juicy and flavorful. He loves apple butter so that was a nice accompaniment, and he likes the collards and grits but he couldn't finish everything so he took some back to the hotel and ate it for breakfast the next day. He said it was a great autumn dish.
I ordered gnocchi with seasonal vegetables. There were a lot of vegetables: tomatoes, mushrooms, zucchini, squash, onions, carrots. The gnocchi were seared on the side. This was delicious! And big. I kept eating and eating and eating but I just couldn't finish it even though I wanted to. I took my leftovers back to the hotel and SP finished them for breakfast the next day along with his pork.
I looked at the dessert menu, but nothing really caught my attention, plus we both were pretty darn stuffed, so I decided to help SP finish his third course: Apple Cider Flan with Cider Caramel, Walnuts, and Oatmeal Cookie. It was served with Black Diamond Cider - Slate Stone in a tiny jelly jar.

SP ate the cookie since I think oatmeal cookies are gross. I also could have done without the walnuts (my preference for nut-free desserts) but the flan was light and custardy and delicious and lightly flavored with apple cider (not overpowering).

Hazelnut Kitchen was our favorite meal of the entire trip. The exposed brick wall, mustard yellow walls, mix & match bread plates and napkins on the tables, tiny pumpkins on the table, being able to glimpse the hustle & bustle of the kitchen area from our table  - it was homey and cozy and inviting and cheery. Our server was friendly and checked on garlic for me, the meal was nicely paced. A lovely vacation dinner date. We would definitely return and next time, we'll be sure to not eat a big brunch beforehand.

Hazelnut Kitchen on Urbanspoon

No comments:

Post a Comment