08 October 2011

a different kind of forty

The third night of my birthday week brought me up to the East Village to meet up with my gal, Meg.  Knowing that we both dig on traditional, hearty American cuisine, I gave her a list of four restaurants worthy of our visit and had her choose just one and that one was... Back Forty.  Prior to this evening I hadn't eaten at Back Forty, but I had read good things and, as usual, was eager to check out a new spot that might be tasty.  So off I hobbled and thank goodness I did because this place was wonderful.  Good call, Meg!

nothing beats warm bread and fresh butter
Since it was a perfectly lovely and brisk Autumn evening, we opted to sit in the super cute and surprisingly big backyard.  Lit with strands of small bulbs and soundtracked by the noises of 12th Street, the backyard is definitely someplace I'd love to go back to with a big group of pals and order too many bottles of wine because it was just perfectly lovely.  It's the kind of environment that makes you feel like you're in your own backyard, cozy, comfy and welcoming.  We started off with the bread plate - yeah I said bread plate.  Two slices of wonderfully moist cornbread and a warm and crusty loaf of peasant bread were served alongside three spreads - a lemon tarragon yogurt, andouille sausage butter, and spiced butter.  I love butter and these were some damn good butters.  I love when an everyday ingredient is made extra special with the addition of an extra ingredient and even though I find butter to be absolutely perfect just the way it is, a little flavor boost can be a wonderful little surprise.

Somehow after all that bread we were still able to eat our entrees.  For Meg, the grass fed burger topped with smokey bacon, cheddar cheese and house made pickles alongside crispy rosemary and sea salt french fries. It was perfectly seasoned and perfectly cooked and something about that bacon was extra amazeballs!  I went with the harvest-y and unusual sounding pasta dish, a plate of al dente pappardelle in a saffron cauliflower puree topped with toasted hazelnuts and golden raisins.  I know it sounds a little wacky but it tasted a lot yummy, trust me!  It was a perfectly warm and cozy kind of meal and the little bursts of sweetness or toasty goodness along with the variety of textures was so unique and enjoyable that I found my plate empty before I knew it.

But my plate didn't stay empty for long because dessert and coffee were served up quickly enough.  With all these sweets and desserts I've been eating lately I'm amazed that I've been able to crutch myself around town but at least tonight I had an excuse, and that excuse was birthday doughnuts!  Y'all know I can't say no to a doughnut and since it's my birthday week I should be able to eat all the damn doughnuts my aging heart desires.  Though the dessert menu included amazing looking treats like apple pie a la mode and a root beer float, we stuck with the simplicity of coffee and warm, homemade glazed doughnuts*.  Simple and delicious just like the rest of the meal.  If you enjoy a sustainable, farm to table cuisine in a warm and homey environment, you'll totally dig on Back Forty and you can't count yourself one of my guests when I put together that backyard party that I plan on having there sometime soon.  It really was a lovely and tasty meal (and totally reasonably priced too, which is super awesome for this out of work gal!)  And many thanks to Meg for taking a chance on a new restaurant with me and for helping me celebrate my birthday week, xoxo!

birthday doughnuts!
* Speaking of doughnuts, did anyone catch Mark Israel on Top Chef Just Desserts the other night?  I don't normally watch, mostly because I don't have cable, but since I'm blessed with over 300 channels these days, I've found myself wasting a lot of time watching all of those reality competition shows.  The cooking ones are my fave, obviously.  Well the most recent episode of Just Desserts featured the founder of the Doughnut Plant and a Quickfire challenge that involved making doughnuts!  It was great and it got me thinking of what flavor my dream doughnut would be - probably something nutty, or a spicy Mexican chocolate, or maybe something subtly savory.... even after that excellent meal the thought of doughnuts makes my stomach call out for more.

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