Restaurant Week is but twice a year, and the days in between are spent in eager anticipation of those glorious days of foodie goodness.
As the dates get closer, I begin to stalk the websites, carefully reading each menu and assessing my options. Restaurant Week can be a little bogus, but if you choose wisely you can really get the most out of the 3-courses-for-$35 deal. I generally look for more upscale establishments where a feast would be way out of my price range on any other day. Unusualness of offerings is also a factor – I like to see some creativity on a menu and a few items that make me turn my head sideways and scrunch up my face.
But any restaurant shoots to the top of the list when it goes above and beyond to offer me more for my dolla’ dolla’ bills. So when I saw that Smokin’ Betty’s was offering a 4-course meal for the same $35, it became a no brainer. It was as if the Smokin’ Betty’s Quidditch team caught the golden snitch, leaving all the other restaurant Quidditch teams to throw down their quaffles in defeat and retreat back to their common rooms to complain to the portraits about the unfairness of the game while washing back a few butterbeers. It was just like that.
Four glorious courses awaited me at Smokin Betty’s and I wore my billow-est tent dress for the occasion. I had major plans to get my grub on and stopped all food consumption after noon to ensure maximum gorging could ensue at dinner.
Our waitress was a bubbly woman who enthusiastically described the care and planning that goes into Smokin’ Betty’s restaurant week menu. Apparently, the entire staff is made up of similarly enthusiastic people who love getting their food on. They couldn’t limit it to just three, so they upped the menu to four courses. These sounded like my kind of people.
Round one started things off on the right foot – brisket and sauerkraut samosas with apple chutney scores a major taste boo-ya in my books. The second course knocked the microscopic socks off my taste buds – a thick curry and squash soup with caramelized pecans that coated my belly like a delicious, sweet food sweater. And if that doesn’t sound good, believe me – it is.
Then the third course rolled around and I began to really test the holding capacity of my body. There was some serious massaging of the food baby growing in my stomach accompanied by some unhuman grunting and gurgling. I left my Korean BBQ ribs and pineapple rice mostly untouched and when the berry and brown sugar pavlova arrived to finish the meal, it was a feat to carry the fork from the plate to my mouth, as if my stomach had become so full that the fullness was now being distributed to all other areas of my body.
I waddled home with my dinner companions, stopping to squat and breathe at various points along the way. This may have been a delicious cause of the ‘too-much-of-a-good-thing’ scenario.
The most memorable part of my meal at Smokin’ Betty’s was the soup. And with the onslaught of autumn, soup season is right around the corner. How convenient.
I’ve had a recipe for Carrot Ginger Coconut soup bookmarked for a while and this was a perfect time to bust it out. For those of you who are afraid of making something usually found in a can, rest assured it is stupid easy. You pretty much just throw some junk in a pot and wait until it gets hot. There is some chopping of vegetables involved and occasionally a little blender action, but that’s pretty much it.
My soup was banging. Because honestly, how are you going to mess up soup?
And while I definitely encourage you to explore your own souper (eh? Get it?) meals at home, Smokin’ Betty’s is absolutely worth a visit. It’s more of a ‘wait- until-your-parents-are-in-town-and-are-footing-the-bill’ type of place, but still worth keeping in mind. Because everyone deserves to test the physical capacity of their body by stuffing it full of mind-blowing food.
Caitlin Weigel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.