Yesterday, I turned off my computer and my phones and spent a wonderful few hours with my mother-in-law, Marty. We began our afternoon by enjoying an amazing concert performed by the Albuquerque Youth Symphony at Popejoy Hall. (One of my Kumon students plays first violin with AYS, so I enjoyed the performace even more!)
These young people are incredible musicians! Under the direction of the very personable and entertaining Gabriel Gordon, the group played selections such as "Romeo and Juliet" and "The Sorcerer's Apprentice". As a very special treat, they also premiered Michael Mauldin's "KOKOPELLI: His Flutesong" which was based on a piece for pipe organ and re-arranged and orchestrated for the Albuquerque Youth Symphony. (Bonus: Mr. Mauldin was seated right behind us. Very cool!)
After the symphony, we decided to treat ourselves to dinner at a restaurant neither of had visited, both wanted to try, and couldn't generally afford. We decided on The Artichoke Cafe and we are so glad that we did! The atmosphere, service, and food were truly spectacular.
We began with a "Beef Carpaccio", which came crowned with fresh baby arugula, pickled cucumber, red onions & capers, and dressed with a wonderful wasabi creme-fraiche and chili oil.
After enjoying a beautiful house salad and delicious fresh-baked bread (three different kinds!), we were on to the main course. Marty selected the "Pan-Roasted Free-Range Chicken Breast", which had a beautiful plate presentation. Stacked atop a compote of braised fingerling potatoes, roasted poblanos, sweet corn, yellow squash and onions, the moist and tender chicken was topped with a tequila-lime picata sauce and toasted pine nuts. Chicken that is done well is definately a rare treat. The Artichoke Cafe has the art perfected.
I chose the "House Made Ravioli" because I could not see leaving without incorporating artichoke into my dining experience. The abundant ravioli were stuffed with artichoke puree and ricotta. They were decorated with basil, slivered tomatoes, and toasted pine nuts. The pasta pillows came bathed in a rich golden white wine-butter sauce, which tasted slightly of citrus. Topped with shaved Grana Padano, this pasta extravaganza is definately something worth enjoying again.
Unfortunately, we were too stuffed to even look at the dessert menu, so that will have to wait until our next visit to The Artichoke Cafe. Yes... I'm definately going back again. Maybe I'll even invite my husband :-)
Want to share a taste of Artichoke Cafe at home? Click here and scroll to bottom of the page to get the recipe for their signature Artichoke and Crab Dip recipe. I'm definately going to try this one for holiday entertaining!
Hugs and blessings~
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