Friday, October 28, 2011

Celebrating Birthdays with Liquids and Solids!

Back in July, I read an article in Burlington's Seven Days about a restaurant in Lake Placid with a most unusual name: Liquids and Solids at the Handlebar. I was intrigued, but Lake Placid is a long ways away, and with gas at nearly four bucks a gallon, I thought it best to wait for a special occasion to check it out. Since my birthday was on Wednesday and my dear friend June's was today, we decided that the time was right. So a small gang of us trekked over there tonight, a beautiful drive through the Adirondacks, where it was surprising to see some color (mostly golden hues) still on the trees.

But the gorgeous scenery didn't hold a candle to the FOOD! I know we're starved for decent cuisine in these parts, but WOW! I was so thrilled with our meal, that I actually sent the chef a fan letter before dessert! The menu changes often in reponse to the seasons and availability of local, sustainable ingredients. But below is a sampling of the dishes that we enjoyed so very much. Regardless of what they are serving on any given night, if any readers find themselves in the area, Liquid and Solids is a MUST dining destination!

Though I am not a drinker, I decided to splurge and have a cocktail. I chose the Balsamic Fizz: vodka, strawberry juice, basil, balsamic vinegar, soda water, and pineapple juice. Cyd had Thyme and Gin: Hendricks' gin, muddled lemon, lime, honey, pear, thyme, and a splash of ginger ale. But the best drink BY FAR was the Bacon Bloody Mary that my friend Lee Ann got: bacon vodka, tomato juice, Worcestershire sauce, horseradish, lemon and lime juices, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper.

For our first appetizer, Cyd and I shared a lovely parsnip soup topped with an apple and delicate squash bruschetta and some slivers of pickled ginger. So autumnally cozy!

The second appetizer we shared (with everyone!) was fried Brussels sprouts. Bearing in mind that I proclaim to HATE Brussels sprouts, these were perhaps the best thing we ate tonight! I'm not sure what they were fried in, but no one at the table could stop eating them.

We chose three "smalls" for our entrees. This is the L and S double burger, with cheese curds, spicy pickles, and "secret sauce." The housemade pickles were so good, I got an order to take home!

This was pulled BBQ beef and caramelized shallots on a crispy potato tartlet, with fresh chevre and a fried egg on top.

I've changed my mind. Forget the Brussels sprouts. THIS was the best dish of the night! Crispy sweet and sour pork belly with blue cheese, apple, and scallion black beans, topped with a canelle of sweet potato ice cream. WHATT?? A savory ice cream, you say? It can't be done! It shouldn't be done! But it was. And it was

Even though we were stuffed to the gills after two appetizers and three entrees, we couldn't leave without trying some dessert. We chose a dark chocolate burgundy tart with...wait for it...bacon whipped cream! (I adore these folks' passionate devotion to bacon.) The filling was decadently rich and flavorful, but the one criticism I have of the whole meal was the tart crust--it was tough, thick, and generally unenjoyable.

So there it is: a double birthday celebration in food. I can hardly wait until Cyd's birthday in early December so we can go back!

P.S. Sorry about the rather grainy photos. It was dark in that bar. which created a relaxed atmosphere but produced poor photography. ;-)

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