Monday, August 17, 2015
So my husband and I recently had an anniversary, so we went out to dinner. He picked the restaurant, made a reservation, and told me what time to be ready. It was a restaurant that I had heard about but we hadn't been to, so I was pretty excited, especially since we really don't eat out very often at all. It was a steakhouse and I've heard around that they were good.
So I got all gussied up and off we went. What I didn't know about this restaurant is that it was attached to a country club in a very elite neighborhood. Okay, I'm good with that. When we got there and sat down, we got a few looks from other diners that made us feel that maybe a few of them thought we didn't belong there. But we didn't mind. The waiter came by and listed off the specials. We both ordered the surf and turf special that came with Kobe beef and a lobster tail. We also ordered beef carpaccio for the appetizer, which neither of us have ever had. We ordered drinks and then I went to the ladies' room.
Apparently while I was in there the waiter came back to inform my husband of the price of our meal, and my husband said okay and thought, well, I guess he thinks we can't afford it. So the carpaccio comes out, and it was fantastic! Then the salads came out, and they were mediocre. Then comes the star of the show! They brought the steaks and lobster tails out on a sizzling plate. Now here comes the problems.
First, the steaks were swimming in a pond of greasy truffle butter, which they didn't tell us would be there AND they charged us $7 apiece for the grease slick. Then came the true test. The steaks. Oh, I couldn't wait. And then...overcooked. And apparently the chef lost the salt shaker because they were very bland too. And the lobster? Sadly, it was overcooked as well. But they did bring us some very yummy truffled mashed potatoes. It was quite the letdown. Our meal was VERY expensive. Now, we aren't rich, but we are okay with a splurge meal like that once a year. But, after paying the price we paid, we should have walked away thinking, dang, that was the best meal I ever had! But, alas, it wasn't.
Oh, and by the way, my husband cooked some cheap flank steaks on the grill after that that tasted way better than what we served. But we enjoyed being out with each other and chalked it up as another year down. Funny but not so funny story. On our very first anniversary, we ate at a steakhouse and my husband got food poisoning about an hour after eating and was violently ill the rest of the night. We look back on that now and laugh.
None of this has anything to do with the recipe I have for you today. I just thought I'd share it with you. Now I'll share my recipe for Bacon Beer Cheese Fondue, which as you can see from the picture I dropped the fondue pot before I got the fondue in it and broke off one of the handles. Life...lol. Enjoy!
BACON BEER CHEESE FONDUE
1 lb shredded Cheddar cheese
1 T cornstarch
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 C beer
1/2 lb bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 T lemon juice
1 teaspoon dry mustard powder
Black pepper, to taste
NOTES: The lemon juice may sound like a strange addition, but it actually helps stabilize the emulsion of beer and cheese, making for a smoother fondue. Also, you really must take your time adding the cheese in over very low heat or else your fondue will break and the cheese will lump up or become stringy. Lastly, I made my fondue on the stove and then put it into the fondue pot. You can make it directly in the fondue pot if your fondue pot has a temperature control.
Mix the cheese with the cornstarch and set it aside. In either a pot or a fondue pot, put the beer, dry mustard, and the minced garlic in and bring it to a boil. Boil the beer for 1 minute and then reduce the heat to the lowest setting. Whisk the cheese in by small handfuls at a time. Whisk until smooth each time before adding in more cheese. When all the cheese is smooth, whisk in the lemon juice and black pepper to taste. If you made the fondue on the stove, transfer it to a fondue pot or a crockpot preheated on low. Serve the fondue with cubed French bread, roasted vegetables, grilled shrimp or chicken, sliced steak, pretzels, crackers, etc.