22 September 2007
A Dinner Out and a Surprisingly Good Squash Dish
There is a gracious bed-and-breakfast inn not far from our house that has an airy dining room tucked away on its first floor. It was closed for a time, but reopened recently. We were there to celebrate its soft opening.
The house itself is about 100 years old, and its interior is a tasteful and welcoming blend of Victorian, Art Nouveau and Contemporary. Because of the owner's eclectic approach, it is a place for surprises. At night, there is always a fire blazing away in the parlor fireplace, and candles here and there that add to the glow.
The menu is equally welcoming. Last week we sampled roasted shrimp and a corn-and-cilantro salsa for an appetizer, then enjoyed filet mignon with blue cheese topping, paper-thin slices of potatoes layered with Asiago cheese and a side vegetable: payypan squash sautéed in olive oil.
The latter dish was simple enough to be a foil for the other highly-flavored foods. It was a palate cleanser, a bridge between the blue cheese and the Asiago. Yet it tasted of the garden, an earthy taste that balanced the rest of the meal. We washed it all down with a buttery pinot noir and left feeling sated, enjoying the smell of wood smoke on the night wind and watching lights from across the river dance on the water.
Before we left, we complimented the chef on the meal. The squash, he told us, was simple to prepare.
"Just slice it in half, brown it in olive oil, and add salt and pepper," he said.
Pattypan squash is something I never think of buying. I will seek some out at the next farm market. The photo above was taken at last year's market.