Sunday, March 17, 2013

Hemingway's Zen Garden

For full disclosure purposes, my friend, Cherie Moery-Metzka, took the Chef position at Hemingway’s Zen Garden wine bar in O’Fallon, Illinois and since I had seen pictures of her homemade meals for a couple of years now, I jumped at the chance to finally taste her cooking. I just wanted to make sure you were aware of the complete bias of this blog post!

Chef Cherie knew a cheese plate would be the perfect way to start off my night and all three cheeses were amazing. The sausage even came with a little mustard on the side for dipping. I used my leftover crackers for the Smoked Seabass & Horseradish Pate since the toasted Brown Soda Bread was quite heavy and I knew I had too much more food to eat!

I also ordered the Irish Rarebit as a starter and I will just call this “cheesy yummy goodness”. The cheese was melted over soft French bread slices, joined by some small sweet pickles on the side.

We probably could have called it a night just from appetizers, as well as the salads that came with our meal, but we were troopers. I really wanted to order all three of the dinners that were available, but I luckily got to try two of them. (the other was a Roasted Leg of Lamb.) I had to follow my friends' recommendations to order the Corned Beef Brisket with Cabbage, Kale, and Roasted Taters. All four of them had ordered it and said it was the best that they had ever had. I could not believe how soft the Corned Beef tasted and it melted in my mouth.

Corned Beef Brisket with Cabbage, Kale, and Roasted Taters
As delicious as the Corned Beef was, the Fresh Icelandic Cod was amazing. So light and fluffy and so many flavors, but without overwhelming the dish either. It was hard not stealing more than a bite!

Fresh Icelandic Cod with a Hard Cider & Cream Sauce
Last but not least, I had to try one of Chef Cherie's desserts because it is another one of her expertise. I was disappointed there was no chocolate choice but that means I'll just have to go back. I went with her homemade Lucky Cheesecake, which had with a sweet, lime flavor. Let's just say it went VERY well with my semi-sweet Riesling!

Lucky Cheesecake

This was Cherie's second week and made a St. Patrick's weekend special menu. I cannot wait to see what the menu is going to look like next might have to visit repeatedly since I have a feeling that the menu will be changing quite often, especially to fit the season.

Now if only Cherie will introduce her famous pizza there…I may have to move over to Illinois…


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