ESNS: Wilmington Edition

When my workday ended unexpectedly early on Saturday, I stepped out of the store and into a bright, blustery day of blue skies and sunshine. And with a day like that on my hands, I suddenly had the urge to drive…

…and to keep driving.

In fact, I drove until I found myself on the doormat of my old apartment in Wilmington, at which point 26 hours of awesome ensued.

Included in my surprise visit to see Jeff and the cats was an incredible meal at our favorite neighborhood cafe, Surf House. There, in the name of eating something new, we ordered adventurously and the results were delectable.

For starters, during the summer, I was a sucker for Surf House’s infused lemonades (fresh squeezed, with flavors like basil and lavender…). As the winds changed, though, so the restaurant retired their lemonades for the season and introduced a new line of gourmet hot chocolates. With eight flavors including Caramel, Nutella and Guinness, I found it tough to decide on just one, but finally opted for the exotic sounding Mexican.

What arrived before me was a giant cup filled with the piping hot nectar of the Mayan gods.

This stuff is to my normal powdered hot cocoa what fresh squeezed Valencia O.J. is to McDonald’s orange drink. How will I ever go back??

Topped with four roasted marshmallows that quickly melted into a sweet frothy crema, this cinnamon/cayenne concoction was like nothing I’ve tasted before. Less beverage, more dessert in a glass – I highly recommend bringing 4-12 friends along to help you with this. (I’ve done you all a favor and discovered that inhaling a full 16 ounces of this stuff while only letting your boyfriend have a couple of sips results in a massive stomach ache… because no one could have seen that coming… You can thank me later.) Recommended serving size: One thimble. 

While I could easily have made three courses of my hot chocolate alone, I did order brunch as well. I’d been eyeing the Grapefruit Brulee the past few times I’d been in, and it turns out this is exactly as it sounds: half of a juicy, ruby red grapefruit coated with a crispy layer of blow-torched sugar. First the roasted marshmallows, now this?  Jeff and I have officially made a pact to purchase a mini blow torch and start bruleeing things. Anything. (Be afraid. Be very afraid).

Finally, I ordered the Hippy Hash, a Mediterranean inspired potato dish with roasted spuds, spinach, olives, roasted peppers, and feta cheese topped with a sunny side up egg. As I’m scarfing this down, it occurs to me how do-able all of this food is. How simple the recipes, but how incredible the dishes!

Perhaps this whole cooking thing isn’t as impossible as I’ve been making it out to be? Can it really all just boil down to fresh ingredients + imagination? (+being okay with the few times your creativity leads to inedible outcomes?)

I, for one, am inspired. Next week, watch out for a homegrown Eat Something New Sunday. I’ll be cooking from scratch and from imagination.

Tune in to see how it goes… and if my kitchen survives.

(The following is not found at Surf House. It was, however, found on my camera…)

 

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