Wednesday, September 23, 2009

FoodTrek: Come to the Dark Side... It's Tasty There

My sassy good friend, Miss S, and I went out for drinks and nibbles after work, and we ventured through the gates of John Howie Steak at The Bravern for our first sample of the menu. It would have been heresy to have anything but a big, marvelous steak, but we went the way of The Dark Side, ordering offerings that could only be described as an indulgent breakfast. And then there were baked goods from Trophy Cupcakes, to ensure that the journey to the Dark Side would be complete!

Lord Vader sends his regards with this decapitated stormtrooper cupcake - Photo by Wasabi Prime

Actually, the Dark Side probably refers more to the cozy lighting in the bar at John Howie Steak, which is lovely and atmospheric for patrons, but somewhat problematic if you're a food blogger trying to get a photo for a post. I knew the quality of the photos would be iffy, but these happy hour bites were just too delicious not to share, even in their un-Tastespotting-worthy state.

John Howie Steak Eggs and Bacon - Photos by Wasabi Prime

We damned our aortas to hell and ordered the tempura-style bacon, lightly battered and fried to crisp perfection, artfully served like a lovely bouquet of swine in a pilsner glass. I could go on about how American eating habits are the source of so many nationwide health woes, but come on. Fried bacon. You know you'd order it too. A maple ponzu sauce was provided and while the thick slices are delicious on their own, fellow diners sitting next to us confessed that the bacon was merely an edible vehicle from which to imbibe the sweet, savory sauce. Maybe that's why the lights are dimmed, so as to hide one's shame in taking a little sip of the lovely dipping liquid...

Simple things can often be the most delicious and rewarding to eat. We hadn't seen deviled eggs on a menu in a while, and when the platter of halved gems appeared before us, it was clear these were not the bland, chalky hardboiled eggs one usually has over an uninspired salad. The tender little weeble-wobble egg halves were filled with a delicate mousse of seasoned yolks and topped with a crisp shred of bacon. Bacon and eggs. Nothing could be simpler or more breakfast-like, but with a crisp vodka martini and a glass of wine, it was elevated to something meant to savor.

Not wanting to commit complete heresy in a steakhouse, we ordered the tenderloin bites. Small nibs of butter-soft beef, in an Asian-inspired light citrus sauce and mandarin slices -- a lovely way to round out our dinner sampling. The menu offerings had a bit of the Pacific Northwest sensibility, mixing flavors from different regions, and also a bit of local quirk, with a sense of humor to include something like deep-fried bacon. I can appreciate that sense of fun with food, especially in a formal steakhouse. I will definitely return for no other reason than to try the hamburger I saw so many people ordering from the happy hour menu -- it was an impressive tower of beef, a criss-cross of bacon, topped with what looked like a baguette-like roll. I'll try and sit closer to a window or go early to properly document this burger of mythic proportions.

The Dark Side offers delicious baked goods - Photo by Wasabi Prime

We wandered a little of The Bravern, but I was pulled by the siren song of baked goods and returned to Trophy Cupcakes. Given the crowds the new shop has had to weather the last few days, it was a pleasant thing to see not many people in line and still a few cupcakes left, looking for a loving home and tummy. I picked up a few of their signature flavors: Red Velvet and Triple Chocolate, and also picked up one of the Wednesday specials, the Chocolate Chip Mint. The Red Velvet and Chocolate Chip Mint went to the Dynamic Duo Office Girls. Triple Chocolate got a Stormtrooper ring, and was presented to my Star Wars friend, Ms. StyleJustBe, who I know would have no qualms over going to the dark side of rich chocolatey cupcake deliciousness.

Cupcake love is a good way to finish a post - Photos by Wasabi Prime

* Post-Script: The Empire approves! The Stormtrooper cupcake pic was on FoodBuzz's Top 9, and the red velvet cupcake made it on Tastespotting and FoodGawker. Merci!

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  1. Tempura-style bacon - now that, along with those adorable cupcakes, is definitely from the dark side!

  2. Who needs aortas?? I'm fairly certain Vader's were robotic...

  3. Woah! Tempura-style bacon?! Yikes- danger, danger! Sounds like a trip to the Minnesota State Fair. You just need to put those suckers on a stick! And the cupcakes look divine.

  4. I'm so impressed by the tempura bacon. Once I tasted it, I won't be able to stop. The desserts look good too. I like the stromtrooper head. So cute:) Is it really edible?

  5. Yeah, the fried bacon is an indulgence, but so worth it if you split it with a friend. The cupcakes from Trophy are edible, but the little add-ons are usually plastic rings, so it's like the prize with a little cake!

  6. Tempura battered bacon...that's a new one for me. My daughter loves to dip bacon in maple syrup, so the maple ponzu makes sense, but seems so wrong!

  7. The tempura style bacon sounds fabulous. The geeky cupcake was a great addition as well.


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