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Saturday, July 13, 2013

An Affare To Remember

The K-man and I have been so busy that even time with our beloved Posse crew hadn't occurred in quite a while, so we were eagerly anticipating some long overdue time with them.  We gathered for our latest Posse dinner which also doubled as Charlotte's birthday celebration at Affare, a modern German restaurant in the Crossroads district. 

Affare is located in the former home of Bar Natasha, which is familiar territory for me.  My addled brain was twitchy with memories of bygone days at Bar Natasha as I strolled through: Grey Goose martinis before a night at the theater; a magazine launch brunch with live cabaret music.
Make no mistake, though, Affare has made a striking home of its own here with its sleek, stylish decor and gorgeous artwork.  We sipped and sampled the array of German brews on tap before being ushered into our spacious private dining room.  Josh, our server, is also a sommelier and was quick to make wine list suggestions as did Katrin, the wife of James Beard award-nominated chef Martin Heuser and a sommelier herself.  Soon, the swirl of lovely German small plates were upon us and amongst the table, many dishes were tried and sighed over.  K and I split the "Maifest" salad (pictured at right) featuring pine nuts, arugula pesto, fava beans, artisan greens and "edible dirt", which actually had the consistency of dirt and was made from dried portabello mushrooms, cocoa and almond oil.  Maifest is a reference to a German Spring Festival and the festive mix of bright greens and beans with the truly lovely complement of the "dirt" was a promising beginning as were the side plates of zesty pickles and butternut squash.   Kiko had the Butter Lettuce Mimosa with yogurt dressing for her starter and Carl indulged in the morel mushroom starter (pictured at left).  Let me just say I have a somewhat troublesome relationship with mushrooms...I enjoy some depending on their preparation but their texture, by and large, tend to be off-putting to me.  Morels, in particular, are not something I typically enjoy but after Carl graciously let me sample some of his, I was somewhat blown away by these: sauteed Oregon morels in sumtuous brandy-cream with seared foie gras and apple-fennel compote and they were amazing. 

The majority of the menu offerings from Affare are an array of small plates, which may put off some, but is something I'm becoming more and more of a fan of.  I think small plates are a terrific way to sample multiple menu offerings without grossly overindulging and Affare does small plates right.  Kiko, for instance, enjoyed another starter for her entree, the otherworldly-looking and delicious Ricotta-Erbsen ravioli (pictured at right) with carrot puree and balsamico foam.  Keith enjoyed his killer Iowa wagyu beef sirloin with chanterelle mushroom sauce as did Carl his Rocky Mountain elk loin with huckleberry sauce and spelt-poppyseed spatzle.  I adored, yes adored, my Edelfisch Allerlei (pictured at left), which was seasonal seafood, including some of the most melt-in-your-mouth scallops I've ever eaten, over divine lemon risotto.  Soon, the small plates were passed around the table for all to try and I was beyond satisfied when all was said and done.  Equally shared would be our desserts including the Apfelstrudel with bourbon vanilla sauce and chantilly cream and the chocolate mousse tower with a trio of mousses with marzipan and a bed of sea-salt caramel.

 It was a lovely meal and experience all in all; an absolute Affare to remember.

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