Thursday, July 22, 2004

Fond of Fondue

The local newspaper has a crappy website with crappy forums. Really. Happily, I discovered a couple weeks ago that the food & wine forum is the one exception: it's been active and hoppin' for years, full of great posts and lively discussions. What better place to get the lowdown on local restaurant and food issues?

So last night I went to one of their occassional group dinners, so I could also check out the Melting Pot, the new fondue restaurant.

Fondue also seemed to me to be the epitome of good dining: you dip bread and other tasty morsels into melted cheese. It's just a fancified dip, right?

Oh, it can get really fancy.

There were about 7 people there, and with 3 hot burners at the table going, we started with a course of three different cheese fondues: one with cheddar cheese with jalapeƱo peppers and salsa, one traditional Swiss with Gruyere and Emmenthaler Swiss cheeses, and finally a smoked salmon and vodka fondue. We had piles of bread, chips, vegetables and apples for the dipping.

This was followed by a yummy salad with walnuts, bleu cheese, and a raspberry black walnut vinaigrette.

For the entree, I had a plate of raw meat: shrimp, chicken, salmon, pork loin, teriyaki sirloin, filet migon, and chicken and vegetable potstickers, all of which you would cook at the table by dipping into either coq au vin or a Caribbean seasoned bouillon.

And the grand finale! The dessert course: a plate of cheesecake, brownies, pound cake, and fresh fruit for dipping into 3 different flavors of melted chocolate. My personal fave was the Mint Chocolate Chip Fondue over the cheesecake. To ... die ... for.

And to top it all off, the excellent wait staff gave us each a goodie bag with a bar of their chocolate and a jar of their garlic and wine seasoning (I guess they're hoping we'll spread the word!). But of course the best part was the company: everyone was a lot of fun and I definitely want to go to another of their gatherings.

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