I was definitely feeling the burn in my legs and back from my runs the last two days, so I decided to go easy on myself and do some weight training yesterday with Bob Harper.
Twenty minutes of the Beginners’ Pure Burn Super Strength was the perfect amount yesterday morning to wake my arms up.
After my mini-workout, I made myself a delicious green monster smoothie for brunch around 2:00pm.
- mango chunks
- mango juice
- unsweetened vanilla almond coconut milk
- ice cubes
Delicious and very filling. I’m glad it’s smoothie season again; they always taste like summer in a glass.
I read quite a bit of poetry yesterday, replaced the wiper blades on my car, and then Dave and I went for our first bike ride of the year. We biked to the gas station to fill our tires with air and it was a pretty short ride, but it felt wonderful. I love how biking feels like flying.
We invited our friends Shelby and Cory over for a pre-dinner cocktail and chatted for awhile before heading to S.A.L.T., a new restaurant in De Pere featuring upscale comfort food. Several members of our group had been to the location before when it was a bar and were amazed at how it changed. This was my first time there, and I absolutely loved the atmosphere–it was dimly lit (my favorite), classy, and very inviting.
Image source: greenbaynightlife.com
We waited at the bar a bit for a table, so I ordered a specialty cocktail from the menu: Prez Tommy Jeff, which was sage, fresh oj, ginger beer, and lemon tree bitters. They had a nice selection of beer, wine, and other inventive cocktails.
The Prez Tommy Jeff tasted just like a summer walk in the forest: fresh, aromatic, and very earthy. I loved it.
The bar had an entire wall of windows and glass garage doors facing the street, so it was really fun watching all the college kids stagger through the town. People watching is so fun.
As soon as we got to our table, I ordered a dirty Tanqueray martini, which was absolutely perfect. It’s so easy to screw up a martini when the amounts are off, so I love when I order them at a bar and they are smooth as glass with the perfect amount of dirty. Good, fresh olives are always a plus, too. S.A.L.T. didn’t have bleu-cheese stuffed olives like Bleu, but I won’t fault them for it.
Each place setting had mason jars already filled with water for each guest.
I really like the mason jar trend, and I love it even more that the server automatically gave us water without having to ask. Someone told me when I was young that that was the best sign of a good restaurant. The atmosphere away from the bar was just as cozy.
And the menu was…incredible.
I wanted to order every single thing on the menu, and between the group of us, we pretty much did. Dave, Shelby, Cory, and I decided to get a bunch of small plates and share, so we ended up order nine different small plates. The waitress staggered their arrival which worked out really nicely for us, but it was strange eating half our food before anyone else was served.
My favorite of the night: Mussels with Ham and Hennipen (a Farmhouse style ale).
I don’t know if the ham added that much for me, but the broth was so amazing: creamy, rich and very well rounded from the beer. The watiress brought out some toasted baguette slices to soak up the broth, which was wonderful on its own. I forgot how much I loved mussels–they are so good! I think Dave and I will start incorporating them into our dinners more often.
Then there was the Middle Eastern Plate.
It came with fresh, warm pitas, baba ganoush, curried hummus, olives, dried apricots and dried figs. We probably could have skipped this since we eat most of these things regularly, but it was definitely a good sharing plate.
Then there was the Seared Rainbow Trout.
This was Dave’s favorite. It was served with roasted almonds, green beans, and a lemon caper aioli. The fish was cooked perfectly. It was tender and flaky, and the lemon caper aioli was a flavorful and moist accompaniment. The green beans were delightfully al dente and wonderful with the sauce as well.
Then there was the Tandoori Quail.
The quail was served over a couscous salad with sambal-apricot chutney. The quail was juicy, savory…amazing. I didn’t really care for the couscous (I think the couscous I make is better), but I could have eaten just the quail and been happy.
Then there was the S.A.L.T. Seviche.
Shrimp and cobia served on a salt block with avocado, ancho, cucumber, mango, radish, and citrus. This one definitely won the most points for presentation. The Himalayan salt block was such an inventive and attractive way to serve this dish. Unfortunately, I found the cobia to be a bit too salty from sitting atop the salt block, although the boys disagreed. I read that women have more taste buds than men so they require less salt for taste–maybe that’s why?So…not my favorite, but still good.
Then there was the Tobacco-Smoked Pork Belly.
This was served over miso-creamed corn. Creamed corn is definitely a comfort food for me. We never eat it at home, but I loved it growing up so it was a wonderful way to be reintroduced. The pork belly melted in my mouth and had a wonderful smoky flavor from the tobacco.
Then there were the Scallops, Potato, and Ham.
Seared diver scallops served over Benton ham and creamed potato. I don’t think I need to tell you how amazing the scallops were. I have never had a bad scallop in my day (of the four (?) times I’ve had them). I was surprised how well the scallops worked with something as heavy as potatoes, but the the combination worked quite well together: the creamed potatoes were amazing. I probably ate more of the potatoes than anyone else, because I couldn’t keep my fork out of them.
Then there was the Shrimp Rossejant ‘n’ Grits.
Gulf shrimp served over creamy cheese grits and spicy tomato sauce. I told you last week that shrimp & grits is one of my new favorite foods, and this dish only proved that statement to be more true. I have no idea what the stick things were (classy, I know) atop, but this dish was incredible: plump and juicy shrimp, buttery cheese, and rich tomato sauce….it was just as good as Dave’s. 😀
We finished our dinner with another round of mussels, this one cooked with chorizo and wine.
At this point, I really couldn’t appreciate the mussels as well as I would have liked because of how full I was, but the few I had were almost as incredible as the first.
The dessert menu looked equally incredible.
I was drooling over the S.A.L.T. sundae which was salted caramel gelato, candied bacon, cocoa nibs, cashews, and straight scotch, but there was no way I would have been able to enjoy it after dinner. Next time! Because there will be a next time.
We basked in our fullness for awhile at the table.
We had a pretty late reservation (8:30), so we weren’t being rushed to leave as the dinner rush was over by the time we finished our meal.
The only bad thing about having so many friends is not getting to talk to them all during dinners out. Our table was so large that I barely got to speak to my friends at the north end of the table. Fortunately, that changed when we went back to the bar for another drink. I ordered the Jamaican 2-Squeeze (unpictured, but it looked just like my first cocktail) which was made with Uncle Val’s gin, ginger beer, and Jamaican #2 bitters.
I love gin and I adore the spiciness of ginger beer, so this cocktail had the perfect amount of punch for me. No one was ready to call it a night yet, so we ventured over the bridge to a bar called The Vault.
There was a live band, and the lead singer was a guy we know from the grocery store–small world! It was nice hearing live music, and it wasn’t too loud in the bar, which is always a plus. I like being able to chat at bars without having to shout.
What was even more amazing about this bar were the prices. I thought my bill was wrong when I got it because it was so inexpensive. Love when that happens! After bar close, we still weren’t ready to call it a night.
Dave and I invited everyone over to cap off the evening, so we had another cocktail and talked poetry and World of Tanks (a new obsession among many of my friends) while Dave and Shelby whipped up a snack.
At this point, it was about five hours after we had eaten dinner but I wasn’t really hungry and just had a bite. I’m not even sure what they created–I think it was toasted English muffins with sauteed mushrooms, friend eggs, cheese, and smoked paprika. Very tasty!
When we heard birds chirping, we knew we finally had to call it a night. I face planted into bed at about five am and slept til ten this morning. Such a great day, and a wonderful experience at S.A.L.T. I will definitely be there again!
*Note: We asked the waitress what S.A.L.T. stood for, but she said the name is actually not an acronym (they just thought it looked cool), so they invite customers to create their own. My brother suggested Seven Angry Lion Tamers. I haven’t thought of one yet. What would you name it?