Sunday, March 17, 2013

Couples Night Out

This weekend we had the great opportunity to attend a Couples Night Out with 20 friends from the International Women's Club! Kelly planned the whole night and picked a beautiful restaurant in Riethoven called Vandeijck. The restaurant used to be a farmhouse and is located right across from the church in downtown Riethoven. The restaurant prepared a three-course menu for us to pick our meal from ahead of time, though other courses were included that everyone was served. The servers were extremely kind, helpful, and informative about all the food we ate that night . . . thank goodness, because there were plenty of times where we weren't quite sure what we were eating!

I will go ahead and apologize in advance for the quality of pictures in this post -- they were all taken with my iPhone in dim lighting, so they are by no means clear and crisp, but you will get the picture (ha! no pun intended!).

It all started off with a little (big) appetizer while we stood around chatting with our drinks . . .

The actual appetizers are skewered onto the silver posts, which are stuck into a piece of . . . wood? I can't remember! This particular appetizer had an interesting mix of flavors -- "marshmallow" type puffs (the yellow things) with a strange, strong taste (I did not care for these), large "nuts" (but weren't really nuts, and I didn't try one), and thin, crispy, wafers (these were decent).

We then took our seats around a gigantic table --

-- and began our meal. The first amuse bouche that we ate (basically a single, bite-size hors d'ouvres) was jellied soya and pumpkin (the checkered looking rectangle) with a swordfish chip. This was actually tasty and I really liked the swordfish chip. The two dark dots were more soft soya and the light-colored dot was kind of like lemon-flavored.

We then had another amuse of gazpacho made with garden cherries and herbs . . . not my cup of tea, but others seemed to like it.

Our main meal then started where we were able to choose our plates. I started with the breast of duck, accompanied by sesame pebble, yellow capsicum, and zespri gold with Lampong black pepper (I totally tasted all those flavors swiped that description from the menu). The duck was really good, and oddly enough the dark green stuff that looks like a spinach sponge tasted like peanut butter! It even melted into the consistency of peanut butter in your mouth -- so weird.

Keith started with lobster, which came with fresh mango, sorbet of Amsterdam pickles, bergamot, and Vandeijck ketchup. He said it was really tasty, though I wouldn't know because I wasn't offered a bite. Ahem.

Our main course was then served, and Keith and I both chose the pork, which didn't disappoint. It was by far my favorite dish of the night! After serving everyone's plate, they then came back around to pour a brown Belotta gravy over the pork and some sort of green sauce over the halibut (the other main course choice). The pork was served with seasonal baby root vegetables, and hand-rolled M'hamsa couscous. TO. DIE. The pork was served several different ways, and my favorite was the dark red pork that shredded and fell apart as soon as the fork touched it -- it literally melted in your mouth. I could have had a whole plate of that and been SO happy.

Everyone also said the halibut was amazing, served with crispy potatoes, parsley, red meat radish, and young carrot.

We then had a palate cleanser of red beet, yellow beet, and passion fruit sorbet served over crumbled . . . something -- almost like graham cracker, but I don't think it was that. Sorry if some of my descriptions are lacking, we all had a hard time deciphering the different flavors and textures in our dishes! We would take a bite and then look at each other, like, "hmmmm.....what do you think it is?"

It was finally time for dessert, which was Vandeijck's Black Forest -- homemade chocolate Aero with frozen kirsch, Amarena cherries, merengue and white snow. This translation from Dutch to English we found pretty funny. We weren't sure what chocolate Aero was, so above it written in Dutch it said bros bros bros -- and what perchance is bros bros bros? Apparently a really delicious soft chocolate that goes by the brand name Bros. And since they were serving it three different ways, they said it was bros bros bros!

Even after our official dessert, the servers brought out more little sweets for us to try with coffee and tea as we ended the evening -- a variety of little desserts ranging from a jelly-like Turkish delight type treat to a light mousse over poundcake (my favorite), and even some chocolate balls with caramel in the middle.

Overall it was such a fun night and we ate some incredible foods (just don't quiz me on them!). It was really nice to be out with our friends and enjoy adult conversation without kids running around! Without realizing it, it was already 11 o'clock before we left the restaurant, driving home to our sitter after a four-hour meal . . . and I'm lucky I got to spend some quality time with Keith before his trip to the States this week. All in all, one awesome night!


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