So is anyone else obsessed with the speakeasy bar trend these days? Maybe I am just too hipster for words, which is why I am frequenting so many of them.
(Which begs the question: if I admit to being a histper does that negate my hipster status and render me decidedly un-hip?)
One of my all time favorite speakeasies is Polite Provisions which is in our neighborhood in San Diego. If you are local (or visiting), please, please, please check it out. It’s really adorable and makes you feel like you’re walking straight back to the 1920s. Incidentally it’s themed like an old pharmacy which is totally cute. And the cocktails are all amazing!
The other option, also in our neighborhood, is called 7 Grand. This bar is a whiskey bar only, and they have some amazing drinks. I’ve heard it can get a little frat-like on the weekends, but when
we’ve been (early on a Thurday evening) the atmosphere has been fine.
And this brings me to the 3rd speakeasy bar that we recently discovered, called Fairweather. In true speakeasy fashion it is completely unadvertised, no sign pointing you in the right direction. It’s located on the 2nd floor of Rare Form, a deli/restaurant in downtown San Diego, and you just have to ask one of the waitresses to point you down a hallway in the back. And you’ll walk up a staircase past a Hemingway reference written boldly on the wall, past some strange looking deer sculptures, and out onto a beautiful rooftop deck. They are definitely channeling a Key West vibe and have a beautiful array of tropical plants and tropical themed cocktails, and charming benches that are upholstered in a colonial style fabric. Basically, I loved it. And made me feel like I was one of Hemingway’s friends in a, thankfully, less misogynistic time. So the point of this whole backstory description is that Rare Form, the deli below, delivers food to you while you drink on this rooftop deck. And the food was really really good. The cocktails, despite all the charm, were a little hit or miss for me. However I absolutely adored the atmosphere and all the food that came my way. One of the items on the menu was a fantastic roasted cauliflower with pine nuts and currants. It was served chilled with a bright vinaigrette. The only complaint I had that it was too small.
So I endeavored to recreate it myself.
I don’t know about you, but cauliflower is one of my all time favorite vegetables and just seems like the perfect side dish for this time of year.
And is delightfully light which is great in comparison to all the other heavy food (read potato fennel gratin) I’ve recently been consuming/ will continue to consume.
This dish is just loosely based on a Sicilian dish that typically includes cauliflower, raisins, nuts, and capers. Sometimes breadcrumbs as well.
My version is a little less vinegary and I decided to add a hit of tangerine zest, which wasn’t in the original recipe. Basically I decided to create a gremolata/vinaigrette fusion and poured that mixture all over my freshly roasted cauliflower florets. This version is decidedly sweeter, but in my opinion equally classy. The currants are critical- I would not substitute raisins here. Currants and orange (in this case tangerine) are classic in combination, and I can’t imagine pine nuts being problematic in any recipe, but are particularly lovely here to add a sweet, creamy, nuttiness to the salad.
This is also one salad that I would encourage you to allow to come to room temperature before serving. This allows the flavors to become more obvious. Too hot or too cold you won’t be able to fully appreciate all the flavors. So if you are not lucky enough to make it to Rare Form, at least you can have a little bit of their menu in your own kitchen. Yum! 🙂
Roasted Cauliflower with Pine Nuts and Currants
- 2 heads of cauliflower cored, and cut into florets
- ¼ cup olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ¼ cup fresh pine nuts
- ¼ cup dried currants
_For the Vinaigrette_
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons minced parsley
- 1 tablespoon minced oregano
- 1 teaspoon tangerine zest orange is fine as a substitute
- 2 teaspoons honey
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- Toss cauliflower in a large mixing bowl with olive oil. Generously season with salt and pepper.
- Pour onto large roasting pan (feel free to line with parchment for easier cleanup).
- Roast for 25-30 minutes, or until browned and tender.
- Meanwhile prepare the toasted pine nuts by toasting in a pan over medium heat about 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly, until they appear lightly toasted. Pour nuts into a separate bowl to cool.
- To prepare vinaigrette- combine vinegar, oil, herbs, honey, and salt and pepper in a small bowl. Whisk thoroughly to combine.
- When cauliflower is done, remove to separate dish and allow cauliflower to come to room temperature. Then, toss cauliflower with vinaigrette and currants.
- Mix in pine nuts just prior to serving.
- Serve at room temperature.