Lunch at Chez Fonfon’s patio lifts my spirits and feeds my soul.
By Jan Walsh
Kev and I arrive for my birthday lunch at Chez Fonfon, coincidentally on the first day the dining room is reopened, April 6. This is a wonderful gift in itself. But not today... Today we have reservations on the patio. And there is not a cloud in the sky, although April 6 is historically rainy. Last April 6, rain was the least of my limitations, as there was not a single restaurant open to celebrate my birthday.
We are seated in front of the babbling water fountain in this shady oasis under the white awning, where the shadows of leaves dance above us like stars in the sky. We start with two Strawberry Daiquiris, Marinated Olives, and Petite Baguette and butter. Pardis and Frank Stitt pop by with birthday wishes and a gift of a Highlands cap, so thoughtful. I shall wear it with pride. The delightful daiquiris are balanced blend of Plantation Pineapple Rum, Combier Original, fresh strawberries, and lime, allowing the strawberries shine from the first sip to the bottom of the glass. The beautiful bread it hot from the oven that the butter melts into it. We savor each comforting bite.
Today we order several dishes never tried before. For starters Kev has the Chicken Apple Sausage and I opt for Salade Fonfon. I love when restaurants have chicken sausage because not everyone eats pork. So, if he had not ordered it, I would have. Two sausage links are grilled to perfection. The apple not only adds additional moisture to the sausage, it adds a fruity layer of flavor to the poultry. A lovely side of lyonnaise potato salad and brown mustard rounds out the dish. My salad boasts farm egg, fresh radishes, crunchy walnuts, and tangy blue cheese in a divine Dijon vinaigrette. A meal in itself, with proteins, veggies, and dairy, which I will order again.
As entrees, we order from the grande plates. Kev, who proudly eats pork, has the Pork Schnitzel, which is today’s spécialité du jour. And I select the Bass with Citrus Fennel Relish. For pairings, I opt for Champagne by the Glass, and Kev pairs his pork with a brew. The pork is generous in portion. Two large cutlets are tender, tasty, and melt in the mouth. It is accompanied by red potatoes and fresh greens. Highly recommended! My bass is a beauty, floating above a flavorful bed of wilted greens and topped with a tart citrus and fennel relish. This dish is as flavorful as it is colorful, and absolutely fulfilling.
For dessert Kev orders the Basque Cake, and I opt for the Lemon Meringue Tart, and another glass of Champagne. It’s my birthday. Who’s counting? The warm and comforting cake is cream encased and with cool, fresh, macerated strawberries atop. The tart is a classic of pastry chef, Dolester Miles… tangy, creamy perfection. And to top them off, my all-time favorite dessert, Chocolate Pot de Crème, for two, is unexpectedly among them. Out server says it is a gift from Pardis, which makes my birthday even sweeter.
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