Saturday, February 5, 2011

Good Food on Montford

The Food Baby bottom line:
  • Once again, GFoM delivers a tasty and comforting experience.
  • Interesting people watching - local "celebrity" spotted!
  • Discovering avocado ice cream.
I recently hit up GFoM with two of my favorite girlfriends - Kristine and Laurie - for our quasi-monthly ladies night.  We had a choice corner table that was just private enough so that we couldn't offend others with our conversation, but still had a prime view of the entire dining room.  The moment you walk into GFoM, you feel cozy and comfortable.  Its minimalist decor features exposed bricks, beautiful wood ceiling beams and funky fork/spoon/knife light fixtures.  The space is small yet open, and definitely inviting.  

Kristine was already seated when I arrived - when I went to hug her, she clutched my shoulder and said in a low voice, "check out the next table...I'm pretty sure that chick was on the scarf...look!"  After some googling and texting (thank goodness for iphones) we determined that it was indeed Kimberly from this season of the Bachelor.  The excited shoulder clutching and whispering scene was repeated when Laurie arrived.  Now that we were all on the same page, the fun could begin!  No offense Kimberly, but your table of girls provided massive entertainment for us throughout the night as we watched each of you struggle to barely eat from the small plates in front of you (that you mostly seemed to be sharing, one per couple).  The coup de grace was when the birthday dessert arrived - one tiny, lonely cupcake with a candle.  The ladies all groaned and lamented that there was NO way they could POSSIBLY finish that cupcake between the six of them.  Although each of them seemed to look wistfully and longingly and the plate of chocolatey goodness in the middle of the table. Indeed, they were unable to complete the daunting and strenuous task.  At our table, we all agreed that we loved food WAY too much to be THAT thin.  Don't get me wrong - I'm not hating - its just that we all have our priorities...I choose food, happiness and curves!

2007 Palmina Barbera
Moving on...we decided to share a variety of small plates, which is one of my favorite ways to dine.  I love to try small bites of many different things, plus I find that its a fun, social and engaging way to eat.  This evening, we selected the cheese plate, bruschetta, crispy quail lettuce wraps, steamed bun, pomme frites, housemade ramen and the chicken tagine.  While we waited for the food, we enjoyed the warm bread served with small sides of roasted garlic and balsamic/olive oil.  Such a nice touch.  We also selected wines - Kristine went with a tasty chenin blanc by the glass, while Laurie and I shared a bottle of the 2007 Palmina Barbera from Santa Barbara.  It was well-balanced wine with a very dark, ruby red color.  It was fairly light bodied with lovely red fruit flavors and a nice finish.  The wine paired well with virtually all of our dishes too!

The food arrived in three waves, which provided a nice pacing for our meal.  While everything was delicious, we decided our faves were the steamed bun, the tagine, the frites and the cheese plate.  The cheese plate is a great dish for sharing, with three cheeses (a sharp white cheddar, a triple cream brie and a stilton blue) paired with fresh honeycomb and truffle chutney.  My friend Kristine declared that this dish was "comfy" (I think we used the phrase cheese snuggie?) and that the brie combined with the chutney on the crusty bread almost reminded her of a cheesy fig newton.  I particularly loved the fresh, gooey yet crispy honeycomb.  It paired beautifully with all of the cheeses (and was also delicious by itself when licked off the plate!). 

I don't need to say much about the pomme frites, other than they were perfectly executed and amazingly delicious.  The perfect mix of crispy, tender, potatoey and salty.  We decided they were also laced with crack and maybe truffles?  I'm definitely itching for more already.  The urge is strong.  
Crack frittes
The chicken tagine was also incredible - the skin of the chicken was perfectly crispy and the meat was tender.  It was served in a tagine dish over a fragrant mixture of chick peas and veggies that were cooked with a smoky, sweet and tangy sauce.  We couldn't identify all the ingredients, but caught hints of curry and preserved lemon or orange.  Such a wonderfully flavorful dish.
Before the big reveal...
...and after!
My personal fave was the steamed bun.  OMG.  Holy crap is this little sandwich delicious!  Inside the pillowy soft steamed bun is pork belly that is seasoned with Chinese five spice and cooked to crispy perfection.  Hoisin sauce and crunchy pickled vegetables perfectly balance the smokiness and richness of the pork belly.  If you only eat one thing at GFoM, I would recommend that this be it.  It is epic.  

Amazeballs steamed bun
After our satisfying array of small plates, we were on the fence about dessert.  But our amazing waitress, Tammy, reminded us that it wouldn't hurt to look at the menu...right...  We all immediately gravitated to the bread pudding with cheesecake ice cream.  Then I noticed a very interesting option - pear skillet cake with avocado ice cream and salted caramel sauce.  REALLY?  Laurie and Kristine seemed a bit skeptical, but I had to try it.  When the desserts arrived, I was the first to sample the pear dessert.  I got a little of each component on my spoon and was blown away.  The warm pear skillet cake was nice and crispy on the outside and tender inside, and the avocado ice cream was a perfect compliment.  It was creamy with just a hint of sweetness.  I wasn't sure how avocado would translate into ice cream, but it was brilliant.  The salted caramel provided a lovely salty/sweet note that really pulled it all together.  Amazeballs.  I have to admit, I was so obsessed with the pear dessert that I didn't give the bread pudding my full attention.  However, the cheesecake ice cream on that plate was a clear highlight for me.  We put in an impressive showing, nearly devouring both desserts.  
Pear cake with Avocado Ice Cream!
Bread pudding
While we chatted after dinner, we reached a consensus that we had achieved the highest quality of food babies that evening - one conceived in good company, with great wine and amazing food.  Although mine felt more like high quality food twins, I was so full!  Success!!  I highly recommend GFoM for a number of reasons - first, the food is consistently terrific and I love that their menu changes seasonally.  Second, the service is always fantastic (thank you Tammy!).  Third, the ambience is dank - a great spot for a romantic date, dinner with friends or even just drinks/snacks at the bar.  GFoM definitely ranks up near the top of my list of favorite restaurants in Charlotte.

- Brianna

P.S.  GFoM, please bring back your legendary beef carpaccio - we miss it!!

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1 comment:

  1. Hey girls! Tammy ( your Good Food server) here. I am so excited about your blog!
    Thank you for all the kind words and I had to laugh when you brought up our 6 top of girls next to you! That was a fun night for me and I enjoyed your table the most. I love to know that there are woman out there that appreciate food and wine as I do! Thanks again for the great review. Come back soon to see us.....first round is on me! Tammy Winchester
    Asst Mgr