Monday, November 17, 2008

Daily Planet redux

Chris and I spent the weekend in Burlington, Vermont with some friends from Boston (the second annual Vermont weekend, we’re calling it) and had some great meals, as always. We returned to the Daily Planet on the Friday night because it’s never let us down in the past, and we were not disappointed.

We started with a round of cocktails from their fairly trendy list – J got a Macintosh appletini, which was pink and sweet and girly; I had a Shirley Manson, which I think was cranberry juice, sprite, and Stoli Razberi with an orange slice. I would so totally order it again; it was sweet without being cloying, and strangely refreshing. The boys both had a “Downtown” which was mostly Maker’s Mark with a dash of amaretto.

Chris started with a bowl of the daily soup, potato and roasted red pepper. He enjoyed it very much, though the bite I had was a little unexciting. J and D shared a cheese plate with some blue and a gouda-style local cheese, and I had “Maura’s Fabulous Salad” with mixed greens, blue cheese crumbles, pecans, grapes and a tasty vinaigrette. It was a perfect starter for pretty much any occasion.

Believe it or not, three of us went for the lamb tagine as our main, with J the only holdout opting instead for the excellent burger, which was huge and came on a nice ciabatta bun with lettuce, tomato, onion, ketchup and I think some fries. She couldn’t finish it but pronounced it just as good as last year’s.

The tagine was very tasty, but honestly was more of a braised lamb shank with roasted carrots and couscous alongside. The lamb was perfectly cooked but lacked a strong note of sweet spiciness or any dried fruit to bring it into truly Moroccan territory. There was a little cinnamon in there, but it was very restrained. No complaints about the condition of any of the elements though, and the portion size was not gargantuan, which we appreciated.

In fact, it left us all with room for dessert, which was nice. Chris and I fortunately shared the brownie a la mode. I say fortunately because it was ENORMOUS. We asked the waitress about this and she admitted that a new kitchen staffer had cut the brownies too large earlier that day, so the dish was particularly big on this night. We couldn’t finish it, but what we ate was very tasty indeed. The brownie was served warm which made it moister than it otherwise might have been, and the ice cream was top drawer.

J’s ice cream sundae was everything one could ask for, with lovely hot fudge sauce and whipped cream, served in a classic parfait glass, while D’s chocolate ganache torte was a tiny piece of insanely rich chocolate laced with Kahlua and raspberry. It also went unfinished, sadly, but he enjoyed what he did eat.

Our waitress was unpolished but very pleasant, and service was well-paced but not slow. The room was fairly full but the noise levels were manageable, and it’s still a funky and comfortable place to dine. In short, it’s still someplace we’ll continue to return to whenever we’re in town.

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