Thursday, April 30, 2009

Cafe Drake in ATL (Part I - The Botanical Gardens)









Oh not to worry, we've got plenty of recipes to follow soon. And loads of Hotlanta restaurant reviews (Cafe Drake just returned from visiting our Mother) coming in the next 48 hours. FOR NOW: a few photos from Atlanta's stunning Botanical Gardens (complete with I. M. Pei fantastical fountain and French glass sculptures and orchids galore, all after a delish lunch at our nostalgic-dripping Vickery's Cafe, and to our own displeasure, a sunburned (bald) scalp.

Coconut Fish Stew with Lil' D (Davey Sellers)




FISH STEW WITH DAVID SELLERS

Vodka Tea with Orange Slices
Mixed Nuts


Beet Salad with Goat Cheese, Vidalia Onions, Fresh Oregano and Rice Wine Vinaigrette



Coconut Milk Fish Stew with Brown Mustard Seeds, Curry Leaves, Bell Peppers and Baby Zucchini
Brown Rice

Last Restaurant Standing Finale Dinner



Combining two of our passions - BBC America TV shows and dinner - Cafe Drake hosted Jen L. for an impromptu, casual meal centered around Brit reality television.
LRS DINNER w/ JEN L

Orange-Infused Vodka Tonics
Fresh Mint Green Tea
Roasted Cashews


Tomato and Mint Leaves Salad with Sondra's Cheese Biscuits



Pork Chops with Cranberry Madeira Sauce
Tabbouleh



Chocolate Covered Sunflower Seeds

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

How Cute Are Cats & Babies? (OMG Ponies!)

An older photo of Cafe Drake's New Jersey cousin Heather and hubby Mark's adorable daughter Anna, with her best friend, kitty Boots.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Ruske Turns 30-Something

















Young as her visage may be, don't let the monthly facials fool you! Just kidding, as Jen R retains a permanently Spring-like demeanour, Dorian Grey exterior and vibrant personality. Even though full-on B'day celebrations may occur later in the month, Cafe Drake wanted to honor our dear friend with a carefree, breezy Sunday night dinner, along with her close pal Lazzaro (who came bearing lovely French dry white wine and Veuve Cliquot). See our menu as always below and our photos above. After the final dessert course Ruske and Cafe Drake sprang into action and hit the Cafe Drake dancefloor, as good friends with a zest for Exuberance are wont to do. Esp. after cocktails and multiple bottles of wine! Predictable Lushes? Certainly. Celebrants of Life? Most definitely!

BIRTHDAY DINNER FOR JENIFER RUSKE

Homemade Rosewater Lemonade with Aged Dominican Rum
Green Chutney Indian Cheetoes


Roasted Shrimp with Heirloom Green, Orange, Red & Yellow Grape Tomatoes
Olive Oil Toast


Filet Mignon in a Pepper- Madiera Glaze
Twice Stuffed Potatoes with Fresh Horseradish
Zucchini Casserole au Gratin
Homemade Daikon Pickles


Cappucino Caramel Cookies
Coffee


Jardin de la fruitiere 2007
VoloRosso Pinot Grigio 2004
Chateau Turcaud Bordeaux 2003
Veuve Cliquot Ponsardin Brut

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Sailor takes Charge of Cafe Drake's Credit, Cash and Netflix Account

Tout Blanc Dinner at Cafe Miki
















Miki S is not only a gracious and exuberant hostess, wonderful cook and general all-around good times gal, Miki also throws inventive and clever "themed" dinner parties. See a few photos above and the menu below from her latest social masterpiece.


MIKI'S ALL WHITE DINNER

Pear Martinis

Steamed Crab Dumplings


Chilled Cauliflower Soup


Fisherman's Pie (with calamari, shrimp, scallops and cod)


Almond Pudding with Mango
Coffee

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

When Life Gives You Ham, Make Soup



Or more specifically, when Ruske sends you home with a pounds of perfectly roasted and seasoned ham, it's time for split pea soup. Below are Cafe Drake's basic directions, but honestly, if you need a full and proper recipe to make Split Pea Soup, you probably shouldn't make it all. This is home cooking comfort in a bowl at its finest and earthiest. No rules strictly apply. Do as you like. And vegetarians take heart: the soup is delicious without the ham, though you should substitute veggie stock for some or all of the water.


THE BASIC IDEA BEHIND SPLIT PEA SOUP:

Saute chopped ham, onions and carrots in olive for 5 minutes or until veggies are soft. Add 1 package of well rinsed green split peas. Now add 6-8 cups of water to this very large saucepan and bring to a boil.

Skim off any foam that accumulates and reduce heat to a steady simmer. Add 1-2 bay leaves and a couple of cloves of whole garlic (chopping the garlic will produce too strong of a flavor here).

Continue simmering uncovered for 1-2 hours, adding water as needed. The soup should be thick and creamy.

Season now with plenty of salt and black pepper and simmer for 15 more minutes on very low.

Stir in a small glass of sherry and add 1/2 bunch of chopped dill.

Adjust seasoning and serve warm.

Very good as above with whole wheat cornbread!

Sailor Really Shouldn't Be On the Table

But we've decided to devote ourselves at Cafe Drake to making his final moments on this planet as comfy and happy as possible.

Monday, April 13, 2009

A Mansion, Then Nachos




Jen L and Cafe Drake recently daytripped to Norwalk, Connecticutt to visit Fairfield County's (far too) little-known gem, the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum. Some of our fave aspects of the towering giant included the smaller personal touches, such as exquisite etched glass doors, ornate woodwork, painted Moorish-style ceilings and an altogether modern approach to big colors. Afterwards we strolled the historic streets of Norwalk - in a neighborhood rather annoyingly known as SoNo (South Norwalk) - and lunched at a very ordinary sports bar/pub called the Black Bear. Jen had a decent burger and fries ($11) and Cafe D decided to stick to bar basics and opted for the disappointing Nachos Supreme ($12). The food wasn't worth scratching home about but the historic home nourished our souls plenty.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

A Very Ruske Easter








We've said it before and we'll repeat ourselves when a statement is so true and without dispute: Meals are always amazing when helmed by Jen Ruske. Cafe Drake lucked out with an invite to spend a chilly Spring afternoon with Ruske, her visiting Mother from upstate and Anthony Castro. Kudos are in store for the entire meal from beginning to decadent end, but we'll let a few photos above - and the menu below - speak (volumes) for themselves. Happy Easter everyone from Sailor and Cafe Drake!!


JEN'S EASTER BRUNCH

Cheese Plate: Boucheron, Gouda, Gruyere and Brie
Garlic Crisp Wafer Bread
Olives
Hummus


Chilled Spring Pea and Spinach Soup with Buttermilk


Baked Ham with Pineapple
Fresh Pappardelle with Pesto and Jumbo Prawns
Braised Turnips
Brussels Sprouts
Asparagus Frittata


Homemade Cheesecake with GingerSnap Crumble
Sour Cherry, Ginger and Almond Chocolates


An assortment of red, white and sparkling wines