Marinated grape tomato and watermelon salad
Sampling the menus around the city for the past few days during Culinaria's Restaurant Week has been a great way to taste the wide variety we have here. By Friday evening, I was hankering for a bit of comfort food, so I headed off for Auden's Kitchen for three courses of food that reminded me of home.
The menu was perhaps a little bit fancier than Mom would have made, but the spirit in the approach of Bruce Auden's staff was similar.
Take the salad that started the meal as a perfect example. It was made of marinated grape tomatoes and watermelon tossed with greens (and reds, if you count the radicchio), feta cheese and bits of crisp pancetta. The greens were so fresh that they reminded me of the lettuce we would pick from our backyard garden. The balsamic in the dressing added a sweet touch, which also echoed Mom's. Several slices of ripe avocado on top added a creamy touch.
Smoked pork tenderloin with braised red cabbage
Two thickly cut slabs of pork tenderloin arrived atop a bed of braised red cabbage flavored with applewood-smoked bacon, providing an appealing pair of ways to enjoy pork. As good as the smoked pork was, tender and moist, with a demi-glace adding flavor, the cabbage was the real star of the plate, upstaging even the crispy potatoes, which were good, if not memorable. The size of the vegetable servings were also generous, prompting another memory of home.
A ginger peach cobbler arrived warm and showcasing a harvest of fresh peach slices. Dumplings swimming in a thick, sweet, buttery sauce held it all together. This dish was perhaps the closest to Mom's, though I could have wished for a little more ginger in the mix. I doubt anyone would have even remembered the ginger, however, when spooning up that first taste of firm peach and silky sauce.
Ginger peach cobbler
A glass of house wine was included with the Restaurant Week price. I chose the Sauvignon Blanc and was rewarded with a New Zealand-style explosion of passion fruit flavor with a brightly acidic base. The food may have been a little sweet for the wine, but it was a treat on its own.
Auden's Kitchen offered an extra bit of comfort Friday night by showing a movie in its courtyard. Those not afraid of the heat, and that included a few kids, enjoyed "Labyrinth." The series continues next week just after dark.
"Labyrinth" on the patio screen.
Culinaria's Restaurant Week, however, continues only through this evening. That leaves you with one last chance to try a multi-course lunch for $15 or dinner for $35. For a list of participating restaurants, click on the Culinaria ad above.
700 E. Sonterra Blvd.