Tuesday means tuna casserole at the dining hall for dinner. Other option are available, but just the idea of eating dinner in the proximity of tuna casserole was enough for me and a couple of friends to venture into the hustle and bustle of Grinnell, Iowa to enjoy our town’s newest addition: The Prairie Canary. With mason jar candles on the table, San Pellegrino in my cup, and piping hot cornbread waiting for us at the table, things were aligning for a enjoyable dinner.
Paying good money for cheese is encouraged, but paying $12.99 for three slices of cheese is asking a bit much. In a restaurant without a cheese sommelier (maître fromager) a simple card explaining where the cheese comes from goes a long way . A restaurant is not a place to do a blind cheese tasting, so my disappointment on the lack of information provided is acceptable. This being said, the cheeses were excellent, especially the slice of bleu, which was tangy with hints of mesquite. Interestingly, the cheese was served with buttered bread (along with olives and cornichons). Because it was only lightly buttered, it didn’t overpower any of the cheese, and actually made for some interesting pairings.
Main course: roasted pork tenderloin with a zucchini, bacon and apple ragu and tart cherry cream sauce. But really all that mattered here was the pork: sweet, smokey, succulent, and salty. The outside, crisped to perfection, created a sugary glaze, giving the meat a gratifying crunch. The pork was cooked just long enough to negate any chewiness while retaining all the juices. Despite all the frills served with the dish, this was really a case of really good pork taking over a meal. The meal, condensed into one word, was porkalicious.
1. “Creative cheesemomgers” often put great effort into descriptive cards for all cheeses they sell. The New York Times did an excellent article on this, and I have enjoyed reading the cards from Andrew’s Cheese Shop on numerous occasions.