rambling restaurant madness: past photos and future fun

`But I don’t want to go among mad people,’ Alice remarked.
`Oh, you can’t help that,’ said the Cat: `we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.’
`How do you know I’m mad?’ said Alice.
`You must be,’ said the Cat, `or you wouldn’t have come here.’

exciting news from the crew at rambling restaurant! we’re hosting a mad hatter’s rambling tea party and the unexpected illumination of rambling banqueteers at the newly acquired oxford street location of the oubliette arthouse this friday.  i’ll play the white queen, foodrambler will the red queen, michelle shall personify the mad hatter, and miss milly will be behind the wheels of steel as alice, the wonderland visitor herself.  it will be madness. i am excited.

in honor of the upcoming whirlwind of cooking, eating, drinking, and dancing activity, i’ve got a few photos of past rambling restaurant dishes to share.

from rambling restaurant a few weeks ago: a roasted vegetable torte with zucchini, yellow and orange peppers, eggplant, and parmesan cheese. a staple at our san francisco apartment.

roasted vegetable torte

and the richly colored layers of the cross-section of torte, with a thick hunk of zucchini and roasted tomato focaccia hovering in the background…

better slice of roasted vegetable torte

the main course was a fantastic bulgur wheat salad with roasted lemons and feta cheese with spiced lamb kebabs and a rocket salad with tomatoes. i very much failed to take any photos. but dessert…dessert was a fabulous alcoholic sugar bomb of a dessert called a sicilian cassata.

sicilian cassata

like a three-ring circus, the cassata is a mad world of outlandish ingredients all clamoring for your attention. but instead of fire-breathers, clowns, and dancing elephants, the cassata features ricotta, pistachios, creme fraiche, chocolate, sponge fingers, oranges, and a healthy pour of alcohol amongst other ingredients.  with the alcohol and sponge fingers it’s a bit reminiscent of tiramisu but way more insane. i’ve never had anything like it and it’s wonderful, especially served with a scoop of homemade lemon sorbet.

from rambling restaurant this past sunday – chef foodrambler dreamed up a fantastic starter that i’d be happy to get in any restaurant: fat and luscious stalks of purple asparagus drizzled with a buttery lemony hollandaise sauce and served with a dish of tiny soft boiled quail eggs to crack over the vegetables. i don’t have pictures of the finished dish – we’re always so busy plating and serving that we forget to take photos – but the ingredients on their own are worthy of photos as well.

fresh purple asaparagus on the stove

and the tiny little quail eggs…

quail eggs to be broken over asparagus and hollandaise

the entree was a rocket salad with grilled chorizo, roasted tomatoes, and a thick wedge of  toasted goat cheese. i don’t a tower of goat cheese to be grilled and served on saladthink there are many sensations on the planet better than a mouthful of warm goat cheese with little browned toasty bits from the grill.  mmm…the mild taste of the goat cheese is the perfect counterpoint to the spicy chorizo which i would like to eat right now at this moment. we served the salad alongside the french flatbread pizza-esque tart known as the pissaladiere, which we’ve served before at rambling restaurant. delicious.

final course: a trio of ice cream sandwiches served in a over-the-top pyramid of messy, melty madness. starting at the top is the chocolate and cayenne pepper cookie with ginger ice cream, followed by the lemon and rosemary cookie with vanilla ice cream, all resting on a base of cinnamon honey walnut cookie with cardamom ice cream. check out the insanity below.

trio of homemade ice cream sandwiches

apparently  ice cream made by hand doesn’t get quite as frozen as ice cream from an ice cream maker. this fact was made quite obvious when the ginger kept melting all over the place as i tried to set up the towers for each table.  it was a bit of a frantic moment trying to shape all the sandwiches and serve them before the ice cream melted into little pools of creaminess on the plate. i’m not sure how everyone managed to eat them without getting ice cream all over their face. they must have shoved them in their mouths immediately in a race against time because all of a sudden the plates were empty. that is, until we offered seconds.

yes, it’s all madness and there’s more to come…

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