Tuesday, February 17

the leaning pear

Here is a new feature to my loyal readers, a restaurant review. For Valentine's day Taylor humored me and we took a trip to Wimberley. In addition to this restaurant, we also visited the Cookie Jar and Driftwood Vineyard.

We highly recommend The Leaning Pear to anyone venturing into the hill country or traveling on R.R. 12. Owned by a pair of fellow Aggies, The Leaning Pear states that they use the freshest seasonal ingredients and in our opinion, did a fantastic job of giving classic dishes a unique, memorable yet tasteful twist --pun intended.

To start, we split the Hill Country Cobb salad which, much to my pleasant surprise, was made with real, leafy greens (not iceberg), included avocado (a Cobb essential) and was mixed with an ample but not excessive amount of zesty 'southwestern ranch dressing.' Taylor "branched out" and ordered the Soup and Sandwich combo. He got the Grilled Chicken Club with avocado, provolone cheese and sundried tomato aioli on what we think was freshly in-house made grilled ciabatta bread. For the soup, he ordered a cup of one of the soup specials, Potato Curry, and said it had a nice kick at the end but wasn't too spicy. He said the soup was fantastic and that it made the meal.

I ordered Crab Cakes, another of the specials. It was a great big, single crab cake with generous (and colored) crabmeat chunks. The cake also included corn kernels and some cooked red peppers for a subtle southwest twist. Crab cakes are always served with the same type of aoili or rémoulade sauce and what sold me about this dish was that they did a pesto version of that standard sauce. Any addition of pest0 = heaven. So I was sold. Also, the breading fell apart beatuifully, indicating that it was not prebattered and then frozen. Obviously no one wants a crab cake with a McFish Fillet battering.

We arrived at 11:35am right before the crowd. It's a hoppin' little spot and, from what we could tell, with good reason.

...on the menu: Salmon with Fresh Tomato Mint Salad

On a quest to make us eat more vegetables outside of salad and now my roasted veggie medley, I bought about every vegetable type at the store this afternoon. So expect more vegetable endeavors but for now this is what was for dinner:

Baked Salmon
Steamed Asparagus
Tomato Mint Salad

Baked Lemon Salmon
2 8oz Salmon fillets
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with foil and place salmon on it. Squeeze half a lemon generously over fillets and sprinkle with a few teaspoons finely chopped mint leaves and a pinch of salt and pepper. Spread evenly. Bake for 12 - 15 minutes or until outside is white and flakes easily.

Tomato Mint Salad
1/2 a large tomato, chopped
1/2 large avocado, chopped
1 cup arugula, chopped
juice from half a lemon (or whole, but the other half was on the salmon)
zest of one lemon
1/4 c. olive oil
1-2 cups corn kernels (I used no salt added canned)
2 T. finely chopped fresh mint leaves
1 T. seasoning salt, or more to taste
fresh ground pepper to taste

Combine ingredients and serve.

This was basically a veggie leftover salad. We both really liked it and is obviously very flexible. You could also just toss it with your favorite salad dressing like Newman's Italian. I also steamed asparagus in my cool Calphalon steamer insert and the rest is yummy history.