We went back and forth on what we wanted to do for our fifth wedding anniversary. At one point we had talked about taking a little weekend trip somewhere within driving distance. As we discussed it further, the more it seemed like the wrong time for us to be going away and that it’d be so much more enjoyable to stay local. That’s when we decided to instead make reservations at Oleana. We’ve been to most of the big dining establishments here, but Oleana was still one that we hadn’t been to. Based on the reaction I got when I mentioned this to my food-loving friends, the fact that we hadn’t dined there was a real shame. Going in, our expectations were exceedingly high and because of that there was a very strong possibility that we’d leave disappointed. “Well, the food was decent, but the service was terrible” or “I can’t believe they would pair that with that! Gross!” Nope. None of that. The service was friendly and attentive and the patio area of the restaurant was the most romantic environment to celebrate an anniversary. The food was all executed beautifully: Buratta and fried eggplant. Octopus shish, Egyptian garlic sauce, sprouted lentils & fresh chickpeas. Spinach falafel, tahini sauce, beet yogurt & cress. Baby farm greens, pistachio freekah, cherries, homemade string cheese. Ok, I’ll stop.
It was a special treat to go out for a few meals this weekend after doing a lot of cooking these last couple of weeks. I’ve been so inspired by all the produce that’s graced the markets. I often just go to the store with no idea what I want (which can sometimes be a dangerous thing). I’ll grab three or four items, developing a dish on the spot. And that’s how this salad came to be. Certainly not traditional, but it works. A bit of a bite from the radish, sweetness from cherries, and a little tang from the goat cheese make this a lunch I plan on coming back to.