That’s What She Said
By Lisa Lynn Backus, CPCE, CMP & Michele Polci, CPCE, CMP
You know those times when you have a particular craving for something different? Welcome to Hearthstone, the place to satisfy your cravings! This particular evening, one of us was in the mood for something “trufflerific.” And she found it.
We started with a fun appetizer of truffle popcorn with pecorino and chives. The smell was intoxicating. The pecorino added just the right amount of saltiness. We snacked on it through the entire meal.
Our favorite was the baked ricotta with black pepper and Gouda. This star of the night, served in a mini spring-form pan, is one you smear on rustic bread and then drizzle with truffle honey. Guess what? It tasted great, maybe even better the next day, and the next for leftovers too. This, along with a bottle from Hearthstone’s extensive wine collection, might just be the perfect beginning to a romantic night. One of us would order it again as a dessert. It was that delightful.
Another first time experience for us was the FG&J; foie gras mousse, Virginia peanuts and house-made jelly. The foie gras encompassed a rich earthiness that was complemented by the texture of the peanuts and the sweetness of the jelly.
It’s a known fact that one of us could eat charcuterie every day and frequently has it at home for endless dinner snacking. What a treat it was when the server presented us with a stand-alone charcuterie menu with “meats, cheeses, breads & spreads.” The presentation of these will tickle you too, when the cured meats are laid out on pig shape platter.
Hearthstone features four kitchens and among these is a wood oven for cooking an eclectic selection of flatbreads. We enjoyed the Carbonara with its translucent pork belly, crispy pancetta cubes, hidden sautéed onion and poached egg which is, after it’s served in front of you, pierced by the server and spread around so all points of the flatbread are nicely “eggefied.” The other flatbread we devoured was the D.O.C., which stands for “Denominazione di Origine Controllata.” In simple terms for us to understand, it is not a deep dish, cheesy bread, stuffed crust or any other else that would take away from this ultra-thin crust of gourmand flawlessness of buffalo mozzarella, basil and red chili!
An endorsement by the restaurant staff is the Harvest Quinoa Salad and it was not to be missed. Chickpeas, thinly sliced apple, shredded Gouda and roasted pumpkin seeds were lightly dressed with an apple cider vinaigrette. We loved it so much it made the trip back home!
Hearthstone was open, bright and airy. On this particular night, the patio was being utilized in full force. The food embraced the farm-to-table concept and so did the understated rustic country, meets industrial, meets steam punk attitude of the restaurant. Seating is a mixture of tables of all sizes, heights and elevated perimeter booths. The attention to detail from the menu items down to the artisan- made specialty dishware, serving vessels, and the focus to bring the outside-in did not go unnoticed. Depending on what your mood is, you could sit at the expansive bar and catch a featured sports game, or belly up to the open kitchen and gets a bird’s eye view of the culinary magic going on.
We ran out of room to have an entrée as we ate our way through the rest of the menu. We did however, save a little room for dessert. The butterscotch pudding with cookie butter crunch reminded one of us of her grandmother. It was rich and decedent. The peanut butter lava cake was a sweet hit with roasted banana and brown butter ice cream with a confetti sprinkle of edible flowers. Seconds please… and That’s What She Said!