When Walrus Met Carpenter

Fluffiest, cheesiest, winningest polenta

It’s not rocket science. It’s polenta, goat cheese, basil, and tomatoes. Total no-brainer; of course these things go together. Of course they do. And yet somehow I’d never experienced this combination before. The polenta was light and fluffy; the cheese dense but forgiving. The tomatoes burst with acidic flavor, a melty pot of tangy sweet and my grandmother’s garden.

At The Walrus & The Carpenter, they serve nice little meals. They offer drinks that have exotic, unrecognizable booze in them. They serve Coho salmon and in-house smoked trout. They prepare interesting oysters at a bar that looks like Nantucket-Northwest chic, minus the actual chic. It’s simple, and I loved the chandelier.

Plus the rock star reviews.

But I married that polenta, forever and for always. I committed my foreseeable future to that reasonably-priced vegetarian dish. And that’s saying something since I’ll eat anything with a nervous system or a smile.

The second time I visited The Walrus & The Carpenter, with my esteemed food partner, Fox, I was determined to reunite with my polenta domestic partner. But like so many new restaurants these days, the menu had changed, as it often does daily. That allows for greater flexibility in the kitchen, plus fresher fish and ingredients, but I was slightly disappointed…for about two seconds. The new menu was equally intriguing, i.e.; FRIED BRUSSELS SPROUTS.

I wouldn’t classify myself as a ‘Brussel sprouts’ person, but ‘Fried’ is the spirit name of my old, fatty heart — so when I saw them on the menu, my first fleeting thought was ‘Oh! A fried something-or-other!’ I can’t remember what else was on the sprouts besides salt (butter? olive oil?), but I swear on a stack of Martha’s special issue magazines that I liked them more than french fries. MORE THAN FRENCH FRIES. Why aren’t we introducing our children to this phenomenon? If they had some of these, they might be willing to try other veggies.

Then again, I felt like I’d somehow earned that bowl of Brussels sprouts, like they were my reward for eating the grody un-fun ones when I was a defiant little girl-eater. If you visit, and the restaurant has them, demand an order or five.

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