I thought that tonight I officially entered zombiehood, namely ingesting brains. What?! Oh good God what?! you may be asking yourselves. Before you panic, I should clarify: animal brains. Not fully zombie, but still close enough to count. Dreams dashed.
For a nice Friday night dinner we went to Hopgood’s Foodliner, best restaurant of 2012, for good east coast food. It was almost immediately decided beforehand that we had to order the donairs (due to rave reviews) and a seafood dish (this being east coast fare after all). When we arrived our waiter informed us that the dishes are rather small and moreso meant for sharing. Up for a challenge we decided to expand our order.
We started with the crab & lobster dip with Triscuits, so fancy. It was really good, much fancier than the Triscuits would lead on. Up next was my daring pick: sweetbreads with cauliflower and truffle sauce. I am not a fan of cauliflower, it smells bad. As far as I knew, sweetbreads was a dish consisting of animal brains. (NOTE: it is in fact not brains, hence the dashed zombie dreams, it is the thymus, pancreas or various other glands from cows and lambs). Brent had less than high hopes for this dish, as he explained to me later. After we devoured it, pausing to look wide-eyed at each other. It was amazing. Honest to God, Hopgood’s take on sweetbreads is easily one of the best dishes I have EVER had. EVER. It is up there with the salmon and jellyfish dishes at Guu, Barberian’s steak, and Ici Bistro’s chicken. It was so unbelievably good. The cauliflower was under the sweetbreads in the form of a puree that added a subtle hint flavour, the sweetbreads were deep-fried and crispy, drizzled with a delicious truffle sauce and lastly covered with thin slivers of cauliflower and tiny stalks of green onion. I normally hate cauliflower and green onions. Somehow, these two were magically transformed and melded with animal glands into an epic culinary masterpiece. I tip my hat to the chef.
The sweetbreads were a tough act to follow and the smoked mackerel on oatcakes did not live up to it. Not by a long shot. It was an OK dish but not nearly as good as the sweetbreads, the bar had been raised. None of the subsequent dishes we had lived up to the sweetbreads. The donairs did come really close. They were indeed delicious and amazing. With every bite there was a squirt of hot oil & juice from the meat. I kept losing my tomatoes with every bite, which in this case (there is a first for everything) was a bad thing! Shocking, I know.
For dessert we split the toffee. I just really really really wanted to untie and unwrap it. I had seen photos of it, wrapped in brown craft paper, tied with string. It was too fun to pass up. That, and it sounded tasty. I bit into it and was rather taken aback, somehow (looking back, it is obvious) I had not expected it to be so hard. Apparently I forgot about the intrinsic properties of toffee. It was delicious, but rather hard to bite. I should have ordered a coffee or hot chocolate to dip it in.