Summer may be a vacation for my kids, but I’m still on duty. For instance, the people must be fed, and I find myself at the supermarket with alarming frequency. So, it was a double treat to let my family dine without me, and head out to a “grocery” of a different kind, for a Girls’ Night Out.
I rallied some friends to try the small plates menu offered each evening by the Deer Valley Grocery Cafe. We hit it at the perfect time–just as the soft light of early evening was dappling the pond. (Purple prose notwithstanding, that’s EXACTLY how it looked). A couple of families were enjoying dinner after stand up paddle boarding. We, on the other hand, were enjoying a bottle of Liberty School Cabernet Sauvignon.
We ordered liberally–after all, it was our first visit, so it was incumbent upon us to sample as many of the menu offerings as possible. Nothing disappointed. Among our favorites: the charcuterie platter, the cedar planked salmon with strawberry rhubarb compote and the beef tenderloin.
My personal favorite (I couldn’t stop myself from making joyful exclamations after each bite) is an item that will be on the menu at various points this summer: Fried Heber Valley Halloumi, a Greek style cheese served with honey, Marcona almonds, a sherry reduction, arugula and baguette. The dish hits all the right tart/sweet/savory notes, and feels completely indulgent.
Sitting on the patio, we noticed that the evening only got prettier as it wore on. There is a joke in there somewhere about people in bars, but I promise I had only one glass of wine, and the changing light and achievement of the perfect temperature by 7:30 p.m. did all the work for us. That, and the fact that the staff made us feel as though we were honored guests.
By the time we had worked our way through all of the delicious dishes, it was clear that there was no room for dessert. This fact, however, was lost on Meg, the service team leader at the cafe. “You have to have the ice cream sandwiches,” she insisted. “There are three in the order…and three of you.” My dining partners attempted to demur. I know Meg to be a wise woman, so I overruled them: