"Christmas Eve" dinner out

Wednesday, 22 December 2010
My family moved to Columbus, Ohio when I was in college and our extended family is in Missouri. Since we haven't lived around family in quite sometime, we came up with the new tradition of having a nice dinner out on the town for Christmas Eve.

This year, my parents drove to Knoxville to spend time with me the weekend before Christmas. I have to work on Christmas day and eve and I felt very loved that they would drive 12 hours round-trip to visit me. We decided to go to Chez Liberty for our dinner on the town. I recently went there for brunch and wanted to give dinner a go because my experience was excellent.

My mom and I both have vintage mink furs (I would never buy a new fur product if that makes you feel better, ours are 'recycled') and wear them usually once a year. This was the perfect occasion because it has been in the 20s at night in Knoxville and if you have never worn a fur, they are surprisingly warm.

In my dreams, I am a true "foodie." Not necessarily someone who is a food snob, but a person who can take a bite of a dish and notice it was prepared using EVOO, white wine and cilantro without a second taste. I enjoy interesting taste combinations and a restaurant with a great wine list. Patrons will find that at Chez Liberty. We settled on a Spanish '05 Tempanillo from the winter wine menu. It was surprisingly delicious with a slight spicy aftertaste.

Dad doesn't drink wine but he did a bit of tasting with us. Our waiter brought out several Pinot Noir varieties for us to try including two amazing selections: DuMol and Clark and Telephone. I prefer DuMol, mom liked the Clark and Telephone.

For our appetizer, we ordered the Fall Provence Platter. Listen to this: pumpkin goat cheese pesto, cheese, balsamic arugula, sweet potato salad, honey balsamic reduction, herb and olive oil poached turnips, tatsoi (type of greens), and mustard greens.

My diet has changed drastically over the years and I rarely eat meat, although I'm not a vegetarian. This was a great opportunity to try something new and I enjoy dark meat poultry. Therefore, the seared duck breast was the perfect option. I couldn't resist the description: broccoli rabe, goat cheese grit cake, bourbon Clementine preserves. Wow. It was adorned with a Johnny-Jump-up (Viola).

I wish I would have taken a picture of dad's ribeye. It was served with red potatoes, grilled asparagus and garlic root. Also wonderful. Mom and I shared the duck. The portion was huge.

To add to the amazing food and wine, the head chef, Robert (trained at Le Cordon Bleu Atlanta) and the restaurant owner, Ross Young stopped by our table. Chez Liberty is a small restaurant and the two are very involved in the "community" of their space. Ross sent over a taste of a different Spanish wine and even dropped off biscotti for our coffee the next morning.

To top it all off, Johnny Swingette played jazz which increased the festive atmosphere. Young guys with an excellent, smooth sound.

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