Cheese. Man oh man, do I love me some cheese! When we lived in Golden Valley, we'd stop in at Byerlys on the way home and pick up something for dinner that night. If I was in luck, they would have put cheese samples out all around the deli area, and I'd toothpick those little cubes to my heart's content. Now that we live in "friendly" Fridley (people do a lotta uppers around here), we frequent our local Cub with the occasional trip to Lunds in Northeast, and those cheese misers haven't put out a sliver of Jarlsberg in years. Years! So yesterday, when I had a hankerin' for some fancy dancy blue cheese, rather than buying a giant hunk that only I will eat for the next month, we went to The Sample Room.
I'm a big fan of the small plates movement. While I love food (duh), I don't like the feeling of bloat and sloth that comes with eating the 96 ounce porterhouse and loaded baked potato. That's why I love The Sample Room. I can have a bit of this, a taste of that, and not feel like I'm waddling like a penguin out of a restaurant. I did overdo it last night, as I learned very quickly that a cheese platter is meant to be shared, and sharing is hard to do if one of the two people staring at said platter is mostly disinterested.
The one cheese Noah did try, a cow's milk named Annabelle, was declared stupendous. He spread his on a cracker, and I ate mine right off the fork, because I'm from Ham Lake and that's just how we do things, okay? He of course didn't touch the blue cheese because he's a big fraidy cat, so I was left to my own devices to power through the wedge. (God, I'm making it sound like an episodd of Man vs. Food over here all over a portion of well aged dairy product. I'm a wuss.) It was super creamy, but had a little bit too much kick for me to finish it. I'd order it again if I went with other fellow cheese nerds who didn't mind my deplorable table manners.
Thankfully I'd left enough room for my entree. I use the word "entree" loosely because many people would see three shrimp and a polenta cake and wonder where the hell the rest of their dish was. I couldn't finish it, and the waiter was all concerned that I didn't like it. Didn't like it? I loved it! We might go back there tonight so I can get it again! I ate and I ate until I couldn't ate no more. Anyhow, they really knocked it out of the park! The shrimp were perfectly cooked in a tomato-y broth that had a bit of a kick, yet was slightly sweet at the same time. The polenta cake was lightly seared and came out piping hot and delightfully crumbly. The Monday after "spring forward" is always a bearcat, and it was a wonderfully comforting meal at the end of a long day.