Province Fueling the Fire

Wow.  Hello everyone.  My buds missed staring back into your screen-dried, bloodshot eyes.  I have been kicking myself for failing my blog for a while now.  ’Twas going to be my new years resolution to pick this old hobby back up again.  Luckily, I have the urge two weeks too soon.  Unfortunately it’s not under the best circumstances, but I must strike when the iron’s hot.  It’s been cool for far too long.  I wish the fire was reignited by more than anger and dissatisfaction, but my buds are back with a vengeance!  That’s a smidge of an exaggeration… I am not literally going to inflict punishment for the wrong committed.  But when I leave a restaurant hungry after spending a handsome Benji I am not a happy woman.
I arrived at Province with wide eyes (that soon became overwhelmed by magenta) and an empty stomach.  I had been once before but just for a snack.  I browsed the wine list and settled on a glass of Eric Bordelet sparkling pear cider.  I had tried it at Quince in San Francisco a year ago and really loved the subtle pear sweetness and effervescence.  I’m a slut for bubbles, we all know this.  Just a week ago I sat at the bar at Graham Elliot and enjoyed a glass for the second time, paired wonderfully with buckwheat pancakes, shmeared with huckleberry jam and foie gras. I asked the bartender at Graham Elliot what I was drinking and he was unsure.  I said, “is it Eric-something?”  He replied, impressed might I add, “Yes, that’s it! Eric Bordelet.”  Cue me feeling like a badass.  Needless to say when I saw it on Province’s menu I got happy.  And then, it arrived.  It didn’t look right.  There was a lot of sediment swishing around which I didn’t recall seeing, and it was bubble-less. My sparkling was still. A travesty, in my opinion.  Unacceptable.  I taste it, and yup…  Pear syrup.  No thanks!  I very politely informed my waitress that I think I received the final pour from a bottle opened a week ago.  I was correct.  A new glass arrived and restored my happiness when it hit my tongue.  Bubbles flirted gently with my buds, a hint of sweetness… Just how I remember. I was happy enough to forget that mishap even happened. Bubbles in hand, I was ready to eat.
Beet salad with blue cheese, candied almonds, and market greens arrived and disappeared shortly after.  Good, standard beet salad.

beet salad, blue cheese, candied almonds, market greens

Still happy.  Salmon taradito hits the table.  Three bites of sashimi-style salmon topped with preserved lemon, cucumber, and jicama.  Another minute passes, then it’s gone. Not jumping out of my chair but still happy nonetheless.

salmon, preserved lemon, cucumber, jicama

Next, the shrimp ceviche (or so they say) arrived.  You say shrimp ceviche, I saw brown mush.  The first thing I think is “man, that’s ugly.”  It was presented in a simple drinking glass, which need I remind you is transparent?  Pardon my doo-doo talk but it looked like exactly that… A cupful ‘o’ doo-doo.  I didn’t take a picture for that exact reason.  I thought no matter how good it tastes, no one needs to see that.  F for presentation, moving on… Enter shrimp ceviche in mouth.  ”What… what is that flavor ? What am I tasting??”  After reluctantly chewing and thinking a little while longer, it came to me.  A1 steak sauce?  Yea, A1 steak sauce.  I actually like A1, don’t get me wrong.  But in a shrimp ceviche described on the menu as shrimp, market peppers, avocado, and spicy tomato jus, I wanted nothing to do with it.  I was expecting a lovely, acidic ceviche lightly dressed in a tomato-scented broth with big slices of avocado and peppers.  I felt like a dear friend stabbed me in the back.  Province betrayed me.  It literally tasted as if some shrimp and a bottle of A1 were thrown in a hole in the center of the earth, stomped on by sasquatch, then scooped into a clear, unfortunate serving dish and presented to my table.  I’m still not convinced that’s not exactly what happened.  It was simply terrible.  I don’t understand how that would ever leave a kitchen or how a guest could leave happy after receiving it.  After I tried it and realized it tasted as ugly as it looked, I had to document it.  Here ya go.  Imagine a clear glass filled with this slop…

doo doo pie... i mean shrimp ceviche

Well, sasquatch shit on my parade.  I was no longer happy.  No amount of Eric Bordelet could wipe the heavy steak sauce flavor off of my tongue. I did give it a shot, though (cue empty glass).  Perhaps my grilled octopus would raise my spirits.  You know me, I love my grilled octo.  Wrong again. Sad day for Kara.  My grilled octopus with preserved lemons, rice beans, smoked olive aioli and chorizo had none of the exciting components described above.  No grill marks or texture.  No bright lemon flavor.  Undercooked beans.  M.I.A. smoked olive aioli.  And okay, sure, the plate did actually have chorizo on it, but it was also disappointing.  At this point I was too far down for anything to soften the fall.  Glass still empty, literally and figuratively.

sad octopus

Still hungry, I toyed with the idea of ordering something else.  After much back and forth I decided against it for fear of being disappointed again.  Like my dad told me when I was eight: “you keep stabbing yourself in the eye with a fork, it’s gonna keep hurting.”  We literally discussed where to stop afterward, although we never went.  As dissatisfied as my appetite was, I also no longer had one.  It was like a bad kiss…  I was just turned off.  As you know, that’s incredibly rare for me.  Unfortunately, Province got the job done.  Province killed my mojo.
To top it off, two glasses of Eric Bordelet were on the bill.  And the shrimp ceviche that I loved so dearly was on the bill not once but twice. No, thanks. Once was enough.

My return to the blog world feels bittersweet. I am super happy to feel a fire and have ammunition, but part of me feels sad for saying such “not nice” things.  My intentions are in no way malicious, just honest after an unpleasant dining experience.  A wise man that I consider a mentor told me that if I paid full price with my own money, I’m entitled to my opinion. So there ya have it.

Moral of the story? It’s a shame we reunite under these circumstances, but my buds are back, baby!  Don’t mess with my mojo.

About admin

For the Love of Food! I am Kara, the girl with the buds (TASTE buds). I have developed a delectable affinity for food over the past few years, and I intend to jot my mile-a-minute food thoughts down in this thing they call a "blog." And let me tell ya, this young brain of mine can be pre-tty hyper so be prepared for a wide variety of material. Regarding food, my cranium is busy enclosing thoughts ranging from new recipes I've conjured up to how fortunate I am to eat today when malnutrition is so prevalent across the globe. Quite the incongruous balance, eh? Well, being the Food Network fiend that I am, I cannot help but incessantly think about what I'm cooking for dinner or talk about my dire need to have my own show--It's in my blood! Which, by the way is a cross-breed blend of red velvet cake batter (my father) and macerated strawberries (my mother). So if you're catching my drift, welcome to the blog of all things taste buds! If not, eat {insert something grotesque here} and let me know if it was worth it. Moral of the story? FOOD BRINGS ME JOY
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2 Responses to Province Fueling the Fire

  1. Rob says:

    Eek! That kinda killed my appetite…

  2. eric says:

    Good to have you blogging again Kara

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