Without a doubt, my favorite part about being on tour with John on the weekends is looking up and asking for great restaurants. We try to go for ones that kind of encapsulate the feeling of the city that we’re in, and since we have been cities known for their BBQ, we’ve been drowning ourselves in tangy barbecue goodness.
But we are over it. Had too much, can’t imagine having anymore. Kind of like when I went to Pakistan, years ago for a friends wedding, and can no longer have curry of any kind.
Which is a shame, because North Carolina is known for their tangy, vinegary Carolina-BBQ and I just (literally) cannot stomach that.
So we asked around, and decided upon a restaurant called “Halcyon: Flavors from the Earth”. Which, now that I am typing it out, is a kind of terrifying name for a restaurant, while not at all a terrifying name for a big budget follow-up to the blockbuster, “Halcyon: The Beginning”.
Aesthetically, it was very promising. I dunno if any of you have been to ABC Kitchen in nyc, which has a really wonderful menu…unexpected flavors and super diverse options…love it…but anyhow, Halcyon is definitely trying to be in the family of ABC Kitchen, while only remaining as the creepy cousin whose wife mysteriously died and he was ruled out as a suspect but, sigh, everyone in the family totally knows he is capable of such a terrible thing and it becomes and open secret at family gatherings. That’s Halcyon. The little-bit-off cousin you don’t really want to be associated with as ABC Kitchen. (Although Woodberry Kitchen in Baltimore blew even ABC Kitchen out of the water for me.) **note: John says it’s more like the less-cute sibling of a very famous actor. They kinda look the same, but you can tell which one is the star and which one gets sent money. This makes much more sense than what I said.
The idea of all the restaurants I just mentioned is the “farm to table” concept, which is basically knowing exactly where your food is coming from, down to the exact farm and date the food was shipped.
It’s a nice idea. But at Halcyon, it was just done….meh. The waiter was very detailed about the farms (I tune this part out), then when I asked “what do you recommend from the menu”, he was very quick to say “THE DUCK. DEFINITELY.” And there is where the most boring, bland adventure ever began.
By the way, it really pains me to even write anything negative about a meal that was so beautifully presented in such a wonderful setting. We are lucky to be able to eat like this at all, but yeah. Their food was….bleh.
Pea soup. On the specials menu. I guess it was special in the way that it was the only thing the entire night with flavor and even then it was only sorta-good. Very hearty, tasted ok, but also borderline cold. It cannot be that hard to serve a hot soup. It just can’t.
Meatball Trio. I forget what the trio even was. My guess would be Dry, Drier, and Driest. Might have been one of the worst things I have ever been so confidently served to me in a nice restaurant. So thick and pasty and try. Hard to swallow. Don’t make me relive this, please.
Goat Cheese Panna Cotta. This, I could get down with. But yeah, it was just a slab of goat cheese, and everything else around it wasn’t that great. So I’ll go ahead and thank the goat, not the chef. Thank you goat, great job on your cheese.
Rabbit Rillettes. I went in already hating the idea of this. I really, reallllly hate the idea of pate (let’s find a way to turn liver into a creamy, spreadable texture that will still be somehow so much worse than liver in it’s original state!) and I hate foie gras, and this dish was a mix of both, with rabbit liver. Cringe. But it was edible. John actually liked it, but I wouldn’t go that far. Is edible really what we’re going for these days in restaurants? Sigh.
Aaaah, the duck. The duck that the waiter was so eager for us to try. Rightfully so, because it was the best thing we had. So take that however you’d like. It was well cooked and almost tasty. Nothing special, but after everything we had tried before hand, it was a welcome treat.
Finally, the pork chop…
I’m already so bored just talking about this place. It all looks great right? Was Halcyon some sort of mythological greek character that roamed around wearing elaborate, fancy jewels and silk togas but inside was just…dull? That’s the only thing that would make sense to me here.
Oh. The pork chop was fine. I could do better. You could do better. Maybe this place was solely built to make us all feel like better cooks.
So selfless! I take it all back. Thank you. Thank you, Halcyon.