Sunday, October 23, 2011

Bienvenidos a Log Lunch - 10/21/2011

Before Friday, I was alerted that Log Lunch would be Mexican themed, and not even my midterm directly following the weekly event could dampen my anticipatory spirits. The colorful chalkboard authentically welcomed diners to the food line, and acknowledged that local Mighty Food Farm, Peace Valley Farm, and Gamel Gardens provided the produce and dairy that comprised the vibrant spread. I appreciatively registered this information, but must admit that I was a little distracted - the central ingredient in both the soup and salad was butternut squash, and this realization plunged me into a state of frantic ecstasy.
The soup this week was a pinto bean, corn, and butternut squash stew, and keeping with the theme, the hearty liquid had quite a spicy kick. I am usually partial to pureed soups, yet this preparation showcased the butternut squash so I can't complain - the stewed chunks retained their shape but became divinely mushy, borrowing further earthy flavor as the juices from the other vegetables infused the delicate orange flesh. The small pinto bean and corn units added complementary firm texture to the mixture, as did the optional garnish of roasted pumpkin seeds. The chopped taco salad was jam packed with tasty ingredients, a feature that catapulted this week's rendition to the top of my mental favorites list - mixed in with the requisite fresh greens were juicy tomato chunks, crunchy green pepper pieces, corn kernels, luscious butternut squash wedges, smooth sliced avocado, spicy red onion slivers, and crushed corn tortilla chips. Diners topped this deliciously overwhelming mixture with a delicate cilantro-lime dressing - the taste of cilantro is often a bit strong for my liking, yet the ingredients in the salad all possessed aggressively distinctive flavors that effortlessly balanced the bite of the dressing. One aspect of the lunch that I was supremely disappointed with was the pumpkin cornbread - this starch had the potential to be my ultimate dream, yet was so salty that I couldn't eat my entire cube. The grainy flesh was sufficiently moist, with satisfying corn kernels scattered throughout the orange-yellow interior, yet unfortunately, an overpowering saltiness characterized every morsel.
Emilia's spicy "schwabbin' " cookies were decadently rich and buttery, leaving fingertips slick with oily chocolate residue. The thin circles were crispy around the exterior, yet warm and moist in the middle - the combination of chile and chocolate flavors provided an appropriately authentic conclusion to the Mexican feast. Log Lunch has been particularly impressive this year - both the selection and preparation of toothsome menu items makes this meal one I look forward to all week.

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