For our monthly dinner, Ryan and I headed out to Willamsburg to visit Aska-a modern take on Scandinavia dishes.

Dinner was a set, but very affordable menu.  And the cocktail, beer, and wine (including bottles) were all reasonably priced.  As such we started the meal with a bottle of red from the Rhone region.

Now for the meals.  I feel like I should let Ryan write this post to give Aska a decent critique(and perhaps he will after reading this post, or maybe not because I end on a rant). Anyhow, while I’m certainly eating more well, meats than I was when I started this blog, I do so on rare occasions and still prefer to keep to a fish and vegetable diet.  I’m also not a huge fan of butter, fat, oils, etc….which made this meal rather hard for me. I took a bite of everything, but left many dishes unfinished-not because they weren’t tasty but just because I didn’t like the idea of eating certain animals or animal parts.  I already felt like I was wasting and offending the chief by not eating the already small plates and so in order not to offend now, I’ll share each dish in photo form and not comment much further, except for those I really enjoyed…

I also felt bad by not enjoying something Ryan enjoys so much, but this experience was just much more than I could handle, and as a former vegetarian who after that meal wants to be one again, I realized I can only go so far-sorry Ryan.

The meal started with a few snacks including these dried scallops-which were like scallop chips.

And to be honest I was probably being too hard in my first blurb about the dishes, the remaining snacks of pig blood croquet and duck heart where my least favorite items and those that I really had no interest in tasting…I did enjoy the rest of the meal, more than less.

The first official course was shaved cauliflower with dill and skate

Celery root with venison on top

This was actually a potato, with ramp and a whey sauce.

Followed by a delicious squid (the bottom half only was fried) served with elderberry and nasturtium-favorite savory dish of the night.

The final savory bit of the meal was a duck with a plum sauce. Now, I would never select duck off a menu-way too fatty for my liking.  I also struggle with this interest in living a long life with few chronic health conditions and keep of the pounds that come with eating such decadent food (mostly the latter to be honest), but there were only 2 small pieces (most of which I ate without the fat), and was quite good-especially the sauce.

Finally, it was dessert, my favorite part of the meal.

We started with a bread ice cream-it seemed to have a fennel quality to it as well.

And a milk sorbet with a spruce and blueberry sauce.

Both desserts was amazing, and a taste profile very different than anything I had experienced in the past.  It was also a nice end to the meal without being overly sweet.

And a coffee for digestion.

Now, I considered not writing this post.  Who cares to hear about how Ryan took me to a nice meal and I was scared to try 1/3 of the dishes. And apart from the desserts I’m not doing a lot to promote Aska-though for those who are looking for a modern take on food and have a fondness of duck you should definitely make your way out to Williamsburg.  BUT-I felt like I needed to write this post, because beyond the animals I didn’t want to eat, I didn’t want to eat any of the sauces. And while I know this was a special occasion, I feel like the stress of being at the bench as a Postdoc while also trying to get into the public health side of things has left me constantly coming with an excuse of why I deserve to treat myself or have a glass of wine at the end of the night, and skip the gym because I’m tired.

Perhaps, there isn’t anything wrong in any of those statements(the french enjoy their share of wine and at the very least I do walk 2 miles a day to and from the subway)-except that I live in a city where I’m surrounded my extremely thin women who seem to live a perfect life of health (New York magazine had an article this week about a woman on a juice cleanse who went to Physique 57 in the morning and soul cycle at night-really! and on nothing but juice!!).  On the other end of the spectrum I live in a city full of fabulous food, desserts, and cocktails.  How to find a balance?  Especially when I’m trying to find a balance in work, let alone a work-life balance(whoever came up with that term-boo), but now also a fun but healthy work life balance.

I don’t know…but thanks as always my loyal readers who follow me along this crazy ride.