Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Tomatoes with Green Goddess Dressing

A Silver Anniversary Celebration


Tomatoes with Green Goddess Dressing at Thistle

Last week was Pavel and my 25th wedding anniversary.  It kind of snuck up on us, so we didn’t have a big party, or go on a trip to Florence. Which might have been fitting, since that’s where we honeymooned.  Florence, Oregon, that is. So really it wasn’t that surprising a choice to spend our anniversary in McMinnville, Oregon. Especially since we were going to eat at Thistle Restaurant.


Thistle's Menu Board, Blurred

Turned out Thistle was the perfect choice.  We walked in, looked at the menu board, and there it was: Heirloom Tomatoes, Pole Beans, Green Goddess.  When did you last see tomatoes with Green Goddess dressing on a menu? The thing is, the last time I saw it served in a restaurant was…yep, exactly 25 years ago. At our wedding reception, at Chez Panisse.


Two of our favorite things:rosé and stripes

Our wedding dinner was made by friends and family, and had all the things we most love: devilled eggs, ham and biscuits, beans and cornbread, salami, gravlax…you get the picture. When we were planning the menu my mom said to me, “why don’t you have tomatoes with Green Goddess dressing?” So we did. Because when it comes to matters of food and heart (and just about everything else) my mom always knows best.

And Thistle’s tomatoes with Green Goddess were perfect. The dressing was  thinner (with the lemon juice) than it often is, the tarragon and chervil still present.  And I was just so pleased by the symmetry of it all. 

I’d spent the last few days going through wedding albums, and was enjoying being reminded of old friends who we’ve lost touch with, and family and friends who are no longer with us.  It was also fun being reminded of how exquisitely young we were.  Such promise—so much hope!  I’m pleased to say our marriage has given us exactly what we most hoped for: children, community, a happy life. 

At the same time, there’s been so much to read about Chez Panisse’s upcoming 40th birthday.  I’ve felt a bit out of time, stuck back in 1986. It’s been a happy visit.

Beet Salad with Sorrel Love Letters

Back to 2011.  The whole dinner was perfect.  We also had a beet salad with wood sorrel, the sorrel leaves looking like folded heart-shaped love letters, and tasting like childhood—remember eating sour grass? 


For our main courses Pavel had some perfectly cooked tuna, served simply with basil and squash.


And I had the gnocchi—little pillows of potato dumplings, resting amongst halved cherry tomatoes, and bright green fava beans.

cake 2

No wedding cake for us this time (the first time around we had two types: bourbon pecan and chocolate, with vanilla ice cream).  Our waitress came to our table after the main course. “Here at Thistle we have just one dessert each night. Tonight’s is berries with whipped cream.”


And they were perfect—raspberries and blackberries that had never seen the inside of a refrigerator with barely whipped cream.  (The cream wasn’t really pink; I just hate using a flash in a restaurant).

I can’t wait to go back to Thistle. I just hope the next quarter century passes by a bit more slowly. But I know it won’t, so I’ll be sure to taste everything as the years flash by.
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