Some fan favorites are delicious as is, and any added flair can take away from that simple bite of flavors. Fettucini alfredo for instance. My favorite recipes include garlic, heavy cream, butter, Pecorino-Romano cheese, and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese with salt and pepper seasoned in. Some folks may add an egg yolk into the mix.
However, some chefs are daring and add on toppings one would not think to try, and the result is delicious. My taste buds were officially converted to the changes made to two of my favorite meals on the Putah Creek Cafe menu. The Harvest Beet Salad and the Pastrami Sandwich are now on my list of must-consider meals.
Somewhere between being a child who only preferred the broccoli stems, and the intentionally eating vegetables adult I am today, I discovered the roast beet salad with goat cheese. I cannot remember the first time I tasted it, but if it’s on the menu I am ordering it.
Putah Creek’s Harvest Beet Salad is next level. A combination of greens and arugula serve as a bed for a flavor pairing of earthy deep red beets and sweet golden beets. The beets are roasted and marinated and drizzled with a lemon tarragon dressing. Pomegranate seeds and candied pecans are sprinkled in with nuggets of goat cheese. Sweet apples are sliced thin and placed on the top of the salad to finish off the presentation.
That may sound like a lot. But this salad is a symphony of flavors and textures that were meant to be.
I’ll be honest, at first I didn’t think I was going to like it. But with an open mind and a willingness to try most anything, I loaded a forkful with a little bit of everything, topped with a deep red beet and took a bite. The goat cheese and lemon tarragon dressing bring a delightful tangy flavor that compliments the beet and arugula’s flavors. Another biteful with the golden beet was just as delicious.
The pomegranate seeds add an unexpected crunch that somehow seems to compliment the
sweetness of the apple. The candied pecans are just the silver lining, but I’m not discounting how the nutty flavor seems to tie it all together.
It’s a big salad, and I ended up saving the other half of it to eat with my dinner later that evening.
I ordered the Pastrami Sandwich for my husband so he would have a warm lunch when he got home from work. I’m not against pastrami, but I wasn’t sure if it was going to be the meal for me. It seemed to have a lot of extra toppings.
Putah Creek gives you a choice of rye bread or a French roll (I highly encourage you to select the rye). It’s layered with pastrami, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, pepperoncini, thick-cut pickles and a spread of dijon. The sandwich gets grilled and the outside gets a crispy outshell, while the swiss cheese melts to bind all the filling together.
I do enjoy sauerkraut on sandwiches, and after he seemed to enjoy eating the first half I asked if I could have a taste. He ended up taking another massive bite and handed me the remaining fourth of the half to finish. I almost regretted that I had not ordered my own. But there was no way I would have been able to eat a full-sized salad and a sandwich.
I can honestly say, I was wrong. It was not a lot of extra toppings. It was the perfect lineup of toppings that combined with the meaty taste of the pastrami and the nutty, earthy rye bread. The grilled outer shell offers up a golden crunch that makes you want to go back in for another bite.
I ended up asking for one more bite of the other half of his sandwich before forcing myself to walk away back to my work desk. Next time, I’m ordering myself one to go.