Sunday, September 22, 2002

The Restaurant I Ate at Last Night XIV
After a day of touring Richmond, checking out area record shops and bookstores -- including the well-stocked Black Swan Books; Richmond's answer to Berkeley's Rasputin, Plan 9 Music; and the strip-mall square peg Soundhole (which is going to move closer downtown near Sweetwater later this year) -- and meeting the car decal guy so he could detail the car I'm using for the CoF Roadshow, my hosts and I relaxed at home for awhile before going out for dinner.

To eat, we headed across town to Millie's Diner, a wonderful diner-styled fine-dining restaurant that is in fact the namesake for one of my hosts' cats. I was initially surprised by the restaurant's layout -- and then by its menu. The restaurant is hardly a diner at all. With an extremely small cooking station perched between the restaurant's entrance and short counter, Millie's menu is relatively highly priced. Entrees range upwards of $20. But if you focus on the soups and salads and the appetizers, you can eat pretty well for around $15. You might need dessert, but at Millie's, the dessert is the best part.

I started with Millie's tomato and fennel bisque, which was very creamy and good. The bowl was a little shallow, so it cooled quite quickly, but the soup was awesome. Next up, the pan-seared scallops, which counted three and were accompanied by a panzanella comprising grilled bread, capers, and other goodies. The panzanella was a highlight of the appetizer and came topped with fresh bean sprouts. Very good. But the dessert? Oh, the dessert! If you ever visit Richmond, go to Millie's and insist on ordering the frozen mango mousse with honey dew and vanilla soup even if it's no longer on the menu. Consisting of two wedges of frozen mousse, the dessert was drizzled with blackberry sauce, and several blackberries joined in as garnish. Beautiful presentation -- as with all of Millie's food -- and utterly wonderful taste sensations. I need to figure out how to replicate this dessert at home. I was in heaven.

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