Sunday, February 27, 2011

Seasonal Style at Skirtz & Johnston

It's getting warmer outside and I'm wanting to be there. I went out early today thanks to Eric responding to my subtle cues.  
I know he likes to sleep in on weekends. I really don't understand why that's such a big deal when you can sleep 
all day.  Oh, the things I could teach them!

      Skirtz & Johnston (just outside Findlay Market) is a purveyor of exquisite baked goods, and embodies the perfect melding of the senses.  The stars are their confections, placed in the window and beckoning one inward.  Once inside, there's more delicacies, chocolates, breads, breakfast and lunch selections, and a friendly and competent staff. Pastry chefs Stefan Skirtz and Andrew Johnston began their journey together back in 2006 at the Midwest Culinary Institute.  When not doing what they do best in the background, they're at the front of the store helping out. 

The Pulled Pork Sandwich and Cannoli
      Eric and I stopped by for lunch on Saturday.  We've been there before, so we already have our favorites.  Both of us ordered 
the Pulled Pork Sandwich with a hint of cherry and a Makers Mark BBQ sauce, served with chips and cole slaw.  It always hits the spot.  For dessert, we went with the Traditional Cannoli.  After ordering at the counter and dispensing our coffees, we went to the dining room where our cannolis were presented.  Eric couldn't wait!  The delicate pastry with vanilla creme filling and chocolate sprinkles has been a preference since our first visit.  We've also tried 
the Raspberry Cannoli which is a tad sweeter. I'd also recommend the Goetta Danish (when they have it). Not to 
my taste was the Apricot Scone,—much too dry!  I love 
scones though, so I'll probably give them another chance at some point. 

      A missed opportunity with many food establishments, 
in my opinion, is not visually portraying the current season.  Many change their menus seasonally and leave it at that, but few give us any images of where we are on the calendar.  Seasonal decorations are a throw back to our childhood and are a welcoming factor, whether in a restaurant or in our homes.  After all, didn't Martha Stewart build an empire based on that premise?

Mardi Gras Centerpiece
      Skirtz and Johnston embrace the seasons with decorations on their tables and counters.  Tables and chairs for 2-4 people surround the dining room.  The focal point 
is the oversized communal bar height wooden table with a properly proportioned floral centerpiece.  
The feature for now is Mardi Gras but they're changed, or tweaked, every Thursday.  The designs are installed and maintained by 
Mary Ellen Pesek of 
Big Bone Gardens in Union, KY.  From the installations that I've seen, she always hits the mark.  Big Bone Gardens are open from mid-April to mid-July, and I know a visit there will be in my future. 

      As we were leaving, we stopped by the pastry case.  I was intrigued by the three different mini cakes.  I went with the mint and Eric chose the banana.  Both had just a hint of the flavors with a chocolate fondant covering.  They made a nice ending to our dinner that night, but the cannoli still wins out.  Another patron was perusing the premises.  She said she had been to a party the night before which Skirtz & Johnston had catered.  She was so impressed, she had to see what else they had to offer.  What a great compliment!

Skirtz & Johnston is located at 113 West Elder Street 
on the East side of Findlay Market.

Big Bone Gardens is on KY 338 in Union, KY.

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