For our twenty-second wedding anniversary, Mr. Balancing Act and I decided to try someplace new for dinner. Because I am very picky and he is pretty easy-going, I am usually the one to select a restaurant. And I chose The Rumor Mill in historic Ellicott City.
I knew in advance from reading their Facebook page and Yelp reviews that most people absolutely love this place, but it might not be for everyone. They serve only "small plates" in a tapas style, designed to share, which means no one ever gets a BIG entree. Now I am a relatively small person who can't eat a massive amount in one sitting, but I was still a tad bit concerned about this. I knew I wasn't going to walk away hungry, but I wasn't sure how many dishes we'd have to order.
Strangely enough, I ordered a can of beer to drink. If you know me well, you know I am not much of a beer drinker. I usually prefer red wine. But the list of beers called to me, saying "Try something different!" so I selected the Shiner Ruby Redbird brewed in Texas. It was delicious with a lovely orangey-red color and hints of ginger and grapefruit. I could have downed a couple of those quite easily.
As it turned out, the menu I had perused online in advance (can you say "control freak?") was indeed the menu we were handed, so I had already scoped out the dishes I wanted to order. We started with an order of sweet potato fries in cinnamon butter ($5) and brie stuffed with spinach and artichoke dip ($11). The fries were a tiny portion, probably about ten for each of us, but crisp on the outside and moist on the inside. Perfectly cooked and delectable. The plate of brie came with a generous ring of sliced baguette that encircled a small round of cheese and dip. We managed to make the dip last all the way to the last slice of bread which was quite a feat.
For our "mains" we sampled the kobe beef sliders with housemade pickles and the salmon and cream cheese stacks. (I don't remember the exact prices for these "entrees" but they were somewhere between $12 and $14.) The sliders came in a set of 4 teeny weeny baby burgers with 4 thin slices of pickled cucumber. They were perfectly medium-rare and tasted deeply of BEEF for such a tiny patty. The buns were rich and eggy and the sauteed onions added plenty of flavor. The salmon stacks were truly miniscule in size, topped with micro-greens, and sitting in a sweet sauce laced with sauteed mushrooms. The two dollops of cream cheese were each about the size of a nickel. The fish itself was slightly fishy-tasting which I hoped was due to being a wild-caught type of salmon, although I did not inquire about this.
My husband and I both had room for dessert. This is truly unheard of. But we took advantage and ordered a white chocolate creme brulee for my hubby and a dark chocolate hazelnut tart for me. Both desserts were decorated with fresh blackberries. I found the creme brulee a bit runny but the dark chocolate tart was devilishly rich. I had to work hard to finish the whole thing, but I am a trooper. Got it done.
Just so you know, this restaurant does not carry decaf coffee. If you'd like a cup of coffee with your dessert, keep this in mind!
If I were to make any changes to the dinner we enjoyed, I would only add a couple of dipping sauces. And I wanted the sauces more out of habit than from a need for more flavor from my food. I always dip my fries in something, and I always slather my burgers in at least one sauce. Both the burgers and the fries were delicious without additional sauces, but my need to dip was not satisfied.
Overall, I had a very pleasant anniversary dinner. Did I mention we've been married 22 years? Together for 27, but it took 5 years for me to convince the man to marry me. Hard work, but worth it.