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Flora, Arlington

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My husband and I finally got a night out without the kid and we went to Flora, now our favorite neighborhood spot. Hopefully my zeal for this restaurant is not colored by the fact that I haven't been to a place with white tablecloths for months. ;-) We had been to Flora a couple of times before and had always been really pleased with it, but our experience Sat. night was above and beyond.

For once we were seated in the first room you walk into, in a nice cozy spot back in the corner. Usually we end up in the other room at a 2-top floating in the middle the room next to the bar, like we're on display. Definitely a change for the better in ambience this time around. Our server was very friendly (but not too friendly) and gave good suggestions.

We ordered a bottle of Bethel Springs pinot noir from Willamette - this was seriously the best pinot I'd had in a couple of years. Nice and full straight out of the bottle - a wine that's kind of velvety when it hits your tongue. Not thin and sharp like the ones we've struck out on lately. Very reasonable price for a great wine - I've got to track that one down.

I started with the goat cheese salad - I know, a salad, but I'm a sucker for goat cheese. And this salad was all about the cheese - there was a huge round of cheese on top of the mesclun, more than I could eat which is saying a lot. Very good. My husband had the grilled sardines that were served with sauteed spinach and andouille. Maybe not quite as good as the grilled sardines at Atasca, but still really enjoyable. The combination of flavors on the plate were nice.

My entree was the star of the show - rainbow trout with a dijon-bacon vinagrette served with lentils and root vegetables (mostly carrots and brussel sprouts). The trout tasted like it was pulled out of the river that day. Seriously. And it was cooked perfectly - I totally cleaned my plate because I just couldn't let any of it go to waste. My husband had the lamb two-way - I didn't try it because I don't like lamb, but he really liked it. It was a lamb stew and sliced round served over rice.

Dessert was ok, but by that time we were full and winding down anyway. We had the pear gallette which was fine, and it was served with triple ginger ice cream which was really strong (hence the triple). They make their own ice cream in house.

It was just one of those meals where everything comes together - the wine, the food, the service. We'll be going back as often as we can get a babysitter.

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