Since about the second or third year of our marriage, hubby and I have made a point of doing something special for Christmas Eve that was just for us. For several years we went to a local Italian restaurant, but eventually they stopped being open on Christmas Eve. Then we started going to a Steak and Ale for dinner, and after quite a few years, they too stopped being open for Christmas Eve. So then we started going to a favorite place of ours in Buckhead (north Atlanta) - Dante's Down The Hatch. Dante's is an amazing place! They have a jazz trio, as well as other local talent in between sets. The building is old, and they are in the basement, and there is an old ship inside, with tables and a stage for the band IN the ship, and then other tables on the Wharf. There is an extra fee for sitting inside the ship, but you can hear the music all over the restaurant, so we usually sit on the Wharf. There is also water surrounding the ship, complete with turtles and crocodiles - yes, LIVE crocodiles! And there are vintage pieces from all over decorating the place - it is very eclectic, to say the least!
But the best thing about Dante's is the food! They serve several different varieties of fondue, and our favorite is the 'Mandarin'. You get a pot of hot oil and a plate of breaded shrimp and chunks of lean steak, lean pork loin, and chicken. You also get all the fresh French bread and butter that you can eat. We usually get a salad as well, and their bleu cheese dressing is incredible!!! With the fondue you get four sauces - a teriyaki, a soy and ginger sauce, a sour cream and horseradish sauce, and their remoulade sauce. And oh, my! The remoulade is to die for! I am so glad I didn't know what was in it before I tried it, because I probably would have missed out on the deliciousness that is in that sauce!
Anyway, when we moved up here to the 'country' we continued to drive the hour plus that it took to get down to Dante's, until . . . one Christmas hubby made me a gift of an electric fondue pot, and then our new tradition began! We stayed at home, I prepared our fondue dinner to be as close as I could get it to Dante's but with the addition of extra veggies, and set everything on our rather large coffee table and built a fire in the fireplace, watched a Christmas movie on TV, and just relaxed with food and wine and each other . . . in the comfort of our own home. Bliss, I tell you!
This year, Christmas will be a bit different for us, because my Mama will be with us. And there will be only the three of us, and I am so excited about that! We will still have our fondue dinner here at home, but we will move it to the dining table to make it easier and more comfortable for her. But we will probably still have a fire in the fireplace, and will definitely watch a Christmas movie! And we will enjoy relaxing with food and wine and each other in the comfort of our own home, only there will be one more of us. And I can't wait!
So, I'm going to share with you the recipe for Dante's remoulade sauce (and yes, they gave me a printed copy once when I asked them for the recipe), and I hope some day you will give it a try! Bur first I want to wish you a wonderful Christmas, and ask you "what is your favorite Christmas tradition?"
Merry Christmas, Becky
from Dante's Down the Hatch Restaurant
1 cup mayonnaise
1 egg (hard boiled and very finely chopped)
1 tsp. dry mustard (ground mustard)
1 tsp. anchovy paste (this is the only recipe I make that calls for this, and don't buy the stuff. I have found a little bit of soy sauce - 1/2 teaspoon or so - in it's place works every bit as well)
2 tsp. capers (small size, or diced larger ones)
1 tsp chopped tarragon leaves (or a little more - I love tarragon!)
1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
Add mayonnaise to mixing bowl and stir in hard boiled egg. Stir in remaining ingredients, stirring until the anchovy paste disappears.
(This makes a good bit, so I usually half it just for us - I just cut the hard boiled egg in half and mince half of it.)