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Friday October 28, 2016
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Jolly Pumpkin



Although my friends and I liked the idea of the Grilled Romaine Salad, it proved to be an odd mix of disparate ingredients. The "potato croutons," very cheesy mashed potato croquettes, didn't blend well with the dried figs and toasted walnuts; the grilled chicken breast was perfectly cooked, but the roasted garlic dressing was rather bland. More successful was the Asian Layered Salad, a light combination of rice noodles, shredded vegetables and herbs, cashews, and cubed tofu in a ginger-lime dressing.

Specials also pleased and disappointed. One evening both my husband and my brother ordered a walleye special. Both perfectly pan-braised, they arrived dressed in a cider reduction and accompanied by a sweet potato puree and roasted Brussels sprouts. My husband thought the dish overly sweet; my brother found it wonderful. In both cases it was well executed. Another night I had a fine plate of pork tenderloin with squash spaetzle and spinach. Mushroom-parmesan quiche, a lunch special offered one quiet Saturday afternoon, came to the table blackened. I found it extraordinary that both the line cook and the waitress had thought it appropriate to serve the burnt slice.

Since portions were generous, we tried only a few desserts. The Pumpkin-Bay Pot de Creme was seasonal and fine, but the Chocolate Tasting with Seasonal Fruit paired squares of bitter chocolate with ill-matched red grapes and far-from-seasonal strawberries (pear slices would have been a better choice). Another night a chocoholic friend ordered the Vegan Chocolate Cake with chocolate coconut "ice cream," and all of us thought the cake unpalatable, the frozen coconut cream chalky and insipid.

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