Fine Art and Fine Dining

Photos: "Passages" by Don Dahlke; The Stoneroom at The Old Stone Farmhouse, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands

My husband Jon and I are back from St. Thomas where we spent a few days shopping for bulk grocery items and household goods. I'd hoped to find at least one gallery that wasn't so tourist-oriented but I realized my search would require more time than I could spare.

Jon's birthday was Wednesday, and we had a lovely three course dinner to celebrate. He chose the restaurant, The Old Stone Farmhouse, located on Mahogany Run Golf Course. On the way to our dining room, a particular object caught my eye: an eye-catching trompe l'eouil painting by artist Don Dahlke. In the dim lighting, I truly thought I was seeing a smaller painting through real shutters framing the art. Closer inspection revealed that the whole scene was a painting, shutters and all. I've found a similar painting by Dahlke to include here. His work reminds me of my Windows Series, a group of small works from a time in my career when I was shifting from imagery to abstraction.

About the food: The courses were delectable, and the service excellent. For my first course, I ordered Mangazpacho, a chilled soup served with a single scoop of house-made avocado ice cream. I found the soup recipe in Destination U.S. Virgin Islands magazine:

Makes 12 portions

2 lbs fresh cut mango chunks
2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded and sliced
1 onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 bunch cilantro
Juice of 2 limes
Juice of 1 lemon
1 capful Papaya Blast Habanero* hot sauce
3 oz rice wine vinegar
9 oz water
1 tsp sea salt

Puree all ingredients in blender. Chill for 2 hours or overnight. Blend again briefly just before serving. Serve with avocado ice cream. (For the ice cream recipe, I found Alton Brown's version at the Food Network's website.)

*One of Chef Ric's three hot sauces available at the Old Stone Farmhouse. If you're not able to score some of his sauce, click here for a similar version.

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