After our yummy dinner out, I convinced Paul to take us to Yogurtland in Winter Park for dessert. He'd also had lunch dessert there. He had been there once before when his department was interviewing for a new team member. He very much enjoyed it. And I was quite happy with the tasty menu and restaurant design myself.
This is polenta, a traditional, Italian peasant dish. It can be served creamy or sliced in this fancy fashion pictured above, possibly even rewarmed on an oiled skillet producing a great brown crust. In America, we'd just call this grits. Or cornmeal. The polenta in Italy generally is very similar to yellow grits. I make it at home with cornmeal for two reasons. For one, cornmeal is reasonably cheap. For two, if I just change the recipes to cornmeal, that's one less item that gets lost in my pantry.
Based on Soft Polenta from Moosewood Restaurant New Classics
3 cups water or vegetarian chicken-flavored broth
1 cup cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon salt if not using broth
1/4-1/2 teaspoon celery seed (original recipe calls for fennel seeds)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, topping
Black pepper to taste
Bring water or broth to boil in a large pot. Slowly pour in cornmeal, stirring constantly to prevent lumps. A whisk works best for me. Turn heat to low and simmer, stirring frequently, until polenta is thick. Season. Serve topped with cheese.
Moosewood adds a note that the grind and variety of cornmeal influence the cook times. Be prepared to add hot water to cooking if necessary. However, I don't recall ever needing to.
Sometimes, a picture is just worth a thousand words. And sometimes, it's so much more fun to look at pictures of a great meal than to read about it. So, I'll just describe the pictures briefly so if you go you'll know what to order and expect.
Eataly, is a newer spot in New York City where you can shop for fun, imported foods, and then head upstairs for dining--either overlooking the shopping or in a semi-private room with a curtain to draw. The benefit of the room? Warmer.
Recommended by the staff at The Full Plate Diet, Gobo's menu looked fantastic. Paul was wise enough to get us reservations for 6 for dinner. It would have been nicer to have seated seven, but they didn't have a highchair. So Nora was passed from person to person, and therefore she had 6 plates of dinner to choose from.
I used my "Get Out of the Kitchen Free" card early this week. I just couldn't convince myself to get started cooking. We went to P.F. Chang's, which is special to us as it was the location of our first date. Ironically, we met one of my "heros" Henri Landwirth, the creator of Give Kids the World where we had our second date.
It's been so long since I posted a menu plan--not because I didn't have one, but because there were other things to talk about. Plus, there were the holidays when you generally just think of leftovers for every meal.
We dined out in Nashville at The Wild Cow, a vegetarian restaurant that came well recommended. Crazy name aside, this restaurant has a pretty good menu and a decent steady flow of patrons. We had quite a hard time choosing items from the two page menu. There's also a great kid's menu that I kind of wanted to order off of myself.
Paul and I are both Tigers. The Tiger with the brown jersey is from Paul's Rochester Institute of Technology. My Tiger with Purple-and-Gold is from Louisiana State University. Sure wish we still had some of those cute little outfits from my childhood to dress Nora in.
Anyway, there's a nice new-since-Paul shopping plaza on the campus of RIT. And the sweet shop is an Abbott's. We were treated to dessert there by Paul's former classmate, Mimi. We enjoyed the custard, but most of all, we really enjoyed the company.
The week was winding to a close. We had been having a blast. BUT I was doing my best to keep Nora on her schedule (which meant getting up at 0530 in Denver, 0730 our time, while keeping up with Paul, Brent, and Tim and their late hours. Not that I'm complaining. I'm just pointing out that it is a bit of a challenge remembering all the events of the evening when we dined here.
To make a really long story short, we misread our ticket and arrived only 40 minutes before our plane departed for Denver. Naturally, our bags didn't make it and we had to wait for the next plane from Orlando to deliver our clothes for the week and. . .more diapers. Paul did some research and found a vegetarian restaurant in downtown Denver where we could spend our time. Although the GPS took us an odd way through a not-so-nice area of town, we eventually got to Uptown and had no trouble parking near this amazing restaurant.
It was Sunday afternoon. Paul and I were riding around Denver with design buddies, Brent and Tim. Tim recommended The Market, where he had been a number of times. We drove around the one-way streets only to learn that the Chalk Art Festival was blocking a number of streets and consequently parking spaces--especially the ones in front of the restaurant.
Last night before the Full Plate Diet lecture, we went to Dandelion CommuniTea Cafe. After we talked it up so much, Garrett had our favorite, The Giddyup. Graycen had the enourmous hommus, cucunber, tomato sandwich. It's definitely big enough to feed an adult, too.
Back to catching up on the restaurant reviews from New York back in December. . .(luckily, we're pretty sure these popular places haven't closed)! I can't recall where we learned about Lombardi's, but it didn't take us long to understand why it was so popular. I will give a warning here: The wait for a late lunch was one and a half hours. The problem is, I hear there's always a wait. I am willing to bet that comes with living in a big city, but that also comes with wanting some really good food.
After our post nearly three weeks ago about our amazing trip to Paxia, our friends and photographers, Jim and Garrett, went to Paxia the next day (Friday). They had the same server we did and had the same incredible experience.
The first time I heard of Paxia, I was getting off of I-4 and saw a guy dancing around with a sign saying it was the best Mexican restaurant in Orlando. The next time I heard of Paxia was less than a week later when I was researching the restaurants participating in Eat Local Week sponsored by Slow Food Orlando.
We dined at Infusion Tea tonight even though it wasn't as early as I had planned. Even at 5 and 6 o'clock, there was a nice stream of diners at the restaurant, which is always encouraging. Generally a full restaurant suggests a good restaurant.
Well, let's start by apologizing for a complete lack of tweeting this evening. My phone was dead when I awoke this morning. (The brain is forgetting to charge it at night.) And I appear to have lost my travel charger. I didn't get home until after dinner to get the phone charged.
Our first night eating local started off pleasantly in at a great little restaurant on Orange Ave. in downtown Orlando. Virgin Olive Market used to be on Clay, and I think the change in location surely must have increased its exposure. There was a nice, steady stream of customers during our entire dining experience. Virgin Olive makes the grade in a couple of areas. First, it is a fast, very friendly, and significantly cheaper restaurant than the two restaurants it's sandwiched in between.
Looking back through pictures, it's time I put some more focus on our fabulous trip to New York City at the beginning of December. We walked around town on Saturday Night and were absolutely amazed by the crowds running around. Police were managing intersections, even some with lights, to make sure the crowds and cars moved smoothly. I have nothing to compare it to to know if it was a success or not.
Surprise! Monday has rolled around again! Where does the time go? I have an idea where it went last week. I worked 5 days last week, which isn't normal for my 10-hour-days. I'm sorry to say some of those days totaled more than 10 hours. However, I'm grateful God got me through since the tiredness is already hitting.