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Sunday, August 18, 2013

This, that, and restaurants

I’ve been eating out a lot this week, and I’m sure my weight will reflect that. I know food critics have learned to sample rather than devour, but it seems to be an art I haven’t mastered. Still, here are some of my culinary adventures, both in restaurants and at home.

We have a new seafood restaurant where I’ve enjoyed fried oysters several times—no red sauce, though I suppose you could have it if you insisted (if you ask for ketchup, it comes in a discreet small dish—no bottles on the table at this sleek modern place). Instead they broil a lemon half which really loosens the juice and flavors the seasoned oyster just enough. At lunch the other day, I told myself I had to move beyond the oysters, so I ordered tuna Carpaccio.  I love beef Carpaccio, but was leery of tuna—turned out to be my new favorite food. Super-thin slices of tuna dressed with a light sauce and decorated with thin slices of apple, scatterings of raisins, and crumbles of blue cheese. Heavenly, and one serving was just right. The friend I was with had an ahi tuna burger—huge—and good herbed frites. Afterward, he said, “If you hadn’t eaten half my fries, you would have had a healthy lunch.” I ate modestly of the fries—nowhere near half.

One night, Betty, my adventures in dining pal, and I tried the new Bravo! where—pleasant surprise—we ran into my daughter and her husband and some of their friends. We split an order of lasagna and a Caesar side salad. Both halves were more than enough, and I wonder how anyone can eat a whole order. Made with traditional red sauce and Alfredo, the lasagna had just a faint hint of fennel—not one of my favorites but it worked well in this dish. The Caesar was creamy, powerful with garlic, and plenty of cheese. No anchovy but there was a hint of the taste in the dressing.

Of course, I can’t do better than the Old Neighborhood Grill, where I have a new favorite—fried pork cutlets. One serving is two large cutlets with brown gravy. I always dribble the second one with extra gravy and bring it home. Knowing that was waiting for me at dinner, with a small serving of German potato salad, I vowed to eat lightly at the Grill that day for lunch—but it was meatloaf day and who can resist. I asked for a box, intending to take half home but ate the whole thing. Nope, no mashed potatoes with it.

On the home front, the owner of a successful bistro published a recipe in the paper in a section suggesting innovative lunchbox food for back to school kids. His daughter sometimes gets cold glazed salmon (he uses bbq sauce but I used a soy/maple syrup/Dijon glaze) along with a salad of cucumber and tomato, seasoned only with salt and pepper and topped with crumbled feta (I didn’t have feta so used bleu). Sounds like a fancy lunch for a fifth-grader, and his Lili is one lucky girl. Elizabeth and I enjoyed my version and had it left over the next day for lunch.

Last night I fixed my first-ever ceviche. I’ve been leery of ceviche because I don’t like jalapenos and the dish so often has shrimp, which I’m allergic to. But this recipe has avocado, cilantro, lots of lime, and my new friend—raw tuna. When I found out the price of sushi grade tuna ($16/lb.) my neighbor said tilapia does great and doesn’t overpower, so tilapia it was. It was really good and tart, but five adults didn’t make a real dent in it. I brought it home but not sure how long it keeps—I’d be surprised if it lasts 24 hours.

It’s sure been a week of variety eating, topped off with bacon and eggs this morning. Jordan and Jacob were here, and she scrambled eggs. My usual breakfast of cottage cheese went by the way.

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