Archive for the tag “Italian”

Eccezionale! Trevini Ristorante, Palm Beach, FL

Earlier this month, I was at a trade conference with two of my favorite travel companions (they’d better be since we spend an extraordinary amount of time on the road together!).

We tend to get silly together as well. ūüôā

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We snuck away from our stay at the Breakers one evening to try a local Italian restaurant, Trevini Ristorante. Since one of my colleagues is old-school authentic south-side Chicago Italian, I suspected her choice would be a good one!

We made the short drive over to Trevini Ristorante and decided to sit on the quaint patio out front. The service was on-point, very upbeat, polite, and attentive. Gonzo, our server, shared the specials and delivered our beverages. We all perused the menu, and decided Avette had made a very good choice! When he returned to take our orders, Avette ordered Ossobucco Alla Milanese, Risotto Carnaroli Al Zafferano (braised petite veal ossobuco, and carnaroli saffron risotto) and Tyler ordered Tagliolini Al Limone, Granchio, Fave, Bottarga (tagliolini with lemon, crab meat, touch of cream, fava beans, and bottarga). I simply handed him my card, as is standard practice. He promptly advised that he was going to give the card to the chef and that chef would choose my meal! Our table let out a collective giggle as it seemed that Gonzo was both on-board, but a little hesitant.

When the meals were served, I was delivered the Scaloppine Di Vitello Valdostana (Veal Scaloppine Topped With Prosciutto and Fontina, Sage, Chardonnay Sauce, and Steamed Spinach). Though it looks like a lot of food, it was thin and light, yet full of flavor! Gonzo also advised that the chef really enjoyed reading the card and choosing my meal.

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We all finished all of our meals and collectively agreed that we would absolutely NOT pass on dessert here Рand we were going to share! I knew that I wanted an authentic Tiramisu (coffee dipped lady fingers, mascarpone cream). Tyler wanted chocolate on chocolate so  he ordered the Salame al Cioccolato (chocolate, biscotti salame, and caramel ice cream), and Avette had her heart set on Crema Catalana (Creme Brulee).

Unfortunately, we were informed that the restaurant was out of Crema Catalana. Huge “boos” all around! Avette decided to go with the Torta di Ricotta (cheesecake with strawberry sauce) as “Plan B”.

The Tiramisu and ice cream were fantastic! The cheesecake was a bit dry and dense for my taste, but I’m certain others prefer that style to a creamier cheesecake. And, as we were a few bites into our desserts, the manager, George, delivered a Crema Catalana anyhow! It turns out the pastry chef wanted it to set a bit longer, but it was close enough to ready that George decided to buy one for our table. A lovely and unexpected gesture. And, it was delicious! “Hoorays” all around!

We didn’t leave much on the table, and our bellies were comfortably full. ¬†Though I don’t have any specific plans to return to Palm Beach soon, if I do return,¬†I will most assuredly¬†dine at¬†Trevini Ristorante¬†again.

What are your favorite resort dining experiences?

Cheers!

Ker

 

Viva l’Italia – Vincenzo’s, New Jersey

It’s been a couple of weeks since I went to New Jersey to visit with a customer whom I had been wanting to meet for a long time. I’ve heard great things about this company, and I know we have opportunities to partner on some good things!

So, my colleague (and now frequent road trip buddy) and I set out to Middlesex, NJ to have a couple of meetings as well as a nice dinner up the street at Vincenzo’s with our customers.

Foolishly, I only brought my small Clemson clutch with me, which funny enough, my dear girlfriend who lives in New Jersey gave me as a gift earlier this year.

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Anyhow, the point being that I forgot to bring my blog card with me. Thank goodness for mobile phones. I called it up from the blog page itself!

I had been warned that this dinner and our dining companions were going to be fabulous, so I came hungry! In addition to fabulous table mates, our server, Carlos, was perfect. He was professional, yet was equipped with a biting sense of humor. The best of both worlds!

Carlos started us off with several appetizers: calamari (two ways: fritti and with an “Italian hot sauce” – which everyone at the table claimed was Thai sauce!), escarole and pignoli nuts, and sausage and peppers. To be honest, I was full by the time we worked our way through these delicious plates of apps!

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A mesh of apps! Calamari, sausage and peppers, and escarole. 

And then came this salad… I think it’s one of my favorite salads – ever. The tri-colore insalati. The mesh of flavors – and that cheese! Heaven on a plate.

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Tri-colore salad made of European blend, tomatoes, pepper, and parmagiano cheese.

I’d say finally, because it really should have been the final set of bites, but it wasn’t. This is the penultimate dish.

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Grilled salmon over escarole and served with roasted potatoes.

Without flinching while reading the blog card, Carlos had chosen a popular dish that evening Рsalmon over escarole with roasted potatoes. The salmon filet was enormous, and cooked to perfection. Those who know me know that salmon is not my favorite seafood, but when cooked well,  I really do enjoy it! I loved that there were some greens on the plate and just a few potato bites.

It was  a simple, delicious dish and light enough not to pain me after all of the appetizers!

It was then that our customer insisted that we all have dessert. What?!? How was I going to fit one more bite into my mouth and belly?

Here’s how:

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Chocolate banana pie with fresh whipped cream, strawberries and mint.

I mentioned “heaven on a plate earlier”. This banana chocolate pie is heaven on a plate served by singing angels! I could have eaten two or three slices (but I didn’t!).

Our dinner lasted a marathon four hours, but the time flew by. We did indeed have a wonderful time with our customers and we really enjoyed the ambiance, the service, and the FOOD at Vincenzo’s! I’m still working off those glorious calories. ūüôā

Since I’m not a huge connoisseur of salmon, I’m curious to know your favorite way to prepare it. I’d love to try more recipes at home. Please leave a comment if you have a recommendation.

Cheers!

Ker

 

 

A Super Supper at Sara’s Place, Gates Mills, OH

I’m back in Ohio for the holidays, and for the past several years, we¬†have¬†taken the opportunity to have a nice family dinner at Sara’s Place in Gates Mills – a cute spot in a quaint area.

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One of the many nice things about Sara’s Place¬†is that they offer a wide variety of gluten-free entrees. ¬†My brother has Celiac’s disease, and my uncle has a gluten intolerance, so¬†Sara’s Place¬†offers more options than most restaurants do these days. ¬†

This year, we dined at Sara’s Place¬†the evening after Christmas. A lovely Friday night out.

The atmosphere at Sara’s Place is casual, yet elegant.

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One of the unique features I love is that the kitchen is separated from the restaurant by handmade stained glass windows which reflect the local area.

The view to the kitchen

The view to the kitchen

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On Friday evening, I was HUNGRY, as I had been running around all day, including playing school with my god-daughters!

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I *may* be an overachieving student!

At one point, during the “school day”, I was asked to do 30 full push-ups for phys ed class! ¬†And, I did them – straight through – after a morning workout, no less! ¬†I was working up an appetite. ¬†ūüôā My Purium apple-berry shake was my only meal of the day at that point as well.

So, when we got to¬†Sara’s Place, everything looked good to me! ¬†The Ahi Tuna, the (healthy option) Stir Fry, ¬†the homemade Chicken Pot Pie, the Pasta Bolognese, the Filet…

Our server, Cindy, first took our drink orders (thank you, mom, for making that a comical series of events!), and then advised of us the evening’s side dish options (mashed potatoes or brown rice, and broccolini). ¬†When Cindy went to take our dinner orders, I advised her that I couldn’t make up my mind. ¬†I handed her my SOW card, and asked her to surprise me. ¬†I also told her that all of the¬†side dishes were fair game. Cindy was a good sport, asked a couple of questions , and then moved on to place our order. She had a big smile as she walked away from the table (a sure sign she knew what she wanted to serve me!)

My dad, my uncle and I started with the Stuffed  Banana Peppers (stuffed with Italian Sausage, mozzarella and parmesan cheese and served in the homemade marinara sauce (the DELICIOUS house marinara sauce!)).  The appetizer is not overly spicy, but it does have great flavor!

Stuffed Banana Peppers

Stuffed Banana Peppers

 

When Cindy brought the entrées out, she delivered me a perfectly cooked filet mignon over mashed potatoes and served with broccolini.  As I mentioned, the filet was expertly prepared, and the entrée was delicious!

Filet Mignon

Filet Mignon

I’m not usually one to dive into dessert, and if I do,when I go to a Gavi’s property, I generally will only order Tiramisu for dessert. ¬†(It’s a fantastic recipe!) ¬†On Friday night, however, I was mesmerized by the lemon-raspberry mousse bomb. ¬†It sounded so light and refreshing. ¬†I tend to love citrus flavored desserts anyhow!

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Lemon-raspberry mousse bomb

 

While we were a bit surprised by the (raspberry-filled) cake inside the mousse bomb, I have to say that the dessert was wonderful!  Light and refreshing Рjust as I had suspected.

Inside the bomb!

Inside the bomb!

My family enjoyed various desserts and coffee / after-dinner drinks.  It was a great dinner, from start to finish!

Thank you to Cindy and the staff at Sara’s Place¬†for always treating our family to a lovely evening out and a delicious meal!

If you’re in the NE OH area, I suggest visiting¬†Sara’s Place¬†for dinner sometime. ¬†You may be inclined to see a show at the Gates Mills Community Players Theater across the street, or to shop at the boutique next door. ¬†This little Gates Mills¬†area is so quaint and cute that it’s worth the visit!

Cheers!

Ker

Flour: Funghi and Friends… Italian Dining in Moreland Hills, OH

Over the holiday break, I met up with a long-time friend of mine, Jen.¬† We made plans to have dinner months in advance of my visit to Ohio, but we waited until the last-minute to choose a location.¬† Earlier in the day,¬†Jen texted me a couple of options, and I decided we should try a place I’d never been to before – Flour Rustic Italian Kitchen¬†in Moreland Hills, OH (about 30 minutes or so from where I grew up).¬† The restaurant had¬†3.5¬†stars on Yelp!, and the reviews were detailed and positive.¬† Not to mention that the menu offered delicious options, and the wine list had a great selection!

After a few failed attempts to find reviews on a couple of wines, Jen and I decided to share a bottle of the Justin Cabernet, which we both agreed was a fine choice.  Smooth and tasty.

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We also decided to share a few appetizers and see where the rest of the meal took us.¬† We asked our server about a few of the appetizers and went with her recommendations.¬† Here’s what we shared:

Appetizers

Appetizers

My favorite was definitely the Whipped Burratta.¬† It was creamy, and flavorful, but didn’t feel like a “heavy” appetizer.¬† The stuffed peppers were good – we each had one, but in my opinion, they lacked a little flavor.¬† I tend to like things on the spicier side of life, so mine may not be the popular opinion.

Paul's Peppers

Paul’s Peppers

Where I think the appetizers really fell a bit flat was in the Fried Goat Cheese Stuffed Olives.¬† Our server sold these as “amazing”, yet there was barely a hint of goat cheese flavor to them.¬† Jen and I both felt a bit disappointed with this choice, though we didn’t stop munching on them!

Appetizers: Whipped Burratta, Fried Goat Cheese Filled Olives

Appetizers: Whipped Burratta, Fried Goat Cheese Filled Olives

Where there was no disappointment was with our choice to have the Funghi Pizza to finish off the evening.

Funghi Pizza

Pizzas

The crust was almost like a Naan bread, and the flavors of the mushrooms, shallots,¬†and goat cheese worked beautifully together.¬† The char-grill and mushrooms gave the pizza an earthy element, and the goat cheese’s creamy texture and slightly tart flavor was a perfect complement.

Funghi Pizza

Funghi Pizza

We weren’t able to finish the pizza, but Jen was more than happy to take leftovers home!

All in all, we had a really nice experience at Flour.¬† It’s got a chic atmosphere, solid service, and good food.¬† It’s also always nice for me to spend time with a good friend!¬† Once again, I failed to take a photo with Jen.¬† I’m the worst about that!

If you’re in the CLE area and are looking for a good twist on Italian food, I do recommend visiting Flour. And, if you like mushrooms and goat cheese,¬†definitely give the Funghi pizza a¬†try!

Cheers!

Ker

My Favorite Dining Experiences of 2013…

I wrote about my favorite experiences of 2012 last year, and it has been fun to go back and revisit some of them periodically.¬† So…I thought I’d make another list for 2013 – the first full year of “She Ordered What?”.

First, let me say that 2013 has been a fantastic year!  I left a job that, to put it nicely, was un-fulfilling, moved to Milwaukee (a city that I am LOVING!), am working for a supervisor I respect Рand like, and have coworkers I enjoy (so much so that we opted to spend time together after the holiday party this year).  I am living in downtown Milwaukee, and am thoroughly enjoying metropolitan living (as are my (now 13-year-old) dogs!). I am also traveling a bit more again, allowing for some interesting dining experiences.  For me, change has been very good!

So…I started compiling my top 5 choices of 2013,¬†but the list quickly grew beyond five.¬† I’ll list my “top 5” and a few honorable mentions – which provided great memories with a bunch of friends and colleagues.

5) Melt Bar and Grilled: This is a bit of a cheat, as I actually posted this on December 28, 2012.¬† However, I think Melt deserves a mention since the sandwich was so very good!¬† Full of carbs and comfort, the “Mom’s Meatloaf” grilled cheese was excellent, and very filling!¬† I did end up having the second half of the sandwich for lunch the next day – and I ate it cold.¬† It was really delicious as a cold leftover!¬† I’d also like to thank Melt Bar and Grilled for posting a link to my blog on their website.¬† I really appreciate the additional traffic!¬† I’m looking forward to hitting up Melt when I make it back to Ohio next year.

Melt

4) AJ Bombers:¬† As I mentioned, I had been following AJ Bombers on Twitter ever since I read about their social media program a couple of years ago.¬† So…when I moved to Milwaukee, I was really excited to walk over and check the place out in person.¬† After all, the place promises “Happiness, with a side of burgers”. ¬†Not only is the food far better than your average bar food (let’s face it, it’s NOT healthy!), but the Bloody Mary drinks are the best in town¬†– I don’t care what WISN readers say!¬† Finally, the service is always outstanding – though I tend to favor being a customer of this girl.¬† ūüėČ

AJB

3) Braise: I was introduced to Braise through a local food blogger, Phi, and I thoroughly enjoyed the whole dining experience with her and another food blogger, Shanon.¬† The atmosphere is so cool.¬† This used to be a bowling alley, and the owners repurposed a lot of the old elements to create a unique and inviting space.¬† But, the food…is SO good!¬† The menu is changed up regularly to incorporate the best ingredients, and it’s not an overwhelmingly large menu so one doesn’t have to feel pressure to sift through pages of options, hoping to make the right decision.¬† I’ve been to Braise several times now, and in my opinion, any decision is a good one!¬† Also, Braise just opened a second floor bar/lounge area.¬† I’ll need to check that out!

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2) Bacon Bros. Public House: Another locally sourced restaurant makes the list!¬† I have Yelp! to thank for introducing my friends and me to this hidden gem.¬†¬† While visiting South Carolina to see my Clemson Tigers beat Boston College, we stumbled upon Bacon Bros.¬† The food:¬† the meat is locally sourced, and spectacular, and the side dishes have a definite southern flair to them, but with a new twist.¬† The service was fantastic.¬† And, their motto is “Powered by Bacon”!¬† What’s not to love about this place?

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and…the top “She Ordered What?” dining experience of 2013 was…

1) The Publican:¬† The fact that I drove ~90 miles each way to and from Chicago on a Tuesday night (in traffic and weather) could not even put a damper on this meal!¬† Our server, whom I mentioned a few times in the post, was very good – and he was totally on board to surprise us that evening.¬† The food was expertly prepared.¬† Again, The Publican is a restaurant that sources its ingredients locally – must love that!¬† All in all, the atmosphere, the service, the food, and the company (Chanda!) were top-notch.¬† I loved this place that is off the beaten path, so to speak, but may be home to the best meal I’ve had in Chicago (and I’ve had some REALLY good meals there!).¬† I highly recommend The Publican if you’re looking for an excellent dining experience.¬† The menu changes up frequently here as well, but here is the selection from which we had to choose.

Publican

Honorable mentions:

I kicked the year off by celebrating a dear friend’s birthday in Detroit.¬† I was able to meet some of her other wonderful friends, and we just had a fantastic time enjoying a city that tends to be “off-limits” after work or¬†late at night. Detroit does indeed have some safe and fun spots to enjoy “after hours”.

I also enjoyed celebrating my own birthday with friends¬†– in Massachusetts.¬† My friends gave me a perfectly balanced weekend.¬† We had fun “out on the town”, enjoyed chilling at home, oh, and we ran a 10K in the middle of it all!¬† I’m looking forward to seeing this crazy crew when we meet up for our¬†other friends’ wedding in Memphis this February.

Finally, categorize this under the “last, but not least” header… I had some fun times traveling with my new coworkers this year.¬† We had some really fruitful business trips, but always seemed to sneak in a good meal or two! There was the “first meal in Nola”,¬†the “marathon trip”,¬† the “French food in Montreal”, the “mussels in Brussels”, and the “pork in Paris”.¬† We’ve had other dining adventures,¬†but not all warrant¬†a “She Ordered What?” post.

I will say this,¬†I’m grateful for the way my colleagues have embraced me, and I find it refreshing to enjoy having a meal and/or a drink (or two!) with my coworkers. It certainly makes work more enjoyable!

“She Ordered What?”: 2013 by the numbers:

I wrote 22 posts to contribute to the overall number of 83 posts.¬†The readers and I have posted 221 comments to the blog.¬† There are over 1,800 “She Ordered What?” followers who viewed the blog almost 17,000 times.¬† And, from all over the world…83 countries, actually (led by the US, Canada and Singapore)!

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Thank you again for your support and readership.¬† As I mentioned last year, if you would like to write a guest post, please let me know.¬† I enjoy sharing others’ experiences as well!

Here’s to a happy, healthy, and fulfilling 2014!

Cheers!

Ker

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