So, I guess when you have a couple of friends hollering at you about your lack of blogging, it’s time to post! Again, I’ve been a slacker. I know, I’m almost as bad as a case of food poisoning from McCormack and Schmidts. But more on that later.
Last Thursday night I went to the Feast of Fonzo over at Nonna’s, Chef Kevin’s new Italian place in College Park. We weren’t really sure what to expect-I had read about the event online and was thrilled that they still had some openings. The dinner was served family style and we were seated in tables of 10 (unfortunately we were at the annoying people table…why couldn’t we be seated with Wendy Chioji? And why do I see her everywhere? Is she following me?)
We started the evening with a nice cocktail: Prosecco, Moscato d’Asti (aka liquid crack) and OJ. Great drink in theory, but I lost the taste of the liquid crack amongst the OJ. The first course was your typical Antipasto plate: cold meats, cheese, marinated olives and artichokes, and grilled squash with roasted red peppers. Not that I’m complaining, I could make this my dinner any night of the week! The standouts were a fantastic salami and a lightly marinated artichoke. Wine for this course was a Chianti from Umbria that was smooth and blended with the Malvasia grape.
The fish course really stands out in my mind for various reasons. First off, I had probably the best Calamari I’ve ever had! Served fresh and with (surprise!) green peas, it was tender and flavorful and I’d go back just for this. The other standout for this course was the wine-a 2005 Benevolio Pinot Grigio from Friuli. It’s rare that I find a Pinot Grigio that I enjoy-mostly they taste like cheap metallic water to me. But this wine had a surprising softness and complexity not often seen. Also part of the fish course: Mussels in a white wine sauce and Clams with a tomato sauce.
Next up: the pasta course! (Here’s when I start to get really really full.) First was one my all time favs: the Eggplant Parmesan. It was good, but not a good as mine (their was a bit too soft). Also in this course was a big plate of Linguini topped with tomato sauce, Meatballs, spicy Italian Sausage (way too spicy for my taste as well as those around me) and hunks of Veal shank. The Meatballs were the size of a small child and oh so yummy! We also had a big slab of one of the best cheese Lasagnas that I’ve ever had. I think I was moaning something through my mouth full of mozzarella, but at that point no one noticed because they were all enthralled also. The wine for this course was a Barbera D’Alba from Piedmont called Tre Donne (translating to 3 Women-sisters who inherited the winery from their father).
At this point of the evening I could barely take a deep breath not to mention a bite of food. But I forced myself to take one bite of all the items of the meat course: Chicken Cacciatore (not good) and roasted Lamb with a Parmesan Fennel. This was another part of the evening in which I was delightfully surprised-the sweet and savory combination of the Fennel made for an interesting and unforgettable dish. For this course they brought out the big guns-we had a super Tuscan called Arcena Prima Voce from Toscany.
We capped off the evening with a grand dessert buffet and a choice of either Limoncello or Sambuca (hooray for Del a Note!) The desserts included a Bread Pudding, Ricotta Cheesecake, Cannoli and fresh Figs. Again there was one stand out-an out of this world Bread Pudding. Cheers to all who worked hard on this evening-it was a great success and I’d go back and do it all over again anytime! But hopefully next time at a better table!
Friday night I went to the Festival of Trees (yet another year I didn’t win anything!) and out to Ruth’s Chris for dinner with my step mom. We had a fantastic time and as usual the food and service were impeccable. We each had Petite Filets with Broccoli and the Sweet Potato Casserole. I had never had the Sweet Potatoes there and was pleasantly surprised at the light Vanilla scented dish. It was delicious. We also had a bottle of the 2005 Caymus Cabernet. It was really fantastic but reminded me of all the good stuff that I miss when I’m on a budget.
Next up in the line of events is what I am now referring to as the “Great McCormack and Schmidts Debacle of 2007”. First off, never go to the Millenia Mall or the surrounding area on a Saturday evening (even if you have ressies). The traffic is bad. The parking is bad. And apparently the fish is bad. (I know, who ever thought Boursin stuffed Grouper was going to be good for your intestines anyway?) Good points of the evening: great company, surprisingly good Calamari, a $75 gift certificate, and free Martinis at the Blue Martini.
All in all not a bad weekend.
PS Just for the record, Wendy Chioji has never had anything for me except a bright smile! One day I'll work up the nerve to say hello!