Monday, February 11, 2013

Italian at home and out

I usually don't write up private parties but since a "Party of Note" (PON), to support the Symphony (CSO), is open to everyone I'll report on a PON which we held last night, at our home. Joining us as co-host was Pat Gaito, an excellent Italian cook, and so the meal, as you will see, was built on that premise. Pat prepared al the food, except dessert, while Marilyn and I provided back up support preparing everything from tables and chairs to plates, bowels and silverware. On each table we placed an array of wine, Gavi (white), Chianti Classico and Nebbiola. We had decided to do individual servings of all food, plated, but family style wine.
Pats' first course was an Antipasto; of bib lettuce covered with roasted red peppers( drizzled with olive oil), squares of Parmesan Reggiano, triangles of Gorgonzola and an olive salad made from marinated black olives and grain infused with herbs and spices. Then on to Pat's specialty; an eggplant Napoleon( two slices of eggplant, covered with Pancho Bread crumbs and baked until the inside was soft but the outside crisp. The middle layer, like an Oreo, was white Ricotta whipped and mixed with Parmesan, herbs and black pepper. This whole item, when assembled, is put back in the over and when golden brown topped with home made tomato sauce ( outstanding)
 The Main course was Braciola, cooked in tomato sauce, Torcetti ( twisted pasta pieces), and encased Italian sausage, again brazed in the tomato sauce. All is served hot with some of the sauce ladled on to the pasta. Each table had their own bowl of grated cheese and a separate bowl of red pepper flakes, for those who like things hot. For dessert we had gone to "Skirtz and Johnston", at Finley Market, for delicious Cannoli and tasty stuffed, miniature Macaroons.
 If you missed this dinner try to get on board a PON in the future.

Tuesday night we went, with a friend to "Abigail Street",  Vine St.( next to the "Senate", OTR) The 3 of us split 4 "small plates"; a rough ground country pate, outstanding Gnocchi sauteed with asparagus tips, sliced mushrooms and onions in a light butter sauce, lightly dressed red and golden beets with nut pieces and several lamb sliders( ground seasoned lamb on small individual buns). "Abigail Street is our favorite in the new Gateway district.

The the next night, with a group of 6, we had our first meal at "Seasons 52" 3819 Edwards Road, Norwood, OH 45209, next to the Marriott, being built in Rookwood Exchange. "Seasons 52" is part of a large chain, I believe, originating in Florida. All items, on the menu, are advertised as have 475 calories, or less. After my "Bombay"( 250 calories) I ordered a Mediterranean Flatbread, for the table. Extremely thin crisp base with cheese,, herbs, tomato and gyro meat as a covering.
My main course was a Tuna Crunch Salad, extremely large portion, made with chopped Romaine, slivered almonds and seared tuna pieces( rare). It was very good but I had to struggle to finish. Marilyn had a Field Green side salad, which she shared with others, who were enthusiastic, and Grilled Trout, again a very full portion.
The restaurant opened just last week and there were a few serving details still to be worked out, but the food was good, plentiful, and we will return.

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