Posts Tagged ‘Mistura’

You Choo-Choo-Choose Me?

The Big Whoopie

I know, I know.

That clichéd Simpsons line has been popping up in stories all over town this week but I really do love the Simpsons and specifically enjoy that episode.

We’re not really fans of the big “V-day” here at Foodie and the Everyman (which I tend to refer to in my head as venereal disease or victimized delusions day, for no particular reason).  In fact, when the Everyman and I first started seeing each other, it was only a few weeks before V-day (and my birthday which is one week after) and we both agreed about how ridiculously stupid it is.  So generally speaking, we don’t tend to celebrate it.  I prefer to think that the person I’m with is going to do nice things for me all year round instead of being bludgeoned into submission by some industry’s made up excuse for a spending spree.

And for the most part the Everyman does and so do I.  Though he doesn’t often bring me the “traditional” gifts of chocolate or flowers, he does regularly indulge me in other ways, such as expanding my love of restaurants and travel.  In fact, just last week he told me I could start planning our next vacation to wherever I wanted to go, and to me that’s more romantic than a February 14th drugstore chocolate sampler any day.

But because we both love to eat, we did go out for dinner on V-day one year (to Mistura) but like that article in the Globe earlier this week, I wouldn’t necessarily consider it a worthwhile experience (though it was one of the last times I ate lobster before I got sick).  The whole time we were there the service was so rushed and you could tell the meal had been hastily prepared.  At the end of the night it was apparent that their main objective was maximizing bums at tables and gross consumerism is just so sexy, you know?  So, we just don’t bother anymore.  If the Hoof wasn’t constantly overrun with hipsters, I’d probably have gotten on board with going there for an anti-V-day meal, but it’s packed every night of the week anyway, so that was pretty much out of the question.  I don’t enjoy busy restaurants on a good day, so amplifying that by adding a “holiday” to the mix makes it even less appealing to the both of us.

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Limitations (In Other Words, Don’t Limit Me!)

This evening the Everyman embarks on his first real business trip, (to Hartford, of all places) and will be gone for the majority of the week.  It’ll probably be the longest we’ve been apart since we began courting in 2005.  That may seem strange to some, but what can I say… I’m a captivating lady!

One of the things I’m looking forward to while he’s away is the opportunity to indulge in foods and flavors that he never wants (or likes) to try (not to mention the week-long moratorium on sports and video games).  Things like sushi, seafood, fish, pate, eggs, mushrooms, nuts (he’s allergic) and most anything Asian are normally off limits in our house.  Even though I do all of the cooking, I’m gracious enough not to force food on him that I know he won’t like or might kill him (unlike my parents, who had the you’ll eat what we give you mentality).  At home today there are shrimp and scallops, black bean sauce, miso paste and udon just calling my name.  I can’t wait to go home and get crazy in the kitchen with them.  Unfortunately, one of the things I want most, I’m no longer allowed to have…

Growing up in White Rock, my dad and I used to go crabbing off the pier at night.  We’d bring home the night’s catch, clean it and have a fine feast at around 2 in the morning.  There’s almost nothing I loved better or remember more fondly from childhood than those midnight jaunts, both from a culinary and bonding standpoint.  Then, about 10 years ago things changed while I was at a farewell dinner for an old friend, happily cracking a giant mound of king crab legs.  That night my throat swelled up so badly that I couldn’t even breathe and had to be taken to the hospital.  At the time, the ER nurse just gave me a needle and didn’t mention anything of consequence, so I didn’t put 2 and 2 together to realize I’d developed an allergy.  After several more incidents involving crab cakes, (which thankfully were less severe) I realized what the issue was and haven’t touched crab since.  When the Everyman and I were in Panama in ’07, I’d ordered a lobster dinner (incidentally what they brought me wasn’t lobster, but wasn’t crab either) and I had a reaction to that too.  The same thing happened after a Valentine’s dinner at Mistura last year, with a butter poached lobster tail risotto.  The writing was officially on the wall; I could no longer enjoy 2 of my favorite kinds of seafood.  Boooooo!!!

Luckily for me, I can still eat scallops, prawns and shrimp, and never bothered to develop a taste for mussels, oysters or clams.  Occasionally I miss crab claws or cakes (being more partial to them than lobster) but then I usually remember my mother in law, who developed a wheat allergy late in life.  I can’t imagine what it must be like to not be able to eat real bread.  The only thing that gets me down is the thought that when I finally manage to get to The Big Easy, I might not be able to try my first crayfish.  In reality, I’ll probably just suck down a pile and deal with the Epi-pen instead… you know, I just don’t like things limiting me.

Another thing I’ll be working on this week is what I refer to as the new project folder.  Between reading, writing and browsing the internet lately, my mind’s come up with combinations of flavors I want to try that I usually scribble down furiously in my journal before they evaporate away.  I have a few different items I’m planning to test (more on that in a later post), in addition to possibly taking another stab at the bacon jam, now that I think I’ve worked out the trick to it.  And I’ve already gone halfway through my chocolate covered guanciale toffee, but barely touched the nude version.  It’s become quite apparent that I’ll have to break out the handy dandy chocolate melter again soon to gussy that stuff up.

Tonight I think I’ll combine some scallops with my lemon pickle (which is really more of a jam at this point) and see what kind of result that illicits.  I’ll also be working on a write-up of our latest visit to Cowbell (just this past weekend), and my take on another Toronto blogger’s post on things to do with grilled cheese.

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Always Carry A Spoon, Because You Never Know When Food Is Gonna Break Out!

So, it’s taken me a few days to collect my thoughts, but I’m finally ready to write about our Valentine’s Day dinner at Mistura.

Actually, to be honest, I’ve just been lazy the last few days, lounging around the house obsessing over a video game.  The fact that it was Family Day in Ontario yesterday didn’t help either, because it just made me want to sit around like a bump on a log even more.

But, on to the exciting stuff – the food!

Let me start off by saying, this was quite possibly the fastest dinner I’ve ever experienced in a fine dining establishment.  We had a 9 o’clock reservation, and we were out the door before 10:30.  You could tell they were definitely trying to maximize the Valentine’s Day seatings, because they had people with reservations sitting down at 10, and even when we were leaving around 10:30.

As an appetizer I had a parmagiano tartlet, with wild mushrooms and herb salad.  It was beautifully presented, with colorful little grape tomato halves strewn about the plate.  The mushrooms were delish, and the whole thing was very satisfying, if a tiny bit salty.

My other half had a Caprese salad which had both fresh and roasted tomatoes.  It had a sprinkling of garlic bread croutons and a massive chunk of bufala mozzarella.  Everyman says: Good cheese, soggy croutons.

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Happy Love Day

I know, I know, everyone says that Valentine’s Day is just a crappy, commercial holiday.  And it is, I’m not arguing.  But on the flip side, I do think it’s nice that a publicly enforced holiday can make men do nice things for the ladies in their lives.  I mean, so many men take their women for granted, and don’t even comprehend all that they do on a daily basis.  So I’m ok with Hallmark forcing them to buy chocolate.  They should.  But really, they should just do it more often, and then we wouldn’t need this day in the first place, now would we? :)

As for me, the Everyman has revealed that we will be going to Mistura for our Love Day dinner.  I was very surprised, since we’ve both been sick lately, and I wasn’t really expecting anything at all.  That’s part of the reason I love him I guess; he always manages to surprise me with stuff when I least expect it.

I’m really looking forward to seeing what Massimo will come up with tonight.  I’ve never been there before, but I do love to watch him on Restaurant Makeover (he’s pretty much the only reason I’ll watch it).

My favorite Massimo-ism is “Always have a spoon, ‘cuz you never know when food is gonna break out!”

Couldn’t have said it better myself.  I’ll post my review tomorrow.

Until next time…