Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Penne Pasta with Sundried Tomatoes, Spinach & Feta

This is one of Bob’s and my favorite dishes. The first night I make it we eat it warm/room temperature. The next night we eat it cold. Sometimes we eat it standing in front of the open refrigerator with a fork in our hands! It seems it has an addictive quality.

The recipe doesn’t really have set amounts of ingredients. It’s very forgiving in that you can adjust what you like or don’t like. We happen to like it all. Go figure.

I do hope you like this dish as much as we do!

Penne Pasta with Sundried Tomatoes, Spinach & Feta

16 oz box of penne pasta
1 bag baby spinach leaves, washed and spun dry – remove stems if you’re anal like me
6 oz crumbled feta cheese (we like the sundried tomato & basil flavor)
Sundried tomatoes (packed in oil), sliced
Chopped garlic – roasted garlic is nice if you have it
Olive oil
Grated parmesan cheese
Toasted pine nuts

The cast of characters. Uh oh … looks like the olive oil and the parmesan cheese didn’t make it to the preview party. I’m sure they’ll catch up with us.

Cook the pasta according to package directions. (I generally use penne pasta, but the store was out of it. So I went with rigatoni. Bob and I both agreed we like the penne better.) Drain pasta and return to the pot.

While the pasta is cooking, grate the parmesan cheese and then toast the pine nuts in a small skillet. Be careful because they toast really fast! Watch them every single second! They’ll turn on you in a heartbeat. Please, learn from my experience.

Add the remaining ingredients, except the grated parmesan cheese and toasted pine nuts, to the pasta in the pot.

Mix well. I eyeball the olive oil. Don’t skimp on it because you want this to have a great mouthfeel. Add enough that it’s easy to mix but doesn’t look overly greasy. And use some of the oil from the tomatoes! That has great flavor!

Dish up a healthy serving and garnish with grated parmesan and toasted pine nuts.

This dish is so easy it’s crazy. And it’s so good it’s sinful! My mouth is watering just writing this. Really! Oh man, now I’m going to have to make this again to silence the craving.

You should whip up a batch too, and tell me what you think!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Restaurant Week (614) magazine - Lemongrass Fusion Bistro

Last night’s dinner choice was a slam dunk! My friend, Jenny has been urging us to go to Lemongrass for some time now. She adores this place. And now I know why! It is absolutely awesome! I simply could not stop thinking about it all day today. Almost everything that passed these lips set me on a rant about the fabulousness of the tastes! And if “fabulousness” isn’t a word it should be … just to describe Lemongrass! O-M-G!!!

Beginning with the space itself, I fell in love. From the outside on High Street it doesn’t look like much. There is a neon sign that’s kind of cool, but if you blink you might miss it. Don’t blink! Definitely don’t blink. The inside is just charming. I absolutely love the décor!

The first course choices were all tempting. Bob chose to begin with the Eurasia Salad. Baby field greens and romaine lettuce, roasted almonds, tangerines and crispy noodles; served with their Eurasia vinaigrette made with rosemary, maple, and spicy lime vinegar. It also had pineapple chunks and a funny looking fried thing. Can you see it there on the upper left side? Bob took a bite of it and looked at me with a big grin and said, “Oh, you’re going to love this.” I tasted it and he was right (as he so often is). He was darn lucky he got it back. I wanted it in a real bad way. The salad was delightful. The dressing was just perfect with the fruit and the greens.

I chose the Pan Seared Veggie Dumplings. These are house-made dumplings stuffed with fresh Asian chives and served with their ginger-soy sauce. I love dumplings of any type so I barely even looked at the other choices. Um, let me say these were not quite what I had expected. The menu states they are “pan seared” so I anticipated that they would be like potstickers. These were more steamed than seared, and the texture was chewy. Don’t get me wrong, I ate them! The flavor was good, but the texture was kind of weird. I probably wouldn’t order them again. But when talking to Jenny, she gushed over them. Go figure.

The second course was served quickly after the first. Service was quick! Bob ordered the Pacific Rim Grilled Chicken. It is grilled then baked chicken breast, paired with their Pacific Rim cream sauce and served over linguine pasta. Oh my goodness is this good. The cream sauce is just ridiculously delicious. The chicken was yummy, the linguine was cooked just right, and it was garnished with a couple of broccoli floweret’s and carrot sticks. The plate was gorgeous.

I had the Monsoon Shrimp. It is one half pound of fresh shrimp, wok-fried with lime juice, lemongrass, coconut milk, and chili paste. This is served over a bed of Thai green beans and steamed rice. I was a bit concerned that the dish might be too spicy for me because of the chili paste. (We all know what a wimp I am.) I asked our server and he assured me that it was not overly spicy at all. First of all, the plate was beautiful. The beans surrounded rice that had been unmolded in the center. 11 shrimp were then placed around the rice and one sat atop the rice. The sauce was indescribably good.

We started eating our entrées and both of us were practically moaning. We switched plates and dug in. Neither of us could decide which was better. Bob asked if I wanted to switch back and I told him I wasn’t ready to. He responded, “Okay, but you’re losing shrimp at an alarming rate.” I took a few more bites of the chicken and linguine and reluctantly switched. My first bite of the Monsoon Shrimp had me swooning again.

Who is the wizard in this kitchen?

Our dessert dishes did not disappoint. What an incredible end to an incredible meal! Bob got the Almond Cream Cake, which is a rum soaked almond pound cake, frosted with amaretto mascarpone, garnished with caramelized almonds and powdered sugar. Oh my goodness. This was so good and the plate was so pretty. I think Bob had half of it gone before I could even get a first bite! This was right up his alley. The rum soaked cake was moist and delicious. The amaretto mascarpone was the perfect complement to the cake. Yes, that was an excellent choice!

My dessert was the Fried Plantains -- fresh plantains coated with coconut and sesame seeds, fried to a golden hue and served with chocolate covered ice cream bars. I loved this! Coating the plantains with coconut and sesame seeds was genius! The flavors were perfect together. Then to put the ice cream bars with the coconut/sesame plantains was whimsical. I wanted to lick the plate.

To say that we will return to Lemongrass is an understatement. I’m already plotting my strategy for future visits. There are so many items I see on the menu that I want to try. Jenny and I have compared notes and I’ve received her recommendations. The possibility of a Lemongrass rendezvous with her looms large.

They even packed our left-overs in a bag with a smiley face on it. What's not to like about this place?

Maybe they should just permanently reserve a seat for me … one in the front room, please.

Lemongrass {fusion bistro}
641 North High Street
Columbus, OH
(614) 224-1414

Lemongrass Fusion Bistro on Urbanspoon

Monday, July 12, 2010

Restaurant Week (614) Magazine – Flatiron Bar & Diner

And so it begins. (614) Magazine Restaurant Week starts today and runs through Saturday, July 17th. The list of participating restaurants is quite impressive. This makes it incredibly difficult to narrow down the choice of where to go.

I’ve gone over the list of menus again and again. And I mean over, and over, and over, again and again, and again. There are so many that I want to try. Oh the decisions. The first one that I just could not get out of my mind was the Flatiron Bar and Diner. I kept coming back to it and drooling. So when Bob got home tonight and we were deciding where to go, that was what I was pushing for. Let me tell you, it sure didn’t take much pushing to get him to agree!

Off we went. The Flatiron doesn’t take reservations; it’s first come, first serve. It’s such a fun place to eat. The building is actually pie shaped. It was built in 1914, and the narrow part of the building was originally a saloon. From the end of the bar to the back door (the widest part of the building) was a grocery store. We love the building, especially the windows!

This is such a gem in downtown Columbus. The food is absolutely delicious! Their website describes the food as “bold tastes of Cajun, Creole, barbecue, and low country cuisine”. I just say it’s good. Let me get on with business and show you.

The first course was a choice of salads. I got the Mixed Green Salad with candied jowl bacon and bleu cheese, and Bob got the Traditional Caesar Salad. My salad was wonderful. The candied jowl bacon took this salad to a new level. The balsamic dressing was spot on; with flavors that were perfectly balanced. Bob said his Caesar salad was quite good.

The Second course choices we made were ever so good! We shared :-)

My choice was the Laughing Bird Shrimp and Stone Ground Grits with Ohio pork belly red eye gravy. Holy cow was this good! The grits were delicious alone, however paired with the shrimp and pork red eye gravy, this dish was absolutely wonderful. I’d have been happy if this had been my main dish!

Bob’s choice was even better! (Good thing we were sharing, or things might have gotten a little dicey here!) He got the Homemade Smoked Texas Sausage Plate with apple stadium mustard, cornichons, red onions and herb marinated provolone cheese. Wow! The smokiness of the sausage was unbelievable. The squiggle of mustard running along the top of it was classic. And the cornichons were the perfect accompaniment! A bite of the sausage got the flavors of the meat and the smoke working in my mouth. Then I took a bite of the cornichons and it about brought me to my knees. What a plate!

The third course did not disappoint. Bob ordered the Seared Yellowfin Tuna Medallions with green tomato chutney and benne beans. Bob said the tuna was delicious. The chutney was really interesting … a good interesting. There was the tartness of the tomatoes, but also tanginess from vinegar and sugar. The tuna was served on a bed of white rice with a side of string beans that had been blanched and dressed with an oh-so-light dressing and sprinkled with sesame seeds. They were crisp and fresh and nutty.

My third course was heaven. Truly I mean it! I had Smoked Chicken Leg Quarter with chipotle orange BBQ sauce, Boursin mashed potatoes and southern style green beans. I swooned. I nearly fell out of my chair! Talk about comfort food. Oh my. Let me begin with the green beans. Bob’s were bright green. Mine were dark, army green. I like my beans cooked within an inch of their lives. So sue me. These were like my mom made them. They were soft and had chunks of pork. I could have wept. The beans were nestled up against mashed potatoes. Not smooth, over-whipped, squirted out of a pastry bag potatoes (although I’d never turn my nose up at those … me + potatoes = happy girl). These potatoes had Boursin cheese in them and had lumps and steam coming off of them. And plopped on top of all this happiness was a chicken leg quarter with skin that was charred and smeared with Flatiron’s chipotle orange BBQ sauce. Love on a plate is what it was. Nothing should taste this good. It just ruins me for mediocre food (hmm … like my own cooking, maybe?).

What a dinner! And all of this for $20 each! Is that crazy or what???

Special thanks to an awesome and incredibly hardworking server, Amber. You were terrific!

If Flatiron Bar and Diner isn’t one of your choices this week, it should be!

Flatiron Bar and Diner
129 E Nationwide Blvd
Columbus, OH 43215
(614) 461-0033

Flatiron Bar & Diner on Urbanspoon

Saturday, July 10, 2010

KDB Easton

I received an email from my friend, Tammy Geiger. She is the Director of Sales & Marketing for the new “KDB” that is opening in Easton. It sounds like a place that can be fun for the whole family, dates, or friends just wanting to meet somewhere for a bite to eat and a drink. Plus, they can accommodate groups large and small for special occasions.

Check it out! Opening day is August 5, 2010! What fun!!!


I would like to formally introduce to you the newest entertainment concept at Easton – KDB.
KDB - “Your Neighborhood, Kitchen, Den and Bar” will be your home away from home offering great food, drinks, games, bowling, and entertainment. Our 37,000+ square foot venue is located in Columbus, Ohio at Easton Town Center. Our venue showcases a unique blend of friendly neighborhood service, delicious menu offerings and immersive entertainment experiences to provide our guests a one-of-a-kind experience.

For day or night events, KDB features a unique modular design that allows us to customize the space and entertainment experience for any group size or demographic. The Kitchen: 150 dining area, including an outside patio and the best in home-style Americana cuisine. The Den: is 20,000 square feet of space with over 200 of the hottest games and one-of-a-kind interactive attractions designed exclusively for KDB surrounded by high-definition flat screens. The Bar: includes two high-energy bar areas, the perfect spot to watch sports and a Martini Lounge serving signature drinks.

KDB is the premier location for high-tech corporate meetings, group events, private parties, Team Building Event, Holiday Parties, Fundraisers, Sales Seminar’s, New Product Launches, Manager's Meetings, training classes and so much more!

KDB Offers:
• Accommodations for groups from 10 – 1,000
• Private Party and Meeting Rooms
• Professional Sound Stage with Live Entertainment
• A variety of creative menu options
• Professional on-site party and meeting planners
• A totally unique party atmosphere
• The best Interactive Games and Attractions around
• 2 high-energy bars including a sports bar
• 150 seat restaurant

Cheers, I look forward to working with many of you again and planning your exciting events at KDB Easton!

Tammy Geiger
KDB - Easton

"Our house is your home...and a whole lot more"
Director, Sales and Marketing
165 Easton Town Center
Columbus, OH 43219
614.418.7149 (office)
614.390.0144 (cell)

So there you have it! The newest addition to Easton! A great place for parties … and who doesn’t like a party?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Restaurant Week - (614 Magazine) July 12-17, 2010

It is time again for Restaurant Week from 614 Magazine! July 12-17 is going to be a great week! The list of participating restaurants and their menus will knock your socks off! I am just blown away ... and it's going to be tough to make choices! But I already have a few picked out.

Boy am I glad Bob is back on his game. Think I'll strap a bib on him and away we go!

Please check them out and visit as many as you can. The proceeds go to the Mid Ohio Food Bank.