Saturday, January 21, 2012

614 Restaurant Week - Cameron's American Bistro

Birthday week continues! For Thursday's birthday dinner I chose Cameron's American Bistro because I have always wanted to go to Mitchell's flagship restaurant. I'm a fairly regular visitor of some of his other places, but for some reason I've never been to this one.

I quote the website:" Cameron's American Bistro, the original Cameron Mitchell Restaurant located in Worthington, presents a dining experience that blends genuine hospitality and uniquely innovative food in an upscale-casual, intimate atmosphere. An American road trip for your palate, Cameron's American Bistro brings home to Columbus delicious dishes familiar and unfamiliar, from places coastal and landlocked." This was a place I definitely wanted to visit.

 The posted menu for Cameron's for Restaurant Week looked wonderful. So Cameron's it was! There were eight of us and we were seated smack dab in the middle of the dining room at a round table that allowed us to easily talk to everyone in our party. Our server was a young man named AJ, and he was beyond wonderful! He totally took care of us all night.

Six of the eight of us chose to go with the Restaurant Week menus. Lucky me! In the interest of my blog readers, it really was my civic duty to try everything that I could. Darn Patrick, though. He was clear across the table and I didn’t get to taste his. How did he escape my fork???

By far the most popular appetizer was the Goat Cheese Arancini, and with good reason. The balls of risotto were made with goat cheese and then fried to a golden crisp and were served on a tomato coulis with a sprig of arugula. Let me explain it to you like this; a slice of heaven on a plate. *sigh*

Another choice was the Chop Chop. This was a lovely salad made up of “Wier’s Farm mixed greens, asparagus, sweet corn, hardboiled egg, smoked bacon, gorgonzola, red onions, grape tomatoes and golden balsamic vinaigrette". It was very good.

The third appetizer choice was Shrimp Bisque. As you can see, it was lovely. It was garnished with Lemon cream, chives and crostini. I would like to tell you how incredible it was, however this was one of the dishes that escaped me. Dang-it! Now I’m thinking I need to go back soon and complete my “education”.

Moving on to the entrées, these were an absolute delight! I decided upon the Hoisin Glazed Salmon. This was served with “grilled pineapple rice, ginger glazed carrots, sugar snap peas and sriracha butter sauce”. I am telling you, this salmon was absolutely exquisite. I was totally smitten with the pineapple rice. Oh my goodness! The salmon was wonderfully moist and had sweet and savory notes from the hoisin sauce. The carrots and snap peas were crunch and the sauce…oh the sauce. I was a bit concerned that the sriracha sauce might be a tad too much for me. Much to my delight it was spot on. What a winner!

This is the shrimp and grits. You’re right. It wasn’t on the Restaurant Week menu, but two of my fellow diners ordered this. What rebels! I tried to slip my fork onto Dianne’s plate when she wasn’t looking but I was busted J  The grits were made with goat cheese. Yum! I didn’t try the shrimp because both she and Donald warned me that they were pretty spicy. And we all know what a wuss I am. I did go back for seconds on the grits, though.

Bob and Homer got the Crispy Moscovy Duck Breast with “five vegetable fried rice, baby bok choy, glazed peanuts and orange ginger reduction”. While I not a huge fan of duck, this was very nicely done. Bob was certainly happy with it. And I don’t think we heard a peep out of Homer until his plate was empty! I’m thinkin’ he enjoyed itJ

Isn’t this a lovely photo? Isn’t that a lovely pork chop? Don’t you wonder if it tasted lovely? Well, can’t help ya there. This is the other dish I was talking about that I couldn’t reach. I’m thinking next time with a group this size, I’m going to bring along one of those forks that have an extending handle. Yep, that’s exactly what I need.

Everyone but Kathy and I got the Vanilla Crème Brulee with fresh berries. It was some of the best I have ever had. Or, at least Bob’s portion was some of the best! There was a plethora of vanilla beans and it was reflected in the taste. Beautiful.

Now for the big finish! What is a birthday celebration without cake? How right you are! Cake is what gives mankind sustenance; or something like that anyway. No question I was going with the Warm Carrot Cake. Kathy joined me in ordering the warm carrot cake with cream cheese icing and vanilla rum sauce. Oh dear me, I am so happy I did. It was absolutely, totally insane! The cake was light but incredibly flavorful. The cream cheese icing was sort of sliding off the top of the hot cake and the rum sauce was pooling around the base of the cake just waiting for me to take that first taste. When I did, I do believe the heavens opened and angels sang. Yes. That is what makes a birthday so spectacular. Cake is truly God’s gift of comfort and pleasure.

What a truly wonderful birthday this has been!

Another fine Restaurant Week under the belt…or should I say on the hips? Wherever it lands, it was well worth it. The chefs in Columbus are so very talented. Hats off to them! And thank you to 614 Magazine and all of the sponsors, especially Makers Mark!

p.s. Did I mention that because it was my birthday I was given a gorgeous white rosebud? Wow; Cameron's knows how to treat a lady!

Cameron’s American Bistro
2185 W. Dublin-Granville Road
Worthington, OH
(614) 885-3663
Monday- Thursday: 5pm- 10pm
Friday & Saturday: 5pm- 11pm

Cameron's American Bistro on Urbanspoon

Thursday, January 19, 2012

614 Magazine Restaurant Week - Moretti's of Arlington

I love Restaurant Week, I love Moretti's and I LOVE birthdays!!! And I adore my godsons :-)  So how could it not be a fun birthday, I ask you?

Blake drew this while he was waiting for his dinner. Obviously I am the pink lady. (Yikes! Is that really what my hair looks like to him???) Blake is orange and Bryce is green. (all of our favorite colors!) Unfortunately Bob, Clint & Virna didn't make the grade. But it was my birthday after all.

Moretti's is offering a great menu for this week, and it is only $20. Yes, that's right, twenty dollars! For a three course dinner that will leave you moaning because you are so full, yet you have leftovers for lunch the next day! I know!

So let me show you a little of what we had last night.

This is the bread plate presented after we were seated. The bread was still hot from the oven, with flavored butter and the house marinara sauce. It was deeeeeeeliscious!!!!! I admit I may have hogged the butter...just a little...well, maybe a lot. Okay, I admit it! Let's just please move on.

These were the Four Cheese Risotto Balls with lemon aioli. They were not part of the Restaurant Week menu, however I must include them. I totally could make a meal of these! I kid you not. They are delectable deep fried balls of risotto, with cheese in the middle that oozes out when the balls are cut into. These are commonly called arancini. By whatever name, they are to die for. I simply cannot go to Moretti's without indulging in these.

This was the Mediterranean Chop Salad. It consisted of organic greens, cucumber, tomato, kalamata olive, red onion, feta, and pepperoncini dressed with a house vinaigrette. Wonderful.

The Wedding Soup was my appetizer choice. I do believe that Moretti's has some of the best wedding soup I have ever tasted. The broth is so flavorful and the spinach and carrots are yummy. The meatballs are plentiful and so tasty. Just perfect!

The last appetizer choice was the tomato bisque. Rich tomato flavor; deeply satisfying. We probably could have stopped there. But oh no! We soldiered on.

Bob, Clint and Virna all got this entee for dinner. Allow me to introduce you to Moretti's Truffle Mac 'N Cheese with Shrimp. Oh Lordy was it ever good! The shrimp were perfectly cooked and had that wonderful flavor that shrimp have when they are "just right". You know what I'm talking about. When you buy shrimp and they are just so succulent that you never want to stop eating them. Huh? You don't know what I'm talking about?  It's just me? Oh dude, if that's true I feel so sorry for you. Put those perfect shrimp on top of homemade mac 'n cheese, add a little truffle (butter or oil, I'm not sure which) and your knees get week and your hands start shaking and your breath is taken away. And no, I do not have a seafood allergy. I just (as my good friend Tom Prosek says) "became one with my food". Or in this case, Bob's food.

My dear friends, meet my dinner Scallop Carbanara with Fuscili Pasta. It is so easy to screw up carbanara. And if you do, you end up with a gloppy mess and who wants to eat that? This carbanara was done quite well. It was abundant with scallops, bacon, onion. peas, and a delicately creamy cheese sauce. It was really good.

Moving on to dessert, Virna and I chose the Chocolate Espresso Cheesecake. Bingo! I darn near cried, it was so good. Rich, creamy, cheesey, deep flavor; everything a cheesecake should be. And the espresso was there in all its glory. Not overpowering, not artificial. No, just wonderful. Add a cup of coffee and I was in heaven.

The guys got the Cannoli. The menu listed this as Chocolate Chip Cannoli. While we didn't see any chocolate chips, the cannoli did not disappoint!

What a dinner! What a birthday! All this and Bryce's first place win in the spelling bee, too!

What more could I possibly have asked for????

Moretti's of Arlington
2124 Tremont Center
Columbus, OH
(614) 486.2333
Monday-Thursday: 4:30pm-9:30 pm, Friday & Saturday: 4:30pm-10pm
Moretti's of Arlington on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

614 Restaurant Week January 16-21, 2012

Yes, we're well into 614 Magazine's Restaurant Week. I haven't been out to dinner yet, but the games are about to begin!

Today is my birthday! Happy birthday to me!!!  Okay, enough about that.

We are celebrating with our godsons. Oh we let their parents come along, too. And tonight we have a dual celebration! Bryce won his school spelling bee this afternoon! I am soooo proud of him! So we are really going to have a ball.

When asked where I wanted to go for dinner, I chose Moretti's of Arlington. I just love that place.  The pasta is homemade and the sauces are incredible. I figured it was a good choice for the boys, and I'm pretty darn sure that Clint and Virna will like it, too. Check out the menus! It will be mighty difficult to choose.

We also have plans for more of Restaurant Week.

Stay tuned!!!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Baked Ziti

Bob attended Columbia University in 1963-1965. I think it is fair to say that during that time, he was not flush with money. He has often reminisced about a place that he and his buddies used to go to eat the "best" baked ziti for $2.50! It was absolutely delicious and the price was right. The restaurant was V&T Pizzeria Restaurant on Amsterdam Avenue, between 110th and 111th Street in New York City. I looked it up and they are still there! ( The Baked Ziti is still on the menu, however the price has gone up to $8.00 - which isn't too bad for 47 years!

So in view of Bob's love memories of V&T's Baked Ziti, I set out to see if I could find something approaching it. This, my friends, was no easy task. Bob's memory is very discerning!

The other day I was reading my blog roll and I saw a recipe that Mocha Me had posted. Well I figured I may have hit pay dirt because I quote: "I think this should be renamed "The Best Baked Ziti I Ever Had."  Okay, I'll make it and we'll see how it stacks up to the V&T's memory.

The verdict? Pretty darn good. Woohoo! Thank you Debbie! (and for the original recipe)

Baked Ziti

1 pound dry ziti pasta
1 onion, finely chopped
1 pound lean ground beef
2 ( 26 ounce) jars spaghetti sauce
6 ounces provolone cheese, sliced
1 1/2 cups sour cream
6 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 tablespoons grated (I use freshly shredded) Parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add ziti pasta and cook according to package directions; drain.
In a large skillet, brown onion and ground beef over medium heat. Drain excess fat. Add spaghetti sauce and simmer about 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter (I used olive oil cooking spray) a 9 x 13 inch baking dish. I also add a little of the sauce mixture to the bottom of the dish to prevent sticking. Layer as follows: 1/2 of the ziti, Provolone cheese, sour cream, 1/2 of sauce mixture, remaining ziti, mozzarella cheese and remaining sauce mixture. Top with Parmesan cheese.
Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes in preheated oven on top of baking sheet. Remove foil and bake an additional 10 minutes.
This tastes much better the second day so if you decide to heat this up the next day after it's been in the fridge than bake approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour covered and 10 minutes more uncovered.