Some food-related (mostly) things we enjoyed this past week:
We tried a new local Italian restaurant this week and were quite impressed. La Macchina Cafe is a cozy little place decorated with vintage auto and industrial memorabilia (“la macchina” means “the machine” in Italian), and it has a cool neighborhood atmosphere. The menu is pretty perfect in its simplicity, focusing on authentic Italian classics that are surprisingly reasonably priced, especially considering how good everything was that we tried. Although we don’t usually order dessert, and we were pretty full from the “taglieri” (breadboard) of meats and cheeses followed by our pasta courses, you really can’t eat at an authentically Italian restaurant without trying the gelato. It was just as delicious as everything else. Bravissimo!
We couldn’t let our leftovers from La Macchina go to waste, so we had them for breakfast a couple of days later. Around our house, if you put a fried egg on something, that transforms it into the morning meal. The runny yolk acted as a sauce of sorts to tie the two different kinds of pasta together.
New Favorite Soup Alert: Thai coconut curry — original recipe here, as adapted by this talented lady. We made it with chicken, but the chicken itself was kind of bland and didn’t add much to the soup. Next time we’ll make it with shrimp, adding it near the end of the cooking time since shrimp cooks quickly. A few of the ingredients are a bit unusual (coconut milk, Thai curry paste, lime leaves and lemongrass), but we found all these items at our local Whole Foods. The Thai curry paste and dried lime leaves (“kaffir”) were in the Asian section, lemongrass was with produce and the coconut milk was in the baking section. The recipe calls for two cans of coconut milk, so we used one “light” and one regular. You’ll need at least one can of regular coconut milk because the light milk doesn’t have the cream stuff on top that you use to saute the curry paste and cilantro stems to start the recipe. It sounds kind of complicated, but this soup is really easy to make and is so good that it makes you want to punch all other soups in the face (Dan’s ringing endorsement.)
On the recommendation of one of Dan’s colleagues, we had dinner at Prairie Moon the other night and loved it. They have a wide variety of “American dining” menu items, including seven different kinds of burgers, and a great selection of “small plates” for the times when we want a taste of several different dishes or can’t decide on a single entree. And the restaurant gets bonus points for being really close walking distance from our condo (especially during this winter of polar vortexes.)
The ability to play music in several rooms of our home simultaneously is not something we ever thought we particularly needed or wanted, but the Sonos wireless speaker system changed our minds as soon as we set it up. We certainly don’t *need* music in every room at the same time, and Dan has (thus far) resisted the temptation to purchase speakers for all three bathrooms and our storage space, but having music piped through a few speakers in key spots (living room, kitchen and master bedroom) is a fun luxury.