Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Lauro Mediterranean Kitchen

A restaurant at which we recently dined, Lauro is an expansive room with loads of talent and warm plates of food to delight in. The service was excellent. I ordered the Chicken Tagine one Saturday night, and it came with couscous, butternut squash, chickpeas, and currants. It was fun to taste this dish of Moroccan origin, with the perfect touch of spices that don't overwhelm, and suddenly have a pleasant sweetness in the mouth from a currant or two. Chicken Tagine comes to your table in a very warm bowl and your entire meal is within it. How nice that it stays warm throughout the dining hour! My companion had the same experience with his Seafood Paella. It had mussels, clams, calamari, shrimp, and chourico sausage on a bed of rice. The sausage is very unique, meaty and delicious. I also tasted the mussels and they were wonderfully plump and very fresh. He ate the whole thing, so it was obviously a hit with him ~ !
I didn't finish mine, but reserved the remainder for later at home. I simply had to try the apple tarte tatin with vanilla ice cream. It was glorious; the pastry was very fresh and tasted house-made, which isn't a far cry from reality, I'm sure, since they have a pastry chef there, Nancy Forrest. I am a sucker for good pastry, and indeed, I ate the whole thing.
My companion had the dessert special, a Grand Marnier pot de creme, with creme chantilly, and chocolate shortbread cookies on the side. Not to put too fine a point on it, but, ah, he ate all of it, too. I did have a chance -- barely -- to taste it; and it was very sophisticated and yummy.
After we left the restaurant, he said "One of the few times we've been in a place like that (a nice restaurant with innovative food) where I seriously considered having the pizza." There's always next time.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Random Order, Aebliskivers

On NE Alberta at 18th, Random Order is the coffee place that has everything: Boozy pies, espresso drinks, vegan, non-gluten, and vegetarian menu offerings, Bailey's Irish Cream, cool music, wi-fi, and accommodating counter-persons. Try the Kentucky Bourbon Pecan Pie, or the Brandied Peach Pie; nice, and with a little glob of whipped cream on the side with your fave espresso -- heaven is pretty close to this.

Last month on Christmas morn it was once again time for making Aebliskivers with friends. For those of you in the know, skip this sentence: Aebliskivers are round Danish pancakes that are cooked in special pans for this purpose.

Our 2nd annual tradition began last year when my friend Pam came over with her 2 aebliskiver pans, lingonberry jam, and ScanFest cookbook. I provided the cardamom, powdered sugar, and all the rest. We had a blast (see photo at left), and resolved to do it again.

This year we had several more people in the kitchen: Pam and I, of course, and also Kelly, and Gritt, who is 100% Danish and is expert at making aebliskivers -- but of course! Here we are, cooking, then sampling: