Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Favorite things in my mouth this weekend

Zenzero, or ginger, gelato from Gelateria Barbara on 18th and Cherry. This place is phenomenal. They use fresh ingredients and have flavors like blood orange, green tea, basil, pineapple with chili peppers, lemoncello, tiramisu. Mmmh, it's a big, soft scoop of frozen heaven. We always get two flavors in a cup, since it's never easy to decide. Plus, when you walk in, the proprietor wishes you good day/good evening in Italian, and asks you what you want to sample. This is clever; if he asked if you'd like a sample, many would say "no, thanks." But he encourages you to try things, whatever you like and however many, without making you feel like you're imposing or scamming the system. He actually seems disappointed when I choose and he can't press any more tiny plastic spoons shaped like shovels, just big enough to hold a tantalizing nibble. (Just right for Baby Girl to try some, too. Her first gelato experience was ginger. Her second, from daddy's bowl, was blueberry lavender.)

Amazing sushi from Aoyama, the Japanese steakhouse in what used to be Chi Chi's at the mall. It was date night, and Daring Husband took me to my first sushi restaurant. I like sushi, but this place opened right around the time I found out I was expecting and wasn't allowed raw fish (or rare steak, which sucked big time). We've been meaning to go for a long time. I was interested to see if it still looked like Chi Chi's inside. What we found was wonderfully decorated spaces and a fantastic panoramic waterfall. It reminded me of the temples that have been reconstructed inside the Philadelphia Museum of Art; I was immediately put at ease and felt myself breathing deeper. When we first arrived, we sat at one of the hibachi tables. Five minutes later we told the waitress we changed our mind and were moved into the dining room near the waterfall. With the right group of people, it would have been fun. The couple we were seated next to, however, were dour and surly and refused to return my greeting. They seemed like sticks in the mud. Besides, we had seen the sushi menu... We ordered a sushi assortment for two and oh, was it good... Perhaps I'll devote an entire blog to it another time.

Leftover fajita fritata, made by Darling Husband Saturday morning. Green peppers, onions, meat and cheese set in egg--what could be wrong? The cheese was melty, the peppers and onions slightly al dente yet not at all harsh, the meat surprisingly still tender and the egg perfectly set without being gooey or rubbery. It was just right.

Watermelon, popped into my mouth to encourage Baby Girl to try it. I don't really like watermelon, except in limited ways and certain times. This wasn't even the best watermelon ever, but it was just right for that moment.

Risotto with fresh grated lemon zest, arugula and seared scallops. Technically, this was Monday night and not, therefore, the weekend. But risotto is one of my favorite dishes. It tastes like a million bucks and is the kind of dish that seems really hard to make. It was a reputation for being hard to make, even. To me, it's really a piece of cake. It just takes attention, but it's hard to screw up and the pay out is huge. Plus, for my money, there's nothing like the sweet taste of a seared scallop, with just a touch of crust and a hint of the sea.

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