Merry Christmas and Happy Hannukah and Happy New Year to all!
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
With the holiday season upon us our group is taking a break for November and December as Escape seems impossible. We'll spend these months doing more entertaining at home as family and friends come from near and far. I'm flexing my long dormant 'chef' muscles and find that when I have enough liesure time to spare I actually enjoy doing some cooking. Hold on hubby I'm not ready to take back my apron full time - you're still the master of the kitchen. But I've been preparing one meal a week and enjoying it. I make killer black beans, wicked good hot dog onions, GREAT pizza, yummy quesadillas. I'm not fool enough to try my hand at one of Jolly's specialties. I focus on things he doesn't cook and am so pleased when he likes them. Validation. Recently we invited a friend over who wanted to learn how to make hubby's Eggplant Rollatini - a dish that has earned him high praise through the years. I filmed it for our kids to enjoy but its too long to share here. I will say that looking at him perform his culinary magic through a camera lens helped me focus squarely on his incredible precision. His style is so regimented that he does it almost on auto pilot with culinary muscle memory. Viewing it back on film even he was struck by how calmly he went about his process. I think that's the mark of a genius cook. I'm more likely to get distracted and forget that somethings on the stove. I've made my mother's bread pudding recipe twice in the last two weeks but haven't been happy with the results. I had asked her for years to please give me her recipe and she couldn't do it. So I set about ammassing all the ingredients and invited her over to make it for me. As she put it all together I followed her around with pen and paper and wrote it down for posterity. I lost mom just a couple of years after this and so I treasure this recipe in her memory. Bread pudding is one of those things that changes each time you make it depending on the ingredients at hand. I'm ashamed to say these two efforts didn't cut it and its because I took liberties with her recipe thinking that's what I was supposed to do - make it my own. So this weekend I will try again and this time stick to her recipe. That's what hubby does and why his dishes always come out exactly the same - delicious. Lesson learned.
Monday, October 28, 2013
Monday, September 30, 2013
Sunday, September 1, 2013
Saturday, March 9, 2013
There’s a lot to like about Bella’s – the décor and ambiance are bistro chic, the food was really quite good. Ours is a judgmental group headed by my cheftastic husband whose opinions are coming from a place of great food knowledge and experience. How do you take a fabulous Italian who cooks fabulous Italian food to an Italian restaurant and expect not to hear his opinion? So I’m taking him out of the mix entirely because for the remaining seven in our group there was definite thumbs up approval. I love dining in this trendy SoHo area of Florida – if I squint I can almost imagine myself back in New York City (and yes in this dream sequence I’m about 30 years younger and absolutely fabulous). There’s a lively energy to this part of town and we see it mostly as we’re leaving for home around 8 and the young’uns are just arriving decked out for a night of fun. Kudos to them. I enjoyed Lasagna with Bolognese sauce that was cooked perfectly. Others in our group tried the standard Spaghetti and Meatballs, or the Salmon and the approvals were high. Of course the Eggplant Parm was tasty but those who ate it paid considerable homage to my honey exclaiming that his was definitely better. (Yes they want to be invited back to our house someday). We skipped dessert and settled for capuccinos which were considerately served with a little biscuit - just enough of a sweet bite after such a heavy meal. Would I come back for another meal? Most definitely - or maybe just to sample their gorgeous desserts!
Sunday, February 3, 2013
The Art of Escaping often includes a tie in activity before or after we dine that adds to the pleasure of our outing. This was one of those occasions. Our latest "Escape" included a pre-dinner walking tour of Bradenton's Art Village - a quaint collection of restored 20's and 30's cottages that are home to one of the largest groups of artisans in Florida. There are over 30 art galleries, working art studios, cafes, jewelry, fashion, healing arts and folk art - it was wonderful to get a glimpse into an artist's studio and see where it all happens and have an opportunity to purchase that one unique piece you were looking for. Check out this link to learn more about a lovely (and free) way to spend an afternoon. http://www.villageofthearts.com/
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
While this blog focuses on The Great Escape from Sun City Center, it's nice to know that we finally have a great seafood option right here in town! The Seafood Dive opened in February 2011 with a clever name (think diving into the ocean for your meal) and a casual, friendly atmosphere. Decorated with a beachy fishing theme that was inspired by the owner's love of fishing, the real hit here is the food. Well prepared favorites like Alaskan Cod, Farm Raised Catfish and Mahi Mahi are a hit and you'll enjoy their Gator Tail, Fried Pickles and Sandwich Baskets. On my last visit I chose the diet friendly Broiled Alaskan Cod with steamed greenbeans and coleslaw. The portions are very generous and I had to take some home which I enjoyed the next day for lunch. The cod was deliciously seasoned and cooked perfectly. Sure I cheated a little and had one hush puppy but it was worth the few extra calories. Owner Kaz with his many years of restaurant experience has been successful in overcoming the biggest hurdle facing restaurant businesses in Sun City Center - he offers delicious affordable food and provides excellent customer service.....and people keep coming back. The Seafood Dive is here to stay and cares about giving back to the community by generously participating in local chamber and church group fund raising events. An altogether pleasant dining experience with a friendly and efficient waitstaff. And now that the cooler weather has arrived, you'll enjoy eating outdoors on the Dry Dock. www.theseafooddive.com