Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Happy Birthday Mad-town Meals

Happy Birthday to me,
I went out to eat times three,
Though I enjoyed the rest (from cooking),
I like eating at home best.

Thank you to my friends, children and husband for indulging me in some great eats this weekend. I can't believe that I celebrated another year. And no, I'm not 25...again. But I wouldn't want to be. I love my full and blessed life, and all the roads that have led to this place.

I explored some fun new places (to me) in Madison, including Marigold Kitchen, and the Underground Kitchen. I loved the pork loin sandwich and the simple red cabbage slaw at Marigold. And the company of a good friend. The grilled pork was topped with eggplant caponata, greens and mayo on a hearty roll, while the slivered red cabbage was tossed with a delicious anise seed-infused viniagrette.

At the Kitchen, as the Underground Catering's new restaurant is called, Drummer Man and I sampled a selection of their fresh and inspired recipes. We ordered a “deconstructed” sandwich, which featured chicken breast, gently tossed salad greens, goat cheese, a pesto, and thick slices of bread un-assembled on a large platter. The pancetta salad offered sweet roasted squash and crusty bread on a bed of market-fresh spinach. We topped off the meal with a delicious and moist almond and corn meal pound cake with mascarpone and apricot sauce.

Oh, that was not all. (Yes, I will never be able to afford to eat out again.) Sunday morning our family hit Sofia's, one of my favorite little brunch spots in Madison. Little is the key word, and family-style dining is the norm. The lines usually head out the door and seating for about 15 people is in high demand. Once we got our table, I devoured my breakfast tacos, and some of my husband's portabella omelet. Roasted sweet and red potatoes on the side added a nice touch of sweet and salt.

Despite all of the delicious food I managed to sample at restaurants around Mad-town, one of my favorite birthday meals was the delicious spread of Indian food that my neighbor piled on her table. Okay, so this was not exactly for my birthday, but I am lucky that Diwali, the Hindu Festival of Lights, happened to coincide with my birthday. The vegetarian spread included about five chutneys (including my own green tomato-chutney), saffron rice, dal, homemade paneer, saag, and eggplant stew. We finished off the meal with a great cardamon-coconut layer cake.

While I enjoyed eating out, and lessening the kitchen mess, what I most treasured was sharing these meals with my family and friends. I think that is what I love about cooking at home—I cook from my heart and share my food with people I love. As David Tanis, co-chef at Chez Panisse so eloquently states in his book, A Platter of Figs, “...the overriding mood of friends at the table still trumps a bad—or just okay—restaurant meal. I'd rather go to a friend's house for dinner. But, really, I'd rather eat at home.”


Amy said...

I'm glad you had such a wonderful birthday week. The food you describe is mouth watering. Someday your words are going to get me cooking again.

My Little Space said...

Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday to Othelia
Happy Birthday to you
Wishing you the very best & may many more happy returns.
Blessings, Kristy

Otehlia said...