Thursday, April 16, 2009

Birthday Celebrations and Wonderful Food

I wanted to share the meals that I ate in celebrating my birthday this year! Some were delicious, some not so much. And sorry, no pictures. I normally don't take pictures in restaurants because they don't look good and I would rather just enjoy the food without worrying about getting the perfect picture.

The birthday week started with a pizza party with some of my oldest friends. A casual dinner at my friend's house, ZPizza, Spinach, Cranberry, Walnut Salad and Strawberries with Fresh Whipped Cream and Biscuits with Chocolate. It was perfect, relaxing and delicious!

My friends treated me to a wonderful day at Burke-Williams spa and by the end of the day were were ravenous so we tried a new restaurant in Orange. Citrus City Grille is near the circle in downtown Orange. The olive bread was soft, just a touch of olives and was very good. We had a Cheese Plate with fruit, walnuts and beeswax honey and Crab Cakes. The meal started off great so I was excited for the main course. I ordered the Maine Scallops with Prosciutto, Asparagus Risotto and a Lemon White Wine Sauce. I thought it would be pretty light, not too heavy. When it arrived I could tell it had been sitting for awhile. Everything was lukewarm, risotto was very bland and mushy, asparagus cooked way too long, scallops were chewy and overcooked and the sauce was so rich and flavorless. I was so disappointed with the meal and my stomach was bothering me after the food that I couldn't even get dessert! But the week got better and the rest of the meals were wonderful!

I went to my parents for dinner and had one of the classics that I grew up with, Chicken Enchilada Casserole, Refried Beans, Rice and for dessert my moms famous Double Oreo Cookie Pie. Had a great time with the family and the food was just as good as I remember!

My husband and I tried a new restaurant in Long Beach that many friends have recommended. Fora, in Naples. They offer a 4-course tasting menu with wine flight for $57 (you can also get the tasting menu without the wine flight). One thing that I thought as I looked at the menu is that I would eat everything, there wasn't one item that I wouldn't eat and that says a lot! Fora did not disappoint!

Here is the menu rundown...

Starter of Olives and Marcona Almonds.

First Course: Duck Confit, Avocado wrapped with Smoked Salmon on a bed of French Lentils. Paired with a Pinot Grigio. An unexpected combination but completely delicious. Sweet, salty, creamy. And the Pinot was great as well.

Second Course: Arugula, Mache, Baby Romaine Salad with Pine Nuts, Beets, Cantal Cheese and Balsamic Reduction. Paired with a buttery Chardonnay. I love arugula, my husband loves pine nuts, we loved this salad. I even enjoyed the beets and I'm normally not a fan.

Main Course: Pan-Seared Halibut, Pepperonata, Sauteed Spinach, Polenta. Paired with Pinot Noir. Amazing! Simply Amazing! Halibut was perfectly cooked, and was delicious with the sides. I was getting very full by this time but didn't want to leave any food leftover!

Dessert: Trio of Desserts included Creme Brulee, Chocolate Pot de Creme, Berries. Paired with a bubbly wine. Good combination, good desserts.

I love celebrating with friends and family and sharing in good food!

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