Lannae's Food and Travel

I hope you like my food and travel blog.

April 13, 2014

Dining Out for Life April 22

Dining Out for Life, Tuesday April 22, 2014

615-401-9316



 Please come join me for the event Dining Out for Life on Tuesday April 22, 2014 at  the one and only Salsa Restaurant, Nashville's only authentic Puerto Rican restaurant.  All you have to do is eat and drink like you would normally, pay your bill like normal (No Extra Cost!), and Salsa will donate 30% of your total bill to Dining Out for Life!  It is that easy, you do what you  normally do, and Salsa Restaurant does the rest!

I will be at Salsa next week, between 6:30 pm - 9 pm on Tuesday April 22, 2014. Stop by and say hello to me.  Stop in and get a drink at the cool bar. Stop and have dinner with me!  Come yourself, come with friends, enjoy the evening of Puerto Rican cuisine, and know that nearly a third of what you are spending normally is going directly to Dining Out for Life - Nashville Cares.  You can make your reservations by calling Salsa, or by getting onto Open Table.


 Juan Reyes, Executive Chef and Manager of Salsa come from many years at a 5-star restaurant in Puerto Rico.  He decided to pack up his family and bring them to the family oriented Middle Tennessee area, and to lead the way with the first Nashville Puerto Rican restaurant.  Puerto Rican food is not heavily spiced, rather it is a straight forward approach of letting the base ingredients speak for themselves.  The tostones and mofongo are prepared correctly.  Both start out with plantains.  Tostones are twice fried plantain, like a potato is to a Belgian frite.  The very green plantain is cubed and fried 1/2 way, then taken out of the hot oil, smashed into a disk and then allowed to fry to completion.  A little salt is sprinkled on top to finish the tostones. Mofongo also starts out with green plantains, and fried and mashed together to create dish similar to our mashed potatoes, but the plantain has more of a vegetable flavor, and a denser texture.  Mofongo is served as is, not even black pepper sprinkled.  If you want pepper, go ahead and put it on, but Puerto Rican mofongo is a straight forward comfort food that does not traditionally have black pepper in it. 

Popular dishes at Salsa include Carne Frita and the Pastelon de Amarillos.  Carne Frita is pan fried pork with a demi-glace onion sauce with goes quite well with mofongo.  The Pastelon de Amarillos is a Puerto Rican version of a beef and sweet plantain lasagana.  Some of my favorites is the fish sandwich.  The fish is not frozen, and is hand battered and deep fried to order.  I also enjoyed the Ropa Vieja which is a grilled flank steak with savory spices.  What I really like about Puerto Rican food is that it is straight forward letting the ingredients come through, and not weighed down with heavy seasoning, salt or chilies.  
 
Come join me on April 22, 2014 at Salsa for dinner, and enjoy some great Puerto Rican food, while about a third of your dining dollars gets contributed to Dining Out for Life - Nashville Cares.



Dining Out for Life is an annual event in Nashville, and many cities around the USA.  There are 77 participating restaurants in the Nashville area, and these restaurants are pledging to give 30% - 100% of the "take" for the day/evening to Dining Out for Life.  100% of the restaurants contributions the Dining Out for Life event on Tuesday April 22, 2014 will go to Nashville Cares, a non-profit, 501(c)3 organization.  Nashville Cares has been around for almost 30 years, providing support, education, awareness, prevention efforts, and direct services for the community at large, Middle Tennesseans with or friends and family of loved ones with HIV/AIDS.  It is so easy to support Dining Out for Life and Nashville Cares by dining out on Tuesday April 22, 2014.  If you can't make to dinner with me on Tuesday April 22, please consider dining out at one of the other 76 participating restaurants around Nashville.  The Dining Out for Life restaurant list is here.  If you are deciding to dine out the week of April 22nd, please consider dining out on April 22nd at a participating restaurant.

Thank you and bon apetit!

April 8, 2014

Southern Breakfast

615-724-1762

  

 The Southern Steak and Oyster is a hot spot for dinner, but did you know it is also a great place for breakfast too!  Monday through Friday starting at 7:30 a.m., there is breakfast, and I mean really good breakfast.  On the menu are eggs, grits, biscuits, toast, chicken and waffles, omelets, steak and eggs, pancakes, granola, fruit, bacon, sausage and more.  The Nashville Food Bloggers were invited to try some breakfast, and I was so pleasantly surprised.  I had fruit, biscuit, eggs, bacon, grits and coffee for my breakfast.  Everything was cooked they way they should be cooked.  The scrambled  local farm eggs were light, the applewood bacon was just crispy, and  the grits were smooth. 

If it were me coming to Nashville for a conference at the convention center, I would come to the Southern Steak and Oyster for breakfast, and have a proper, civilized, sit-down breakfast.  If it were me, and it could be me, and I need to have a breakfast meeting, I would come to the Southern Steak and Oyster for Breakfast.  There is something for everyone.  A really nice thing about breakfast meetings at the Southern is that there is a lot of parking right next door in the Pinnacle Building's parking garage.  Just park, and get your ticket validated by the hostess.  No fuss-no muss.  It is that easy.  Anyone who has been in Nashville knows that there is only some street parking, 10 min/$0.25, so when you can get free validated parking, it is so worth making plans around the parking.


So, as I did my research, I learned that The Southern Steak and Oyster is owned by the same folks who bought the Loveless Cafe (a breakfast and biscuit icon in Nashville), Saffire (a leading date night restaurant in Franklin) and TomKats Catering  (one of the top caterers in Nashville, and emergency response).  Some years ago the Loveless Cafe was a bet thread bare, and worn out.  TomKats bought the Loveless Cafe and breathed new life into the icon, cleaned it up, and made it a destination again, all the whilst keeping the tradition of the Loveless Cafe we all love and enjoy. Saffire is always a nice place to go for dinner, as it is in the historic Factory in Franklin.  The old Magic Chef stove company building was renovated and re-purposed as cool retail non-mall spot, with Saffire as one of the early restaurants in the building.

And, coming up to join TomKats is Acme Feed and Seed.  It was sad to see Acme Feed and Seed close its doors, as it was the one last holdout downtown to remind Nashville of its rich growing region roots.  Up until the Acme Feed and Seed closed, you could still bring your cat for a free flea dip once per  year! But now, TomKats is going to preserve the Acme Feed and Seed building and re-purpose it into a Broadway 4 option destination.   The 1st floor is going to have a honky tonk bar and food, so regulars and Nashville visitors alike can have a nice lunch in the heart of the city.  The 2nd floor is going to be a place to get signature drink and a place to relax and maybe catch the latest game on TV.  The 3rd floor is going to be event space.  And the best for last, the roof top patio will offer the best views of Broadway, downtown, the Cumberland River, the Stadium and Shelby Street Bridge.  It will be breathtaking and the roof top will be available for functions and rentals.  

I really like the TomKats restaurants so far, and I am looking forward to Acme Feed and Seed. 

April 5, 2014

Tandy Inspired


City House has been open for 6 years, and for 6 years, Chef/Owner Tandy Wilson has been nominated for the James Beard Best Chef Southeast Award.  Tandy's style is to use as many locally sourced ingredients, use as much of the ingredient as possible and make it delicious, and use some old world techniques to cook food.  One thing I learned from Tandy is that pasta sauce does not have to look like a red tomato sauce out of a jar.  Pasta sauces can be gravy, stew, lemony, veggies without tomato,  and of course tomato. 

Today, I wanted to make a Tandy style pasta sauce and use up ingredients I put up in the freezer or dried from summer and fall.  I dried my organic cayenne, so I pulled one out of the jar.  Last fall, I make herb ice cubes to  use in soups and stews, so I pulled out 2 garlic scape cubes, 2 basil cubes, and 2 scallion cubes.  I froze purple-eyed peas last summer, and pulled them out.  Last summer, I cooked up tomatoes, peppers, onions, and carrots and pureed them into a sauce and put that sauce in quart containers in the freezer, so I pulled out one of those quarts.  I go to Lazzaroli's pasta, and get lots of pasta and freeze it.  I pulled out a box of fettuccine.  I got the 1/2 consumed red wine bottle from earlier in the week.   I pulled out my last sleeve of Emerald Glen pork sausage, made from hormone-free, antibiotic-free, free range hogs.  Emerald Glen sausage was really special because of the type of fat you can only get from foraging hogs.  This may have been the last Emerald Glen sausage because Emerald Glen Farm had to close its sales at the farmer's market due to some family health issues.  I have been hoarding this last sleeve since I bought it from Emerald Glen Farm on their last day of sales.  I had a reminder of how wonderfully savory, meaty, and luscious this sausage is.  I have a couple more servings left, and I will savor every last bite.  One day, I hope family health returns to Emerald Glen, and we can enjoy such lovely sausage again. 

My pasta and pork sauce was so good.  The ingredients were all local, and they all were exceptional in flavor.  I just really enjoyed this dish so much.  Here is the recipe:

Ingredients
1 lb fettuccine (or your preferred pasta)
1 lb pork breakfast sausage (or turkey or chicken breakfast sausage, or soysage)
1 quart tomato (and veggies) sauce
2 ice cubes garlic scapes (or 2 cloves garlic minced)
2 ice cubes scallions (or 2 scallions thinly sliced)
2 ice cubes basil (or big handful basil thinly sliced)
1 heaping cup purple eyed peas (or 1 can black eyed peas rinsed well)
1 cayenne minced (couple shakes of red pepper flakes)
1/2 - 1 cup red wine
salt to taste

Method
1.  In heavy sauce pan, put tomato sauce, garlic, scallions, basil, peas, cayenne and wine over medium heat.  Let come to a stiff simmer (small bubbling).
2.  Saute sausage in a pan until it is crumbled.  If it s fatty, when it is cooked through, drain most of the fat. 
3.  Add the sausage to the sauce, and simmer.
4.  Taste the sauce when it is done,  and then add salt accordingly.
5.  Boil up the pasta to al dente.
6.  Drain the pasta.
7.  Combine the sauce and pasta.
Enjoy!

I just happened to have all these local ingredients, and fresh made pasta on hand, but this dish can be made with conventional foods from the everyday grocery store too.   Tomato sauce (plain in a can) would be awesome in this dish.  I just happened to have frozen some tomato sauce, so I used that.  And, the sausage needs to be a breakfast sausage variety (not Italian flavored), whether it is pork, fowl, or vegan.  There is a local maker of soysage, a breakfast style and it is sold at the Produce Place, that would be good in this dish too, and it would be egg-vegetarian (eggs in the pasta).  I don't make soysage because it is just a lot of work for me, and I can go to the Produce Place and buy a reasonably priced soysage that is already made.  Using Trader Joe's organic brown rice pasta (vegan) and the soysage can make this meal completely vegan.  And, using Trader Joe's organic brown rice pasta is gluten-free, so this dish can be made gluten-free.  This is a versatile recipe for many dietary requirements.  I haven't tried it yet, but I am thinking the sauce would be really good with a large grain like large farro or large quinoa.  I will have to try that sometime.

March 30, 2014

The Starfish Throwers

As some of you know, I am interested in many food related things, including great recipes, great restaurants, great food fundraising events, films about food, independent films about food, hunger issues, and basic human rights when it comes to food.  There is a this really nice documentary, The Starfish Throwers, coming the Nashville Film Festival which showcases three global leaders doing great things to help end hunger/starvation one person at a time... and then it has grown to whole communities.  There is a retired teacher in MN who has been serving his neighborhood  for decades - 365 days per year.  There is a top chef in India who dedicates his culinary skills to feed the "untouchables" breakfast, lunch and dinner every single day.  There was is a young girl at the age of 9 who feed 275 people from her garden, and then she has grown more and more gardens feeding more and more people.  When you watch this movie, you will love the three global leaders, and you will see the face of hunger/starvation with renewed compassion.  I promise you, you will feel really good seeing these 3 hero's stories, and you will want to root for them.


THE STARFISH THROWERS // Project Teaser #1 from Jesse Roesler on Vimeo.

For Nashville, here are the details for viewing this heartwarming and hopeful film, you can see it right here at the Nashville Film Festival:


I am planning on going to the April 19th viewing.  Come join me and get that warm, feel-good feeling like I will have while watching this film.


For folks living elsewhere, check out The Starfish Thrower's website for upcoming screening dates.

March 20, 2014

Avocado Chickpea Salad


OK, here is a really yumm-o chickpea salad, and it is so easy. 
I can't stop eating it!
It is a ratio of 1 of everything

1 15 oz can of chickpeas (rinsed well)
1 avocado diced
1 clove of garlic finely minced
1 handful of Italian parsley rough chopped
1 lime zested and juiced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 shallot small diced
1 pinch red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste

Method:
1. stir together garlic, lime zest, lime juice, olive oil, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper
2.  stir in chickpeas and cover well
3.  stir in parsley and shallot
4. stir in avocado
5. ENJOY!


March 16, 2014

Kitchen Notes



fresh biscuits

The Omni Hotel in Nashville opened up last year, and it brought four food and beverage venues with it:  Bob's Steak, Barlines, Bongo Java, and Kitchen Notes.  Bongo Java is a locally owned coffee shop which is my favorite coffee shop in Nashville, and now Bongo Java has a bright nice and new location downtown.  Bongo Java is owned by Bongo Bob, who strives to provide fair trade coffee, and good wholesome baked goods.  Bongo Java delivers just a straight forward cup of coffee (I like just a basic large cup of coffee) as well as foam, no foam, soy, milk, almond, flavored, no flavor, espresso, drip, press coffee.  The way you want your coffee in cup sizes you know (small, medium and large), Bongo will deliver.   I hope the guests of the Omni Hotel enjoy this coffee as much as I do.  I applaud the Omni for choosing a local fair trade coffee shop to represent their coffee option, rather than some generic ubiquitous green and white coffee option.

meatloaf

I was invited to a Nashville Food Bloggers party at Kitchen Notes last month.  I was a little skeptical because some hotel restaurants are (woof woof), but I was pleasantly surprised about Kitchen Notes.  The biscuits, service, main course and dessert was very tasty.  I am always a bit wary of hotel restaurants, as many of them just stink because they cater to a captive audience (so they can still serve crap and people will have to buy it anyway or starve), but there is no reason to wary or leery of Kitchen Notes at the Omni Nashville.  On this Nashville Food Bloggers party, we got to try all sorts of biscuits and jams to top them, bacon and bison meatloaf with mashed potatoes and creamy kale, and sour cherry tarts.

Biscuits in Nashville are a tough business because there are a few places that are just SO GOOD at biscuits, and one might as well not compete unless one can bring it on.   The Omni Nashville decided to "bring it".  They have a biscuit bar in Kitchen Notes with all sorts of biscuits including plain, cherry, cheesy, jalapeno, maple bacon and more!  I was able to have a plain and a jalapeno, and both were really good.  The biscuits were warm, fresh, fluffy on the inside, and just golden crispy on the outside.  These biscuits are really good.  The Nashville Food Bloggers universally enjoyed the biscuits at the party.    


cherry pie

The main course that I liked was the bison meatloaf with bacon in it.  I am guessing the bison has less fat than beef or pork, so the chef had to add fat to it, so bacon and bacon fat it is.  On this the bison meatloaf came with mashed potatoes and creamed kale.  Kale is abundant here in Middle Tennessee all winter long.  If the doctor says eat more leafy greens, and it winter, you bet your bottom dollar that you can get kale.  Kale is a hearty winter green, and can be used in many ways, kale salad, kale saute, kale juice and creamed kale.  2 winters ago, trying to eat only local veggies through the winter, I probably ate pounds of kale every week.  I am still burnt out by kale, but that did not stop me from enjoying the creamed kale at Kitchen Notes.  I have never had creamed kale before, and never thought to do that.  I learned something new, so next winter I may try my hand at creaming some kale.

For dessert, we had a choice of mockingbird cake or sour cherry pie.  As one who actually dislikes cake (I know, weird but true), I opted for the sour cherry pie.  I loved it.  I liked the top crispy lattice crust.  I liked the sour cherry filling.  I liked the crust and filling together.  I was so full before dessert came, but I managed to eat my cherry pie anyway :).

Then, after dessert, we went over to Barlines, the honky tonk style bar at the hotel.  It is big and roomy, the stage has live music ever night, and there is a lot of whiskey to be had. I liked the bar too.  It is big, airy, and clean, and the bathrooms are nice too.  Not to say that some of the downtown older establishments aren't, but maybe the older establishments plumbing may have seen better days.  So this particular evening, the music was a little loud, so it was hard to chat.  Maybe it is good for conventioners who just want to sit with each other and not really carry on a conversation, cuz they are sick of each other (seeing each other day in and out).  But, taking to the bartender, she said they make their own mixers.  They do not use pre-made corn-syrupy stuff, they make their drinks from scratch.  I tried a honey lemon whiskey creation and it tasted fresh, with real lemon and honey (not corn syrup).  I did not drink too much of this tasty treat because I did have to pack it up and go to my car and drive home safely.

The next stop, which I have not tried yet at the Omni Nashville, is Bob's Steak and Chop House, only open for dinner.    Bob's is only open for dinner, and I am guessing that this may be a little more pricey than the other 3 options at the Omni Hotel.  When I do go, I will have to blog about it and let you know  how it is.

March 7, 2014

TN Flavors - Yum!

http://www.tnflavors.org/

I kind of don't want to tell anyone about this great 3rd annual event because it has felt like my little secret for the past 2 years.  This is such a great tasting event of local food and beverages, there is plenty of free parking, and proceeds go to scholarships.  But I am going to share this little secret event, Tennessee Flavors, a Nashville State Community College Randy Rayburn School of Culinary Arts tasting event that will rival many others.  There will be over 60 local restaurants, candy, and beverage makers offering tastings of their wares.  It is going to be a good time. 

Here is what you will need to know:

What:
Tennessee Flavors

When:
Thursday, March 13, 2014
5:30 – 8:30 pm

Where:
Nashville State Community College
120 White Bridge Road
Student Services building

Cost:
$50/person

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.tnflavors.org or call the Nashville State Community College Foundation at 615-353-3222.

Here are some photos I took from last year, there was some really yummy yums to be had.  Enjoy!


March 2, 2014

Jim's Steaks


the sign

Many weeks ago, I was scheduled to be in Phila, PA for one full day of meetings in Mid-February, and then come right home.  Many weeks ago, I reminded the project team that I used to live in Phila, and year after year, the 2nd week of February always has a major snow storm, and I did not want to rent a car and drive, and possibly reschedule for April.  One project team member (southerner) cavalierly stated that she WANTED it to snow - tempting fate, and implied that I was wimp for not wanting to drive in snow.  Well, I have lived in Nashville for 15 years, and I am a southerner now, and I forgot what it is like to drive in snow. Anyway, it turns out, we did fly into our meeting, she got her wish and Phila got record breaking snow and she all of a sudden had a change of heart about driving in snow, and our flight home was cancelled for 3 days because the Phila airport need to de-snow and de-ice.  She was really irritated, and I could not be happier because I now had time to visit some of my favorite restaurants in Phila.

the bread - Amoroso

An old haunt of mine was Jim's Cheesesteaks on South St.  When I lived in Phila, South St was the place to go to the bars, restaurants, culinary shops, trinket shops, to the Theater of the Living Arts, and Jim's Cheesesteaks.  Jim's used to have a line out the door, and it was standing room only to eat these things.  Now, South St looks as if it has fallen on "hard times".  All the awesome shops are gone, and it looks more like prostitutes and druggies have taken over.  But, what still is there, is Jim's Cheesesteaks serving up traditional cheesesteaks to the tourists and locals alike.  Going into Jim's seems to suspend disbelief, it felt fine inside, it was not druggie infest inside - rather it was a lot of tourist and people stuck in the city for the night, and short order cook line is the same as it ever was.  The best part is that now that South St is not the "it" spot in Phila anymore, it seems to have alleviated that extreme long lines Jim's use to have.  There was a line on the night we went, but it was quite manageable, and we got our meals within few minutes.

the cheesesteak

On this record breaking snowy evening, I got my usual, which is a cheesesteak with provolone, onions and mushrooms.  The traditional way to get a cheesesteak is with cheese whiz, but I never prescribed to whiz orange food product, I always got provolone. I also liked fried onions.  Jim's chops the steak, rather than leaving it in long tough slices.  I prefer the chopped steak because it is easier to take a bite of the sandwich.  Geno's leaves the steak in long tough slices, so when you bite into the sandwich, a long strand of steak comes out and flops on your chin, drips grease on your shirt, and it is a bit of disaster with steak to bread bite ratios as you go along.  I like Jim's for chopping the steak and when you take a bite of Jim's cheesesteak, you get the perfect proportion of steak, cheese and bread every time.

I really like Jim's because of the Amoroso rolls used to make the sandwich, and mostly it is about the bread when it comes to a cheesesteak.  Amoroso rolls, I dreamt about for years after I moved to Nashville.  I stopped eating sub/hoagie sandwiches in Nashville because there wasn't  good bread like Amoroso rolls.  Amoroso rolls have this magical thin crispy crust that has a smooth texture on the outside which I adore.  The center is light weight, but sturdy to hold a whole cheesesteak, and it is not dense or doughy like so many fakes.  Amoroso rolls, how I have missed you so.  There is no substitute for the Amoroso rolls when it comes to cheesesteaks.  Once you have a cheesesteak on an Amoroso roll, it kind of ruins it for all the imitations.  I only enjoy eating cheesesteaks on real Amoroso rolls, the perfect bread for cheesesteaks.

Had we not gotten snowed in to Phila, I would not have gotten this treat.  Oh Phila Cheesesteak and Amoroso rolls, how I have missed you.  I look forward to seeing you again soon, in better weather.

December 13, 2013

Making Cookies

Ever wonder how to make the perfect cookie that you love?  Well here it is.  TED-Ed Stephanie Warren explains how cookie chemistry and physics will make the cookie you want. Brilliant.


December 1, 2013

Prep Kitchen Del Mar



Breaking bread with old friends has to be one of the greats pleasures in my life.  I love sitting around the table, eating, drinking, and chatting with old friends.  There are some old friends from high school and college, who I adore, and still love to break bread with them.  Back in the school days, we were poor students, and all we really had to offer was good conversation, and time to try to "solve all the world's problems."  Most of those old friends I do not get to see too often, but when we do, we pick up our conversations where we left off the last time.  Then there are some older friends from grammar school, who I really do not get to see because I left the West Coast, and most of them stayed West, and I do not get out there much.  There is one dear friend, my longest continuously running friends, who I just adore, and have not seen in a very very long time.  Over the years, we kept in touch during spring breaks (I would spring break in CA and she would family vacation in Boston), we call every once in a while by phone, and we hand wrote letters before email, text and facebook (for you kiddos out there, letters are like long text messages written on paper, and you take the paper to the post office, and the post office is like your cell phone and delivers your message).  Not so long ago, we even had a virtual exercise club with a few women friends were running marathon and the like, and we would check in every week and chat about our successes.

Then last year I read this article in The Guardian, and lists the top 5 regrets the dying, of which one is, "I wish I stayed in touch with my friends."   My old grammar school friend, who I met really early on, is in San Diego, and it was time for me to see her in person, and really  stay connected with her.    

braised and glazed pork belly and pickled veggies
For our first meal together, we decided on the Prep Kitchen in  Del Mar.  The Prep Kitchen Del Mar just opened a couple months earlier, and it is known for good local organic ingredients, casual atmosphere, and great views of the Pacific Ocean.  The Prep Kitchen Del Mar seems to have more seating outside than inside because the weather is always nice in S.D.  Sitting outside (sort of) reminded me having grammar school lunch with my old pal.  Our school did not have indoor seating, only outdoor.  When the weather is perfect, why would you want to lunch inside?  Also it was fairly easy for the custodial staff to hose off the benches, and be ready for the next day.  As we sat outside, we had a lovely view of the Pacific Ocean.  Del Mar is so chilled out, that it is really nice and sweet to sit at the Prep Kitchen and enjoy the view with my old buddy.  

We ordered a bunch of stuff.  We got a home made pasta dish, Niman's Ranch pork chop,  braised pork belly, salad, and octopus.  We shared, tasted and chatted.  The Niman's Ranch pork was outstanding, moist, flavorful and hormone free.  The pork belly by definition is a fatty cut of pork, so the local pickled veggies was a perfect match to help lighten up the pork fat.  Also there was a sweet glaze on the pork, which also paired well with the sour crunch veggies.  The fresh made pasta was wonderful with a pork sauce which had a delicious umami gravy quality to it.  Here in Nashville, there is the best tender octopus ever made right here at City House, and Tandy Wilson told me the trick to cooking tender octopus and it is time and other braising ingredients.  I like Tandy's preparatin which is braised and then wood oven finished to crisp up the outside, and then usually served with some mild tasting beans or peas, so the octopus flavor is not overwhelmed.  When I got the octopus at Prep Kitchen, it is grilled octopus which was way chewier than I am used to, but I like octopus tender or not.  Also, the octopus came with a fairly heavily flavored dried chorizo sauce.  The heavy sauce is not what I am used to either.  With the other heavier dishes, braised pork belly, pork chop and pasta, I was hoping the octopus would be a lighter seafood dish.  The octopus had a nice flavor, but probably was not the best choice with the other dishes we ordered for the table.   Next time, and I hope there is a next time, we will order more lighter dishes to pair better with the heavier ones.

The evening was getting on, and my friend had to get ready to work the next morning, so we called it a night.  It was nice to catch up.  It was nice to dine and break bread with my oldest friend.  It was nice to hear about her family, and how they are doing.  I look forward to the next time we get to break bread.