The Best Porcini Mushroom Risotto, Period.

I am breaking one of my own rules, and I don’t care.

I have always said I would not claim something as “the best I ever ate” if I had not tried enough of a particular food to compare.

Scratch that.  For now, at least.

This past week, I had the opportunity to try a local Italian restaurant in Ft. Lauderdale, Casa D’ Angelo.  I have wanted to try this place for a while now, but it is pretty pricey and shocking, not in my current budget.  What do you do when you really want to try a restaurant and can’t afford it?  You wait for your family to take you there.

I had family visiting from NY who suggested we all go to Casa D’ Angelo for dinner.  That’s right, I didn’t even have to debate internally whether it was rude of me to pick such an expensive restaurant because they picked it themselves.  Amazing.  The food here was so good and so authentic Italian, as judged by my relatives from Italy, that we ended up going back AGAIN before they left.  I seriously hit the food lottery that week.

One of the main persuasive forces of returning a second time was this risotto.

Mushroom Risotto at Casa de Angelo

Mushroom Risotto at Casa de Angelo

I ordered it on a whim as an appetizer for my boyfriend and I because I have never had a truly authentic risotto, and I certainly don’t have the time or willingness to add 5 sticks of butter to make this on my own.  I don’t care that I have not tried other risottos, and I don’t care that this is one of the least photogenic dishes ever- this risotto was pure heaven.  The truffle oil and porcini mushrooms added just the right amount of flavor on top of the divine creaminess of the cheese and other goodness in here.  The rice itself was perfectly al dente.  My hard to impossible to please Italian grandmother raved about this risotto.  This was seriously one of my favorite appetizers from a restaurant ever.  You can also order it as an entree, but I think the appetizer portion was plenty satisfying.

If you are ever in Ft. Lauderdale and looking for the best Italian food, go to Casa D’Angelo.  Order this risotto whether or not it is on the menu that day.  Somehow.

Every other part of my dining experience was delicious and blog-worthy as well.

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I ordered the linguine positano as my entree, which is linguine with shrimp sauteed in white wine, with garlic, fresh tomato, and arugula.  I thought this dish was phenomenal- fresh, simple yet flavorful, and filling.  The shrimp were a bit on the firm side, but I suppose that is better than overly cooked, rubbery shrimp.

So, my recommendations to you all:  1. Plan a trip to Ft. Lauderdale, if you don’t live nearby.  2. Invite family to cover the bill (joking, kind of.) 3. Demand to try the mushroom risotto. 4. Order anything else as an entree 5. Drink wine to enhance good time and better tolerate family and 6. Pass out in food coma.

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One Sweet Day

I hope everyone had a great Valentines Day yesterday.  Whether single or with someone, it’s a great excuse to eat chocolate and drink wine!

We split Valentines into two nights, with Ryan taking me out for a nice dinner last night and Sunday night I will be cooking him a dinner.  What I’m making Sunday was intended to be a surprise but he already knows what it is, so I will just have to keep it as a surprise for you guys.  Can’t spoil a good blog post, can we?

Last night we went out to Mortons Steakhouse for a special dinner and oh my gosh were we blown away.  We had only been one time before, but we each ordered the same thing as last time because it is that good.  Ryan got the 12 oz. filet and I got the shrimp alexander.  In case you are wondering what type of  crazy goes to Mortons and doesn’t order steak, it’s me!  For those of you who haven’t noticed, I don’t eat red meat.  Not to worry- Ryan will be guest blogging on here for all of this blogs meat needs.

Back to this shrimp alexander.  Before attempting to describe something so heavenly, I’ll give you  a visual.

Morton's Shrimp Alexander

Morton’s Shrimp Alexander

I hope you all appreciate the picture because honestly, it is a little embarrassing to snap a picture of your meal at a very nice restaurant, especially when everyone around you is on an intimate date.  I think this should be an initiation act for rookie food-bloggers .  I feel more official now ;)

Now, my attempt at giving this amazing dish a description.  These large, succulent shrimp are wonderfully breaded (don’t believe they’re fried, not sure though) in the most perfect mix of seasoned bread crumbs.  The real out-of-this-world part is the sauce.  Now, normally I am not a “sauce girl”.  I feel sauces usually just add empty and unnecessary calories to a dish that already tastes great.  So, if I am raving about a sauce/dip and practically slurping it up (i.e. this tzatiki sauce), you know it is awesome.  The sauce is a Beurre Blanc sauce- a wine and butter mixture- that is heaven to your mouth.  It is buttery and creamy without tasting too rich, and it pairs with the breaded shrimp beautifully.

Ultimately, this shrimp was so amazing that I can say without a doubt it is the best shrimp I have ever had.  Therefore, I will most definitely be adding this to my “Best Thing I Ever Ate” page.  And for those of you who would love to try this dish on a special night out at Mortons but can’t bear the thought of not getting a steak- worry not!  This dish is available as an appetizer!  But I warn you- an appetizer portion of this will be nothing more than a tease to your tastebuds.

I do have to mention that, surprisingly, the side dishes and desserts at Morton’s do not overly impress me (for $12 a pop).  We tried the potatoes au gratin (which has bacon although not stated on the menu- annoyance #1), the truffle fries (good but can get elsewhere), and the chocolate soufflé (good but can get elsewhere).  In my opinion, you go to Morton’s for the entrees, plain and simple.

I know some feel Valentine’s Day is a silly, commercialized holiday, but I am a sucker for it.  Even though we should treat our loved ones special every day of the year, realistically life gets busy and stressful and that doesn’t always happen as intended.  Valentine’s Day is a good reminder to relax, appreciate the important ones in your life (significant other, parents, friends, pets, yourself), and most important of all, eat chocolate and drink wine!

My Valentine & I (photo not taken on Vday)

My Valentine & I (photo not taken on Vday)

All my favorites

All my favorites

How sweet was it of Ryan to get me all my favorite candy.  Can you tell I like “red” flavors?  And dogs?

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Misha's Black Bottom Cupcake

Misha’s Black Bottom Cupcake

And no occasion would be complete without Misha’s Cupcakes (read about my obsession here).  We finally branched out and tried some new flavors.  This one is is a black bottom: chocolate cheesecake cupcake with buttercream frosting.  Yum.

Now that is what I call one sweet day!

How did you all spend your Valentines Day?  What delicious treats did you eat?

Fried Mac n Cheese: What Heaven Tastes Like

I wouldn’t normally be one to blog about a dish from a run-of-the-mill chain restaurant such as the Cheesecake Factory, but I have the itch to blog and this appetizer was a-maz-ing.

What brought us into the Cheesecake Factory in the first place was the fact that we had a $75 gift certificate from the holidays to use and a free slice of cheesecake (admit it- their cheesecake is to die for).

Fried Mac n Cheese

Fried Mac n Cheese

We started off with this fried mac and cheese appetizer that was seriously delicious.  The fried portion was perfectly crispy and seasoned, and the inside was ooey and gooey macaroni and cheese.  Not questionable cheese filling with a piece of pasta, but actual macaroni and cheese that would have been awesome on its own.  Equally as delectable was the sauce served on the bottom of the plate.  The best way to describe the sauce is creamy tomato sauce meets romesco sauce.

Our entrees were ok but nothing to write home about.  Our cheesecake of choice was the Oreo cheesecake which is not pictured because it wasn’t around long enough to capture a photograph :)

I highly recommend that the next time you are in the mood for a drinks and appetizer type night with your friends or hunny, hit up the Cheesecake Factory and order t0 this fried Mac and Cheese.  We have $10 left on our gift card (don’t you love it when that happens),and our plans literally include a return trip for Fried Mac n Cheese and wine.  And maybe cheesecake…

We all know that chain restaurants are not quite as exciting as home cooked meals or fancy dinners out, or even hole-in-the-wall foodie finds, but sometimes we just end up at one of these places for a meal and are pleasantly surprised.  Similar story? Share!