Monday, December 21, 2009

Fresh pasta is pregnant woman's best friend...

...particularly when it's someone else making it for you!

Anyhoo, I've been keeping up with Nicole's progress since she's just a few weeks ahead of me. Baby Warren decided to hang in there for the full term, but finally arrived last week. What a precious baby! Congratulations!

I'm now at 33 weeks and at 32 weeks, I got hit with the double whammy of edema and major acid reflux. I've been cruising along for so long with only hip pain and vanity issues. But now I have to dramatically change what I eat--cut back on salt and cut out citrus, tomatoes, chocolate, and more. But those are the most important. The tomato is the staple of my diet.

I discovered my new issues after visiting my favorite Indian restaurant, Woodlands last week for what will probably be the last time for several months. Onions and tomatoes--not the best friends of a third trimester pregnant woman. Dinner was delicious, though. And by Thursday evening? I'd taken off my shoes and noted my socks looked funny. But then I took off my socks to reveal ankles that looked as if they had tumors. They'd swollen around the opening of my shoe. Fantastic.

So on Thursday, I was trying to figure out what was going to get me through the next 6-8 weeks. And it occurred to me: pasta. But not just any ol' pasta. I was finally going to get some Lazzaroli's pasta. Others have raved about it, so I was finally going to make my way to Germantown and get some for myself.

Lazzaroli's is a little market that's actually not far from the Farmer's Market. And for so long, I thought it was hard to get to! Not so. But you don't let size fool you. Tom's got a lot of stuff in there. It was great to chat with him, but I kept getting distracted by all of the great items he sells aside from the pasta. June Taylor jams, the full line of Olive and Sinclair chocolate bars, Silke's breads, and a large collection of fine oils and other kitchen essentials.

Though I picked up some marmalade and chocolate, I was there for the pasta. I got a pound of fresh fettucine and a pound of frozen shiitake mushroom and fontina ravioli (there are two cases--one fresh, one frozen). I also picked up some of Lazzaroli's roasted pepper cream sauce as it sounded like something my poor little body could handle.

So I got home with my bag of goodies and cooked up a batch of fettucine. I wasn't ready yet to take any chances, so I just poured on some good olive oil and a touch of truffle oil and shaved parmigiano (and, okay, a pinch of fleur de sel) and sat down for dinner. Delicious. There is nothing like a really good, fresh egg pasta. Mother and baby both enjoyed dinner immensely (as we were both able to sleep).

So, Friday, I took some leftover noodles with the roasted pepper sauce on them for lunch. It's not the best way to enjoy fresh pasta, but they held up remarkably well to the abuse. And that sauce has a great flavor. And didn't hurt my stomach.

Anyway, I have a feeling that Tom's going to be seeing a lot more of me, particularly until I can get around to making my own pasta again. And I've spread the word to some of my Yankee Italian co-workers, too. They're very happy to know that they can have pasta here after all!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Wild Cow--now almost, kinda open

I just saw on Twitter that though they're still working on the final paperwork and other little things to get going, The Wild Cow will be open starting tonight to sell gluten-free cookies and muffins!

Their Grand Opening is Saturday night, December 12. Ten dollars gets you into the party for all you can eat samples from the menu and a nice libation; 75% of the money will go to the East Nashville Community Action Network. Sadly, I'll miss the festivities (baby shower in Memphis!), but I'm sure there will be a great turnout. I know a lot of people have eagerly anticipated their opening.

Anyhoo, they're at 1896 Eastland Avenue right across from Rosepepper. I hope to visit soon.

Note: Technically, the wild cow does not exist due to hundreds of years of domestication for food and labor. Bison are technically bovines and do somewhat exist in the wild, but for the most part, "the wild cow" is a now-extinct creature.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Top Chef

The other night, we were watching the first part of the finale of Top Chef with Pregnant Padma trying to figure out if that poor woman had to host the show in her first trimester, I discovered that she's due either one month or two--depending on the report--after I'm due. I'm gonna say two. Though as I was gloating about how much bigger she was, I got to the news that she has endometriosis. Ooh, yikes. I definitely felt like a jerk then. Karma got me, though. My rear is now too large to fit in my pajamas. Unlike Padma, I'm not gaining weight all over; just in my mid-section. So I still have a thin face and stick arms and legs except for my thighs, hips and belly. I must look like something out of a cartoon. Nine (or less!) weeks to go!

Anyhoo, in order to celebrate the last few weeks of freedom, the Husband and I decided to take a short trip down to Atlanta to eat at a few Top Chef restaurants. Our number one goal was to visit Kevin Gillespie's Woodfire Grill. Sadly, we didn't plan this, oh, three months ago when we could have maybe gotten a Saturday night reservation. Our friends, however did get to go Friday night (at 10:30!) and had the tasting menu and reported back that it was just as good as one would expect. The husband is still disappointed we couldn't go. Interesting story, our server for dinner at Craft (see below) got a spot for 7pm Friday night when he called the restaurant on Thursday. So if you want to go and are flexible, keep trying and even call; I assume that a cancelled reservation came open.

Though we didn't get into Kevin's restaurant, we did go to Richard Blais's Flip Burger Boutique for lunch on Saturday. The most "Richard" thing about the restaurant is that the milkshakes are frozen with liquid nitrogen. The menu is impressive, though (for a burger joint). Hand cut french fries (delicious), homemade fried bread and butter pickles (a nice twist on a standard and incredibly tasty), a very savory and yummy mushroom patty burger and of course...milkshakes. The husband had the Krispy Kreme milkshake (very sweet and very good) and I had the pumpkin pie milkshake (so rich that even with help from the rest of the table, it didn't get finished).

Flip Interior

Krispy Kreme milkshake with the gases still burning off

Mushroom burger (ground mushrooms in a patty under a thin layer of swiss cheese; not a mushroom cap, thankfully)

A couple of things to note about Flip: it's popular at lunchtime. We got lucky and arrived just before noon and got a parking spot in the actual lot and got a table right away. But within 15 minutes, there was a line for a table despite the fact that a few warm-natured folks were dining outside (there is a nice patio). And if you think you'll be clever and send someone in ahead, Flip is one of those places that does not seat you until your entire group has arrived. The host was very pleasant about this; some aren't. Regardless, it would have been worth the wait. Those pickles! Two vegetarian burgers to choose from!

To continue our theme for dinner, we ate at Tom Colicchio's Craft Atlanta. My friend and I had been to Craft Bar in New York for brunch a couple of years ago, but this was our first experience for dinner.

My friends are all omnivores, but I knew that a restaurant like this would have something I could eat; something really good. But I'll get to the food in a moment. First things first is the's in the busiest part of Buckhead, right around the corner from the malls and is connected to a hotel. From the outside, it doesn't look like much, but once you step inside, you're greeted with the fire for the grill. The decor is heavy and dim (like a steakhouse) but modern. We were led upstairs, seated and greeted by about three different people. Frankly, I was confused as to who our server was for the first 15 minutes.

Our server was friendly and helpful, but mistaken in his assertion that side dishes and appetizers were "individually portioned." By the time we'd received all our food, our table was very crowded. So take note: any salad you get will easily feed four people as a first course and appetizers, two-three people. And most side dishes are enough for two people. And the entrees are huge, too. I think the Husband and my friend could have shared their braised shortrib...and maybe it wouldn't have gone cold by the time they finished (there was that much food!).

Regardless of those very slightly negative points, this dinner was amazingly good. I informed the server of a few preferences (the entree I'd seen on the website was not available) and I got one of the best pasta dishes ever...a fresh linguine (as in, they got the order and rolled out some pasta for me) in a mild butternut squash sauce topped with assorted roasted mushrooms (including my favorites--oyster and hen of the woods). I can still taste how good that pasta was. Spectacular. The omnivores agreed.

Along with the pasta, I had a nice arugula and pine nut salad and side dishes of yukon gold creamed potatoes, roasted sunchokes and a few bites of my friends' gnocchi. That was the first time the Husband and I had ever had sunchokes (the tuber of a certain type of sunflower and also known as Jerusalem artichoke) and I'm sad that we waited so long. They're delicious. I hope I can prepare them at home just as well. Also, the gnocchi...the Husband noted a difference in the taste and texture of the gnocchi and I sheepishly responded that it was because he'd never had fresh gnocchi. As in, I think those little guys were part of a whole potato less than a couple of hours before we ate them. Wow. Sadly, I was too full for dessert (and was not tempted by the scuppernong sorbet), but our friends got the dessert accompanied by the quince taste made me wish I had room for it. Delicate and delicious.

The grill

Wild Arugula Salad

Just half of the side dishes...

Probably the best pasta dish I've ever had in my life...

We wrapped up our trip with a fairly uninteresting brunch at a local hippie place (which is probably better for lunch proper--though to be fair, I think we all had food hangovers) and a trip to IKEA. My first trip to IKEA! The main draw was the baby stuff...three hours and $300 later, we emerged exhausted and with a four hour drive ahead of us. But the trip was totally worth it.

And now we have to go back sometime after the kidlet has arrived so the Husband can go to the Woodfire Grill. Not quite sure when that will be...wonder if they have high chairs...