Saturday, April 5, 2008

Another brick in the wall

In celebration of finally renting out my house, I've enjoyed some fine vegetarian dining the past two nights. (Compliments of CMHA.)

Thursday night I went to Melange at La Place in Beachwood for $5 martini night/jazz night. My companion and I were surprised to find the bar completely jam packed when we got there, so we sat at a table near where the North Coast Jazz Collective was playing. As a light-weight, I enjoyed only two martinis - the Espresso Martini and the Completely Apple. My friend had Irina's Choice (a lychee martini), attempted to drink a Strawberry Caipirinha (which tasted like anti-freeze so he sent it back), and then some other non-descript pink drink. And by non-descript, I don't mean bad. It was tasty...but due to the jazz ensemble being so loud, I have no idea of what my friend actually ordered. As a carb connoisseur, I enjoyed the bread that was brought to the table along with an olive tapenade, an herbed butter spread, and a balsamic vinegar/oil mix. Realizing that drinking martinis on an empty stomach and then driving home is a bad idea, we decided to order dinner. I enjoyed the Mediterranean Salad - a traditional mix of greens, kalamata olives, feta cheese, and a garlic vinaigrette. My dinner partner enjoyed the pasta of the day - a linguine pasta with rock shrimp in a pesto sauce. I enjoyed my salad (although I think it's pretty difficult to mess up a salad) and although I didn't try it, my friend's pasta looked, and according to his testimonial, tasted great. Speaking of food, Melange has a new menu that will go into effect on Monday, April 7. I took a sneak peek at it and it has multiple vegetarian options. Hooray!

On Friday, I went to Maggiano's at Beachwood Place. My boyfriend and I started out our meals with a relatively simple drink order, but it seemed like it took forever for me to receive the wrong martini. I got an apple martini, and my unsympathetic waitress half-heartedly offered to get me the correct drink. Fearing something bad would happen to my replacement drink, I kept the green monster. For our first course, my non-vegetarian boyfriend had clam chowder, that he claimed was "clammy and delicious." I had a salad with the house vinaigrette. For my entree I had one of my absolute favorite dishes of all time - eggplant Parmesan. I really prefer dining at smaller, local establishments as a general rule, but something about the brick of eggplant that's served at Maggiano's keeps me coming back. The eggplant is always fresh (never funky like at some mom and pop shops) and flavored to perfection. My boyfriend had chicken Parmesan which is also one of his favorite dishes. Since we can't share, he always enjoys having a ridiculous amount of leftovers. Since I eat like a pack of starving wolves is about to eat my food, I finished my eggplant brick in no time. I normally justify eating that much because of my marathon training, but due to my recent "run-stopping" injury, I need to be a little more calorie conscious.

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