Wednesday, February 20, 2008

I Got (Almost) Nuthin' ...

I've been sitting here with my laptop – amazingly enough – on my lap, trying to think of something to write about and I keep coming up empty.

My life really isn't this dull. Really, it's not.

I was entertaining myself by poking around the menu for Merlo on Maple. If you haven't gone, you really should. Well, no. Wait. You should only go if you have a real appreciation for fine Italian food. If Olive Garden is how you roll, Merlo will send you into culinary culture shock.

But if you love food and wine and you're looking to treat yourself, I can heartily recommend Merlo. Let's go to dinner – virtually – shall we? Start with the appetizers, make your selections, and leave your order in the comments.

I'm one of those people who can stare at a menu for an hour. I'm just so fascinated by what chefs create and it's fun to try and conjure the perfect meal from start to finish.

The next time I go to Merlo, I think I'll rope my dining companion into sharing a pasta entree as a starter for two. But which to choose? The tortelloni ai funghi porcini? (I'm a sucker for anything with mushrooms.) Or the gnocchi di spinaci al tartufo nero in fonduta di Parmigiano Reggiano? (I'm fascinated by the idea of Parmigiano Reggiano fondue and black truffle carpaccio.) Or the tortellini alla panna? (Tortellini stuffed with prosciutto, Parmigiano Reggiano, and veal tenderloin in a cream sauce? Sounds impossibly rich, which is why it'd be perfect to share.)

Having had my pasta fill, and feeling shank-y, I'll have to decide between the ossobuco (I know, osso buco is usually two words; Merlo's menu spells it as one word) and the lamb shank. The ossobuco is paired with saffron risotto but the lamb shank is paired with oven-roasted rosemary potatoes and asparagus. It will be terribly hard to choose.

I'll be too full for dessert, of course, but I'll have to order the panna cotta because I always order panna cotta and compare it to every other panna cotta I've ever enjoyed (or not). To date, the panna cotta top spot is held by Five Points in New York City. But then again, Merlo's semifreddo di zabaione con cioccolato caldo might prove too tempting to resist. Zabaione with warm chocolate? He'll have to order that.

He'll select the evening's wine, because he's very good at that. And we'll need some espresso, too, no doubt.

With any luck, the temperature that evening will be temperate, because we'll need to walk about five miles after that meal.

Tonight, though, I will dream of zabaione with warm chocolate.


Blogger Mercurie said...

Is it as cold in Chicago right now as it is here in mid-Missouri? I thought this was February...feels more like January. Anyhow, I can sympathise with trying to think of something to write. I have had writer's block most of the week. But then I have also been fighting a sinus infection...

7:55 PM  

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