Friday, March 5, 2010

Oh, how wonderful it is to have girlfriends.

My friend Christy came up with this fabulous idea to start blogging our lunch experiences.

She and Kim and I love food. Good food. And the BEST food, we find, comes from our own kitchens. But so many times, we just want to meet somewhere and be fed, served, taken care of, while we laugh and enjoy something scrumptious.

So, this blog Christy is writing, and the name of our trio, is chow town chicks and you can follow what we’re up to on this site.  go to Chow Town Chicks here on blogger.

Each of us has a bit of a different spin on what we want to write about and search for in our quest.  Christy is looking for value, for the economy conscious women out there, wanting the same things we all want, but wanting a good price to get it.
Kim, I would say is our veggie head. While she likes a good steak as much as any Texas gal, she prefers the lighter fare with good color and lots of well prepared veggies. As for me, I would say by far, am the biggest eater of our trio. I can really put it away.  While Christy and Kim are brilliant chefs in their kitchens, I can put together a pretty good plate myself, but enjoy more than anything just EATING good pretty food. And I eat a lot of it.

A few years ago, when I wanted to shed a few pounds and was feeling well, basically, crummy, I started really thinking about WHAT I was eating, and educating myself on how food works in my body and what was IN the food I eat. I’ve learned a lot over the past few years and now I’m pretty particular about what I put in my mouth. So I plan to share some of what has worked for me, in terms of good food. Both in restaraunts and in the food we choose to serve in our homes.

So, yesterday was the first Chow Town Chicks luncheon.  Christy found this place online, in Fort Worth on Magnolia Street, called Lily's Bistro on Magnolia.   We were greeted by a smiling face and directed to a table we had already spotted in a sunny window, sort of private and special. Our hostess overheard our glee (yes, it was glee:), and accommodated our wishes immediately. It was noon too, and the restaraunt was busy, which is a really good sign of a well run establishment. Cha ching, one glass toasted already! Within minutes we had another smiling face at our side, taking drink orders and brought us a wine menu to peruse.

Neither of the two choices of appetizers were appealing to us – the Gorgonzola Fries or the Fried Dill spears. Hmmmm, what’s that about? Fried appetizers? So our very accommodating waitress suggested we try this Tzatziki Medley. And what a GREAT suggestion this was. It was a ginormous plate of two different kinds of tabouleh, which is a bulghar wheat salad. One with fresh veggies (Kim loved this one best) and a lemon vinaigrette. The OTHER one, (my favorite) was called Bulgher and Berries. Oh my, it had cherries, and cranberries, and banana chips, and pistachios and cilantro, with a citrus vinaigrette. All was served very appetizingly on a plate with crisp lettuce, and a fabulous chunky cucumber sauce. Oh yea, and triangles of fried pita bread, which was wonderful, but weird - I mean, yet another fried thing?(NOT Christy’s favorite) BUT when we asked about it – whether it was baked or fried (there was some question) – our waitress offered to bring us some plain pita instead and brought a generous portion of that for us to nibble. Christy is happy.

I could have stopped there.

I asked for the waitresses favorites and the good news is that she had a lot of them. I always like a wait –person that is familiar with the food they are serving. I think it is important for restaurants to have their employees taste everything they prepare so they are well informed about the menu. I mean, this is what they DO – the restaurant, I mean – and their employees need to know what it tastes like!

I went with the salmon. Served with their signature “Lily’s Rice”. Now, here is where my food choices come in. Often I will choose something based on what it comes WITH. I spent quite a long time studying the menu – I always do. And nothing on it had any accompaniments that weren’t a starch – as a matter of fact – they were either gorgonzola waffle fries or rice. Neither has any appeal to me. Now if it was sweet potato fries even (which would certainly have been more appealing even though it is still a starch),  brown rice or even wild rice, but it was white rice, with a veggie here and there and pretty bland. The salmon I ordered was glazed, which would have deterred me from ordering it had the menu reflected this very important detail. It was very very sweet and overwhelmed the flavor of the nice pink salmon on my very prettily plated dish.
  I usually don't order anything with sugar, and NEVER eat high fructose corn syrup if I can help it.  Usually I can.  Help it, I mean.

Christy’s burger won the taste test. It was a piled high hamburger with gorgonzola cheese exploding out of it. But the meat part was not as savory as I would have liked even though it was generous,  and the bun, while being beautiful and very very fresh, was sweet, sort of like a waffle is sweet, or a pancake with maple syrup. One or two bites and that was enough of that - it just didn't marry well with the rest of the flavors - not for long anyway. It was too overpowering. You would think the gorgonzola would be the dominant flavor, but it was very mild cheese, even though it LOOKED right.

So then, for the veggie sandwich.   Kim’s sandwich was just dull. It was beautiful and big and the price was right, but the fries it came with were warm, not hot, soft, not crunchy, and the cheese, which was generous, was that same mild gorgonzola. Again, weird. Plus an overabundance of some pepper mixture.  VERY spicy, which is OK for me, but again, it was too overpowering.  The bread was fabulous though.  A very flavorful, fresh rosemary flavored bread.  Just right.  Carmelized onions or maybe some warm roasted red peppers would have made this sandwich a hit with all of us. Either of these sandwiches could have been split easily - they were very very large for lunch specialties.

OK, so the food was actually good enough to try again. I will ask more questions next time. Everything was served beautifully - with thought and care - attention to detail - which is important to me.  The service was impeccable and actually quite delightful. The waitress was engaged in what she was doing - looked us in the eyes and appeared at all the right moments.  The hostess even came to check on us from time to time and made us feel at home and we were never rushed. And the appetizer was what I call “crave-able”. We’ll be back for more of that.  I even took the leftovers home and we had that marvelous salad with our eggs this morning.  Scrumptious.

Next time,

Nona Tata’s – just down the street.

I can hardly wait.

chow, ciao for now

Say it with a SMILE and a handmade TILE!

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