Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Poco Piatti

Went out celebrating last week at a spot called Poco Piatti. A few people recommended it on Chow.com as a nice place in Toledo. What really appealed to me was the name, which means small plates in Italian. Because with small plates you aren't tied down to one entree.
 
Their menu is very eclectic, jumping all over the globe from Greece, Italy, Southern U.S., Lebanon and Thailand. We ordered a handful of menu items — not including the 2 pitchers of Sangria, which alone is good enough for a visit. 
I wanted to go to the original location on Monroe Street, but opted the closer Levi's Commons location instead. It's a comfy place; not so quiet that you feel you have to whisper, and loud enough to keep private conversation private. 
The plates are appetizer size, and all dressed very well. My date and I would order a plate each time the server dropped one off. I recommend the Thai Shrimp "Lasagna" (see photo), Prosciutto Crepes, Vongole con Salsiccia (clams roasted w/ hot sausage), Saganaki Kasseri (flaming cheese ... the server will shout "OOPA!!!") and of course, the Sangria.
 So if you are looking for a fun place to take a date, I recommend Poco Piatti for a unique dining experience. I will be trying the owner's other restaurant on Monroe Street, The Beirut, soon. 

Sunday, November 16, 2008

South Side Six

If you haven't heard about South Side 6, it's because it's hard to talk with a mouth full of food.
The small party store on South Main Street celebrates almost every day with an awesome special, but it's the gyros that really put the party in the store — and then your mouth.
It doesn't look like much from the outside, and that's OK, because once you set foot in the parking lot your nose will quickly dismiss your eyes.
And inside is a spectacular scene. Three giant roasts twirl elegantly on the vertical gyro grills like three bountiful ballerinas. The owner, So, shaves off caramelized strips of either chicken or beef and hands them off to his faithful gyro technician, Abod, who tightly wraps each gyro with lettuce, onion, tomato and plenty of cucumber sauce. And how much do I owe? It it's Thursday, only $1.99.
The owner, So, was born in the U.S. but raised in Lebanon where he learned all about authentic Lebanese cuisine — Fattush, Taboli, Kabobs, Hummus, Chicken Shawarma and Baklava. It's all there, even his American side.
The gigantic Route 25 Burger is almost as satisfying, but falls just short to the mighty South Side 6 gyro. And I think it's because the gyro stays with you all day long. Spicy little burps act as pleasant reminders of the delicious meal you made love to earlier. If you have a date later, make sure they eat one too. Because it's OK if you both have bad breath.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Bizarre food, bizarre host

Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern is like Fear Factor without the fear.
I love watching food shows. Unless I have no food. Because hunger is almost always the result of watching any of those shows on Food Network -- some call it food porn. And after my taste buds are aroused, I prepare a snack to munch on while I watch Ina Garten make magic happen in her kitchen.
Today, the snack was my delicious potato salad I made two days ago. But unfortunately today it tasted like fried spleen and cheese, which tastes like mud. Thanks to Andrew Zimmern I know that spleen tastes like "deep river mud." The taste of my potato salad became very complex while watching Bizarre Foods. When Zimmern tasted blood sausage in Paris, I could taste the rich flavor of pig lung in my potato salad. Don't snack while watching Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern.
But overall, I really enjoy Andrew Zimmern. I just like knocking him because he is a better descriptor than I am. Just watch his show and write down what he says each time he tastes something bizarre. Then try repeating the list at the Thanksgiving dinner table. I would just hate to cook him something that he didn't care for. He may tell me that my food "tastes like a lime that you cut open, and soaked in ammonia for 2 years," or is "like eating sweet Vaseline," as he has said on his show.
I watch Bizarre Foods a lot and I think Andrew Zimmern is very animated and fun to watch. But I have some major issues with the guy. Mainly, the only food I have seen him spit out was durian fruit. I've never tried it, I hear it's gross, but come on! Andrew Zimmern eats some real nasty stuff. He's eaten brains, sperm, hearts, and probably butt holes. But he couldn't handle the durian fruit?
However, the guy who owned the durian fruit farm looked very hurt and offended. As did the lady at the spleen sandwich dig when he told her it tasted like a deep river mud. Zimmern should probably be more culturally sensitive, but I think his brutal honesty is hilariously entertaining.
If a human rump roast looked good, would Andrew Zimmern eat it? That would be Bizarre.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Flakey Bacon Dog

Having trouble making friends? Try wrapping yourself in bacon and pastry. 
Because anything wrapped in bacon is better! Try it with a cheese dog, too.