Tag Archives: meatballs

Oh yes, it’s ladies night

So the Thursday morning after the Top Chef Masters finale, I was a little bummed because Hubert Keller lost, but I wasn’t down for too long because I had dinner at my friend Ellen’s house to look forward to. As I wrote a few months ago, every Thursday Ellen hosts a “Girls Night” at her home.

Ellen is a fabulous cook and host. She usually prepares an entree and then the rest of us sign up to bring salad, bread, wine or dessert. Along with Ellen, my weekly dining companions are Mahnaz, Tara, Jill, Lynn and Michelle. Although it’s “Girls Night,” men are welcome so Ellen’s husband, Jeff, is also at the table and other spouses make frequent appearances. Half of us are new moms so there are also a few babies in the mix as well as Jeff and Ellen’s dachsund, Chaplin.

This past Thursday, we celebrated the return of Project Runway with an all-appetizers menu.

Jill made garam masala deviled eggs and ham tartines.

Garam masala deviled eggs

Ham tartines

Tara brought a fancy cheese plate and a not-so-fancy, but delicious, sweet dip for strawberries made with cream cheese and marshmallow fluff.

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Strawberries and dip

Ellen prepared Italian meatballs and Jamaican chicken bites.

Meat balls

Jamaican chicken bites

Mahnaz roasted an assortment of vegetables dusted with curry powder.

Roasted vegetables

And I attempted to recreate a Tom Douglas appetizer I had tasted at an event. It was a thin slice of granny smith apple topped with smoked salmon, creme fraiche and dill. I couldn’t find any creme fraiche at the grocery store so I used sour cream instead. They turned out surprisingly well!

Apples with salmon and dill

Lynn rounded out things with amazing chocolate and peanut butter brownie bites.

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Tara and Mahnaz dressed up for Project Runway viewing and looked fierce. (I wore sweats.)

Tara and Mahnaz

The lone male that evening was Ellen’s baby boy, Jonah.

Ellen and Jonah

The food was awesome, the company divine. And Project Runway? I enjoyed the All-Stars edition much more than the season 6 premiere, although there was way too much Santino for my taste. Season 6 has way too many designers to keep track of, and I thought the challenge of creating an outfit for a “red carpet event” was pretty dull.

Speaking of fashion, who designed the outfit for the lead singer in this video? If your client says, “I’d like a floor length jacket that looks like a brick wall,” you should say no.

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Filed under Savory, Sweet, Thursday night dinners

That’s a spicy meatball

The food highlight of our trip to Utah was a visit to Tony Caputo’s Market and Deli. With its artisan cheeses, in-house salami maker(!) and premium chocolates, Caputo’s feels like it should be in major metropolis like New York or Chicago. This is definitely a place I never expected to find in Salt Lake City. Despite having most city trappings, SLC still feels more like a small town to me. Plus–who knew there were Italians in Utah! That’s the fun of living in a nation of immigrants–people can wind up anywhere.

Caputo’s is located downtown and as expected, does brisk business at lunch, which was when we visited. My husband, our friend Damon and I followed the crush of people to the deli counter–a lean, mean, well-oiled machine. But service was anything but brusque. It was warm and welcoming AND quick.

I had the muffaleta sandwich with salami, ham, mortadella, cheese and olive salad on a French roll that was some of the most perfect bread I’ve ever had. It was firm enough to hold everything together but it was soft enough so it didn’t tear up the roof of my mouth or disintegrate into a thousand crumbs every time I took a bite.

Most of the people eating in the deli were chowing down on meatball subs. They looked so happy that I also ordered a side of meatballs. I soon understood their bliss. The meatballs were tender and succulent, and the accompanying marinara sauce had a rich tomato flavor without being too acidic or cloyingly sweet. The only bad thing about the meatballs was that they made me so full, I had no room for chocolate cake. Each slice at Caputo’s is 3/4 pound.

My husband had the signature Caputo sandwich, which was named the third best sandwich in America by “men’s entertainment magazine” FHM. (I imagine the writer’s pitch to his editor went something like this: “Hot chicks eating sandwiches–it’ll be great!”) The Caputo is an Italian meat-lover’s dream with prosciutto, mortadella, salami combined with provolone, lettuce, and tomatoes on a hard Italian roll covered with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Damon had the chicken parmesan sandwich, the special of the day and one of his all-time favorite foods. It wasn’t goopy as many chicken parms can be. The chicken was crisp and provided a solid base for the mozzarella and marina sauce. He washed down that goodness with an apple beer, an interesting non-alcoholic drink produced in SLC.

Really good food commands your total attention. You want to concentrate and get lost in the food because you may never be able to replicate that experience again. Our table was completely silent until we all finished our sandwiches.

The deli is just one of the many delights at Caputo’s. The market displays the largest selection of Italian and Southern European foods in Utah. It’s is the type of place you could visit every day and find something new and unexpected, be it a cheese cave, 60 different olive oils or high-end chocolate flavored with bacon.

The next time I’m in Salt Lake City, you’ll know where to find me.

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Filed under Reviews, Savory, So right, Travel