Welcome to the new and improved Carano's Cucina. I make a lot of kick ass food and go out to some amazing restaurants. Take a look around and make yourself at home :)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

I Finally Made It!

Back in 2006, my family went on a vacation to Charleston, SC. You may remember a little discussion about this trip when I blogged peach pie (mmm peach pie). During that trip, we went to a restaurant. I can't remember the name but it was near Fort Sumpter. Anyway, at this restaurant I had a Grilled Romaine salad. It was so good, and I said back then that I would make this when I got home. Well I never did but it was always in the back of my mind.

No longer! I saw Romaine hearts in the store for a good price and snapped up with this salad in mind. Romaine hearts have all the outer leaves removed and what you get is all the tender inner leaves, so one whole heart serves one person. Clean the Romaine hearts and split in half but do not remove the core. The core will keep the heart intact on the grill.

Drizzle the halves with olive oil and place on a hot grill.

Don't walk away because this does not take long. After a few minutes turn the hearts and grill the other side.

You want them to be just starting to wilt down and have a some nice char marks. But if you go too far, the leaves will get brittle.

Once it's done, chop up the lettuce and put it in a big bowl. Add your fave salad fixings! I added grape tomatoes and fresh edamame and dressed lightly with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I think a nice lemon vinaigrette would be good with this too. This salad is a really delicious change of pace from the norm.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Lunching at Michael Symon's B-Spot

I wasn't lucky enough to have the experience my friend and fellow blogger Tom had when he went to B-Spot. Michael Symon did not greet me at the door, nor did he show me to my table or set a spell and have a chat. Damn! Ahh well, I kind of knew that wouldn't be the case since I had read he was off shooting his new show for the Cooking Channel (yes a new network, a spin off of Food Network) called Cook Like an Iron Chef. But I did hope a little bit, that he would be there. Not to be.

At any rate, my gal pals Cindy, Denise and I had a fun filled morning of shopping around Eaton Collection in Woodmere, Ohio and then lunching at B-Spot. Really, what could be more fun than a trip to Penzy's, Sur La Table, and Trader Joe's and then having a great lunch at an Iron Chef's restaurant!? It's my kind of day! Penzy's was awesome as usual. I picked up some saffron because I've been dying to make arancini and saffron is kind of an important ingredient in most recipes I've seen. Sur La Table is my favorite store to gawk and dream in. I don't often purchase there, but I love to go in and have a look see. And Trader Joe's, well let's just say I did the most damage there! And I'm still kicking myself for not buying the delectable sounding pistachio and dark chocolate toffee. Next time for sure!

So after shopping our hearts out, we walked over to B-Spot. It's a pretty unassuming little place.

Inside is small and fun. Nothing too fancy. There was a whole wall of beer cans that reminded me of my brother's collection (that he still has by the way) back in the day. There was this really cool wall art, kind of like a 50's pin up soda fountain girl and basically not much else. It was dark and intimate and just fun vibe.

We were seated right away and looked over the menu. I was going to go simple but then Denise said she was getting the Thin Lizzy burger and it sounded too good to pass up. I'm in! The Thin Lizzy is a burger with cheddar cheese, caramelized onions, pickles and mayo. I also ordered the Lola Fries, presumably named for one of Symon's other restaurants, Lola Bistro. There was no way I was passing up these fries which merely were seasoned with sea salt and rosemary. Sounds simple but delicious! So with Denise and I getting Thin Lizzy and Lola fries, Cindy mixed it up and ordered the Reuben burger and onion rings. We all had iced tea which was deliciously freshly brewed.

Over in the middle of the restaurant is a pickle bar. Our waitress told us that when we get our burgers we can head over to the pickle bar and have whatever we'd like. There were different kinds of pickles, pickled tomatoes, pickled jalapenos.

When the burger arrived with pickles already on it, I decided that was enough for me so I didn't head to the pickle bar. Feast your eyes on this glorious burger!

Seriously, it's a thing of beauty. The roll looks like it's going to be hard and crusty but it's perfect. Soft but not soggy. The pickles are crisp and full of flavor. The meat is perfectly cooked and so incredibly flavorful. There was just the right amount of mayo on it. Not dripping in mayo but definitely there. I did have to pull some of the onions off because well, onions are not always my friend. But the ones I did eat melted in my mouth. I dare say I'm in love with this burger!

The portion size is perfect. It's not huge and overbearing, it's just enough. And did I mention that it tastes absolutely incredible? There is no contest, this is the best burger I have ever had. And I've had some damn good burgers. This one blows them all out of the water..

Now those fries. OK, I'm not a skinny fry lover. I like my fries hearty. But if I had to have skinny fries, I would want these skinny fries. They were cooked perfectly and seasoned incredibly. Not too much rosemary, not too much salt. The flavors were there without slapping you in the face with them. Incredible!

And in a league all their own were the onion rings. Oh. My. God. These onion rings are a freaking work of art. The batter is golden and delicious. The onion is incredibly sweet and thoroughly cooked. Like I said, onions are not always my friend, but sometimes you just have to suck it up and take one for the team. I had to try them. I just had to. Could you pass these up?

Yeah, I didn't think so.

I will be returning to B-Spot, oh yes. I definitely will be!