Diners around the country this Tuesday came together to eat in the evening of Carrabba’s First Tastes event, the chain’s preview of its Festa di Carrabba seasonal menu. I joined the event in Tyngsborough, Massachusetts.
“An ordinary day in Italy is an extraordinary day anywhere else,” according to Carrabba’s, “because Italians put more into every moment… every bite… every day.” Carrabba’s chefs certainly put a lot into each of the eight dishes guests sampled.
My favorite was the Grilled Tuscan Skewer. The wood-grilled sirloin was charred outside and tender inside; the Chianti sauce was light, and the grilled onion and tomato were the right subtle complements to the meat.
A close second favorite was the “Forever Braised” Beef Brasato, a tender but tangy short rib served over a bed of risotto with a rich red wine sauce.
I also liked the Arancini, battered bites of risotto, Italian fennel sausage, red bell peppers, and romano cheese, though I’d have preferred the blend without the breading; not only was it tasty enough, but also when your desire for food is as unrestrainable as mine, anything breaded and fried is best avoided.
Guests enjoyed seafood dishes as well. The 1×1″ pieces of meat in the Lobster Mac & Cheese were generous; the scallops in the Champagne Shrimp & Scallop Linguine absorbed the light flavor of the champagne sauce well, and the mustard cream sauce on the Potato-Crusted Haddock gave the dish a touch of elan.
Dessert was a rich Sogno di Cioccolata, a chocolate brownie with chocolate mousse, chocolate sauce, and whipped cream.
But those who know me well will not be surprised that my sweet delight of choice was the Flora Rosa cocktail, made with Rosa Regale, a sparkling red wine, and St. Germain liqueur.
If you’d like to indulge the inlets of the soul at a First Tastes event, join Carrabba’s Amici Club.
I fell in love with travel on a trip to Mexico when I was nine years old. Since then, I’ve travelled the globe from Israel to El Salvador. I’ve skied the Swiss Alps and hiked national parks like Acadia, Zion, Shenandoah, and Virgin Islands. I’ve marvelled at masterpieces in the Prado, the Uffizi, the Huntington, and the National Gallery of Art. I’ve stayed in a cabin on a mountaintop in Norway and on a kibbutz along the Sea of Galilee, and been kicked out of the Ritz at the Place Vendôme. I’ve taken cooking classes from New England to the Caribbean, and watched a chef prepare traditional shakshuka in the kitchen of his restaurant in Tel Aviv. I weave historical research and my personal experiences together in writing this blog. I hope you find it helpful. Read more …