Thursday, July 12, 2007

2 down, 4 more to go....

My semi-annual week of gluttony, aka Summerlicious, began with lunch today at Coppi Ristorante, where for $20 I had:

Fricco di Finocchi e Rucola - lightly dressed salad of arugola and fennel, served from a parmigiano nest

Involtini alla Bartali - braised veal scaloppini stuffed with portobello mushrooms, pancetta and parmigiano, served with seared polenta and steamed rapini

Panna Cotta - cooked cream custard served with chianti poached peaches

The servings were perfect for lunch - not so filling that I felt like a nap afterwards. The salad was OK...nothing spectacular, although the parmagiano nest, which was parmesan cheese shredded over a bowl-like shape and then baked in the oven to harden, reminded me of one of my favourite Chinese dishes - jeuk chow dai jee - or scallops in a taro basket. The veal was on the dry side, but thankfully the tomato sauce that accompanied it provided enough moisture to compensate.

The panna cotta....oh, the panna cotta. This piece de resistance more than made up for the lacklustre courses that came before it. I had panna cotta for the first time ever in 2002 in Australia. If I recall correctly, it was on the first night of a very rainy and overcast girls' weekend in Noosa on the Sunshine Coast. It was a vanilla panna cotta - I could see the tiny black seeds of the vanilla bean in the cooked cream - and it was so freakin' yummy!! I think I encountered it a couple more times over the next couple weeks but can't remember seeing it on a menu in Toronto until today. The one time I tried making it, I added too much gelatin (it was late and I blame it on a boy for keeping me out so late the night before) and the panna cotta that resulted was probably hard enough to bounce off a wall. I will never live that down.

The Italian theme continued with dinner tonight at Sopra Upper Lounge where for $35 I had:

pappa al pomodoro - tuscan style tomato and basil soup with a grilled crostino

filetto di salmone - seared salmon filet with sauteed zucchini, garlic, cherry tomato and fresh herbs gremolata

tiramisu d’estate - raspberry and lemon tiramisu

The portions were very generous - the soup was hearty, but I think the crostino was missing...unless it was incorporated in the soup. I was expecting something sort of like a french onion soup with the bread on top. It was also served lukewarm, and I'm not sure whether it was meant to be a cold soup, or if our server was late picking it up for service as they seemed to be a little short-staffed. The salmon was seared with the skin on and I loved how crispy it was - again, it was a bit on the dry side and I could have done without the veggies as they were diced and rather blah. As for dessert, it was a disappointment. The marscapone topping for the tiramisu wasn't as fresh and lemon-y as I expected it to be...nor was it as light and the taste reminded me of something familiar...and it wasn't until I was a few bites in that I recognized it as the lemon-flavoured Sugus Candy I used to favour as a kid.

We ordered a bottle of Wildass Rose which my friend had recommended to me and I must admit that it was a little heavier than I would have expected for a rose wine and not nearly as fruity as I would have liked but very good despite my preconceived notions.

Enough about food as it's late. I've got a full day tomorrow - work in the first half and, if I'm productive, an afternoon/evening of fringing followed by a couple hours of preparing for my mandarin class before going to bed, the latter of which I could have avoided if I hadn't procrastinated last night by sitting my ass in front of the TV watching So You Think You Can Dance. But I'm weak.

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