Cucina Vitale Dinner on the South Side

We finally made it for Saturday night dinner on the South Side.  We’d been meaning to go eat at Cucina Vitale ever since Vincie discovered this dining gem in a Post-Gazette article by Dan Gigler in late January.

Cucina Vitale 

White tablecloths, cut red roses in glass vases, excellent service, delicious food cooked to perfection and served expertly.

Our Antipasti started with black and green olives, Roasted red pepper hummus-like spread and garlic infused olive oil in which to dip the crusty bread. Every bite was delicious. A dish of Greens and creamy Beans was shared. There are no words! What other descriptor can I use besides DELICIOUS?

Followed by the soup of the day which was Tomato Bisque with Basil  (Traditional Wedding Soup is always on the menu)

The specials were Chilean Sea Bass and Lump Crabmeat with a Lemon Caper Compound Butter with sides of Broccoli Rabe and Roasted New Potatoes.

And I ordered the  Cheese Ravioli topped with Medallions in Gorgonzola Sauce with a drizzle of Balsamic.

Tempting house made desserts of Cannoli, Lemon Cheesecake, Chocolate Cake, Burnt Almond Torte or Tiramisu were offered but we hadn’t left enough room.There are a few things to know if you plan to go-

Reservations are essential. BYOB if you desire and it’s Cash Only.  


GREENS & BEANS                                                                                                                            Escarole, Northern Beans, Garlic, Shallots, White Wine, & Parmesan


The Chilean Sea Bass with Lump Crabmeat and Lemon Caper Compound Butter

The Tomato Basil Soup with a touch of Parmesan


Chef Frank Vitale learned to cook from his Grandmother, in the photo on the restaurant wall.

Shot from across the street as we got into the car.

 

Two Roads Diverged in a Green Wood

We were on our way to a First Communion Party a week ago and my Daughter- in-Law was driving. When we saw the two branches of road in front of us, The Road Not Taken, the poem by Robert Frost, came to mind. Yes, these woods are a new Spring green, not a yellow wood, but poetic/blogging license?
When I went to find the actual poem I found this interesting Paris Review article by David Orr*.  Here’s a quote from his article, The Most Misread Poem in America (click here )
Go to the article and read about a 2008 New Zealand Ford Co Car Commercial which uses the poem without even giving credit to Robert Frost! If you want to consider the variances in interpretation of Frost’s poem you will find the article enlightening.
“Given the pervasiveness of Frost’s lines, it should come as no surprise that the popularity of “The Road Not Taken” appears to exceed that of every other major twentieth-century American poem, including those often considered more central to the modern (and modernist) era.”   
 Author Orr listed the GOOGLE stats of searches to prove it!  Who knew this particular was so popular?
Parts of verses still stick in my mind and when I saw this scene in the woods, they came right up. When I was in grade school, we had to memorize a poem a week and recite it from memory.
    The Road Not Taken 
                                                   by Robert Frost
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
(By the way, we took the right of the fork)
*from the article
David Orr is the poetry columnist for the New York Times Book Review. He is the winner of the Nona Balakian Prize from the National Book Critics Circle, and his writing has appeared in The New YorkerPoetrySlate, and The Yale Review.
 

The Persistence of Maple Seeds

You know the seeds I’m referring to- the ones like helicopters that twirl in the wind or if you peel the end you can stick it on the end of your nose.That is if the seed isn’t too dry already. There’s a bit of “sticky” to adhere to your skin. My grandson likes to pick them up off the sidewalk and hold them high, let them go and like a rotor they go round and round to the ground. The maple seeds are all over the city this time of year.

Last week on our walk around the neighborhood, we saw a lot of the seeds and quite a few tiny maple trees.  I told Charlie that wherever a seed lands in some dirt, it has a chance to grow into a tree.  I find these “volunteer” trees in my pachysandra ground cover and in other unexpected spots.  You have to pull them up and out before they get too deep.  And of course volunteer trees pop up from acorns and other seeds.  Right now I have a grove of young ailanthus trees in my back garden..And if you want to purposefully plant a maple tree from seed, click here for instructions.

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Seed split open out of casing
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Trees in a rock garden

 

 

 

Chef Sam Cooking Class with Lentil Cheeseburgers and Caesar Salad

Chef Sam cooks a Lentil Cheeseburger recipe with a Roasted Red Pepper sauce and prepares a Caesar Salad during Cooking Class. He told how he sterilized the eggs for the dressing, gently lowering them into boiling water for five minutes. Safety was emphasized.  Lentils, mushrooms, beets, carrot, onions and garlic were a few of the main ingredients.  Miso paste helped hold it together.  There were ten participants and we all enjoyed the delicious meal at the end of the class.

The class was held Wednesday afternoon at The Stephen Foster Community Center on 286 Main Street, located next to the Lawrenceville Branch of the Carnegie Library. The center is housed in an 1865 brick building now on the National Historic Register. The center offers fitness classes such as Cardio Strength and Flexibility, Tai Chi, Yoga, Soul Line Dancing, and Practical Meditation in addition to craft and  other recreational activities.

Next cooking class with Chef Sam is May 29 at 12:30. $4 is the cost of the class.

 

 Thank you Chef Sam for a great class and delicious meal

Allegheny County senior citizens can eat lunch for a modest donation of a dollar but should register by calling the Community Center office by noon the day before at 412-350-5460.   Contact Allegheny County Seniorline 412-350-5460 for eligibility, if you need a Home Delivered Meal.

What Does a Dog Think About?

What does a dog think about?

Henry and Josie, the Airedales, were in the driveway when I was getting out of my car the other morning. They looked like they were thinking deeply about something.

Here’s Henry contemplating his shadow.

A dog across the street? The weather? Breakfast?

Let the day begin.


A Blanket, A Pillow, A Chair

You can drape a blanket over the back of a chair or two, add a pillow in the floor. Enter the tent you’ve created.

Magical half light.

Accompanied by a soft, huggable toy bear. Liftoff to space. A cabin in the woods. A racecar or castle. Whatever, wherever you wish it to be.

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