November 4, 2007
We all met with great anticipation, eager to discover what Cafe Nova had to offer. The atmosphere was modern and hip. We were seated in their elegant and roomy private banquet room near the kitchen. It was dimly lit with an eclectic look to it. It set the tone for the food that was to come. Our hostess was Jordan. She was very nice and helpful.
We ordered appetizers which consisted of the following: The Five Cheese Plate which had dried fruit, honey, crackers and nuts. The cheeses were: Sage Derby–a vegetarian cheese made from cow’s milk. It is semi-hard and is pungent and has a bite to it towards the end. It’s blended with spinach juice and dried sage and is matured about three months. Pecorino Romano–a hard cheese with a sharp flavor. Tronchon–from Spain was our favorite- a traditional, creamery semi-soft cheese made from a blend of cow’s, goat’s and sheep’s milk. It resembles a young Caerphilly or soft Swiss. It is aromatic, with a background of white wine acidity. It went very well with honey. Asiago–a hard cheese made of cow’s milk. It has a fruity, slightly sharp flavor that is intense when aged. Valencay (vah-leh-say)–a cheese that reminded Napoleon of the pyramids he saw in Egypt. It has a nutty flavor made of goat’s milk and is soft. It is sometimes known as Pyramide. We also had blue crab rolls with a spicy dipping sauce and pork dumplings with a sweet sauce. The appetizers were filling and satisfying.
Everyone finally arrived and it was time to order. Steve L. asked Jordan what the specials were and most of us ordered one of them. The specials were amazingly presented to satisfy us not only visually but also to give our taste buds a symphony of flavors. I ordered the 10 oz. Rib Eye del Manico, grilled to taste and served with fried spinach, asparagus and a cranberry rissotto in a creamy burban aupoi sauce that I didn’t want to end. The steak was like butter, I ordered it medium well, with a touch of pink. It was mouth watering. The other special ordered by Jim was the Ruby Red Trout, dusted with flour, sauteed in brown butter and stuffed with warm lentil salad made with sage, bacon and candied walnuts in a brown butter sauce. THAT’S A LOT OF BUTTER JIM! Montie ordered roasted chicken with asparagus and garlic mashed potatoes served on a tomato basil sauce. Stacy ordered Chicken Caprese served over a bed of angel hair pasta and capers in a lemon butter sauce.
There was also a choice of Caesar salad or tomato soup. The salad was good and Mitzi said the soup was fantastically tasty with a chunky texture.
As dinner concluded, we were brought two large platters, each holding three different deserts. A peanut butter and jelly creme bruleé that was melt in your mouth goodness. I enjoyed it immensely even though I’m not a big fan of peanut butter desserts. A Strawberry Napoleon that was a high stack of phylo dough, whipped cream, sliced strawberry layers topped with strawberry sauce and dusted with powdered sugar… mmm-mazing! Lastly was a huge slice of cheesecake from the Carnegie Deli in NYC, touched with a torch to give it a crispy, caramelized crunch and then drizzled with strawberry and chocolate sauces and sprinkled with nuts. We were also served coffee in individual french presses. It was a nice touch and perfect ending to such an enjoyable experience.
We enjoyed each other’s company and will always remember not to let Steve L. ask “What are the specials?”. Why? The cost of the specials was a surprise when we received our check as they were double the price of the highest menu entrée. That made this our most expensive dinner to date, though the complementary desserts somewhat made up for the extra cost of the entrées. It was a dinner we will never forget and another great adventure in our Monthly Dinner Group.
Upside: Very fun food; coffee presses were nifty; great desserts; trendy atmosphere-hip restaurant-not the usual OKC fare.
Downside: Cost-prices for “specials” not marked on menus — “If you have to ask, you can’t afford it” should not be the mantra for a restaurant of this type; occasional waft of cigar smoke from the outside bar with occasional foot traffic through the room to door to the bar.
Next month, God willing, we will be dinning at Trattoria Il Centro. An Italian restaurant in downtown Oklahoma City. So come back for more of our dining experiences at yet another locally owned, Oklahoma City restaurant.
August 10, 2007
July was our first couples monthly dinner. We ate at Caffe Pranzo. A small Italian restaurant, hidden away in a shopping center on May Avenue. The atmosphere is casual and laid back. The staff is very friendly and informative. As soon as you walk in you smell fresh baked bread and all the aromas that will soon be your dinner. Everything is made to order so your meal can be made to your taste. The warm fresh bread and balsamic vinegar and garlic dip prepared your taste buds for what was coming next.
We had a great time enjoying each others company. I think we were the loudest table there. With Estevan’s silliness and Mitzi’s contagious laughter, it was an enjoyable time. It was nice to get together and actually have a conversation with everyone we see and just say hi to once a week. We caught up on things and went right back to never having been away from each other. We needed that. Estevan had us playing a guessing game on the other diners there. But the little old lady he picked last had us cracking up in a roar. I hope that we can all keep doing this as the years go by.
I ordered the Ceaser salad to start my meal. It was really tatsy. A good bite of garlic and cheese. Then I ordered the fresh rosemary salmon. The salmon was grilled perfectly. It came with sauteed diced tomatoes, zucchini and squash tossed in capellini. The tanginess of the lemon, rosemary and garlic of the salmon went very well with the sweetness of the tomatoes and veggies. I was full but did not want to stop eating, my taste buds wanted more!
Then of course we had dessert!! We had the Carnegie Deli’s famous cheesecake. It was fantastic!! An explosion of sweetness and smooth cream cheese in your mouth. They top it with a berry sauce, nuts and a drizzle of chocolate. But even without all that I know it still would have been great. We also tried the Tiramisu, it was fine.
Needless to say that Caffe Pranzo is a place we will be returning to again with the couples and just on our own. Oklahoma has a little hidden away jewel that is a great place to have authentic Italian food. And you will come back over and over again and try all the items on there menu. Thank you Caffe Pranzo!
August 9, 2007
Welcome to “La Cena per Coppie Mensilmente” – The monthly Dinner group blog.
The first month consisted of 3 couples, Monte and Xochitl Scott, Steve and Stacy Lessman and Steve and Mitzi Aylor. We plan to eat at a different restaurant each month and write a review. In between each monthly “meeting” if any of the couples eat at any interesting restaurants, anywhere in the country (or even anywhere in the world) we will post a review of that restaurant too! So come back often to see where we have been, what we have eaten and whether we liked it or not.