BLT and Italian in Harmony

Here’s a little insight into my life: School just started. CPC’s exec board, where I as serve as the director of PR, very successfully executed an awesome recruitment. Not to mention, I just started a new job at Relay Foods. I’m already so in love with this company. More about them later.

This recipe I am about to unveil to y’all is one I have been making for six years, since I was a sophomore in high school. I even used the recipe for a senior project. In a nutshell, it is my Italian solution to the BLT, two of favorite comfort foods. With my plate as full as it is, comfort is something I have already really needed this semester.

The bacon in this scenario is pancetta, an Italian cured bacon that is saltier than our American counterpart. It is also more expensive so feel free to sub the pancetta for bacon.

The lettuce is basil, which adds such gusto of flavor to an otherwise seemingly plain palette of flavors.

To the T. I like to use cherry tomatoes to be exact. My tomatoes, this time around, are from Trader Joe’s, one of my favorites! They sell these lovely heirloom tomatoes that add a lovely mix of color to this dish.

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Ingredients:

1 lb. of pasta

3 cups of cherry tomatoes, quartered

1 cup of pancetta or bacon, diced

1/4 cup of basil, chopped

1/4 cup of olive oil

1 teaspoon of garlic powder

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Cook the pasta to package directions.  Fry the pancetta, make it as crispy as you wish. Quarter the tomatoes and roughly chop the basil. Once the pancetta is fried and the pasta is cooked and drained, add the pancetta to the pasta. Make sure to keep the “sauce” moist by adding olive oil. Then add the tomatoes. Stir the mixture until the tomatoes have wilted a tad bit for a little bit less of a bite. Add the basil. Remove from heat. And enjoy!

This dish is amazing with a dry wine by its side as well as some garlic bread, which we all know I love.

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Behold those colors, the colors of Italy. The flavors and textures are also reminiscent of Italy. The salty pancetta with the sweet tomatoes just balances so perfectly.

This dish is a true favorite among my friends. Such a great Italian twist on an American dish.

A Little Bite More of Chicago

When I posted about Chicago a few posts ago, I decided to save the best for last. The Little Goat is my last feature of Chicago. My family and I found this place by way of a happy accident. Our original choice had a two hour wait, so needless to say, we moved on to the opposite corner of the street.

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And boy, were we happy for the change! The Little Goat is a newer restaurant in the neighborhood known for great food in Chicago, near the West side. It is an updated twist on the old fashioned diner, with modern décor and a wildly eclectic menu complete with a Kobe burger and Elvis waffles.

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Me being me, I was in the mood for a burger. The Mushroom was my burger of choice. And check out that cross-section. Juicy and delicious with a melty cheese sauce in every bite. Let’s all just marvel of the beauty of that cross-section.

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I had the pleasure of trying every thing else my party of seven had ordered. The Patty Melt was one for the books. The Mac and Cheese was decadently cheesy. My brother got the Springy Shrimp and Pork Belly, an interesting mixture of noodles, pork and shrimp on a bed of veggies. I was skeptical at first, but marveled at the revolution of flavor that entered my mouth. Lastly, my sweet tooth was satisfied by the slightest bite of the Fat Elvis Waffles. Waffles meant for only the king himself. Peanut butter waffles topped with bananas, peanut-butter butter and bacon maple syrup. A bite is all you need full of rich sweet flavors.

Below, from left to right, soon-to-be step brother-in-law, step sister, younger brother, step-brother and older brother. There are two more kids. 7 total!

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This restaurant lends itself to a whole post on its own, definitely one for the books. If ever in Chicago, check out this place, especially the rooftop dining in the summertime! You won’t be able to decide what to get but you won’t regret it either.

Palani with My Mommie

So let me tell ya about my momma. Every week, she makes the three-hour trek up interstate 81 and 64 to lovely RVA, where I go to school. Why the trek? She works as the Executive Director of the Virginia Museum of Architecture and Design. This past year, she has also served as the president of the American Institute of Architects. And she’s kind of a boss.

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Our favorite thing to do whenever she comes to Richmond is have dinner dates. As we’ve been doing this for two and a half years now, we have definitely picked out some of our go-to places. The first I am going to divulge is Palani Drive. A vegetarian friendly sandwich and wrap joint up in the West End of Richmond. And we’ve been coming since I moved here.

They have some odd combinations for the their wraps and they even smoothies. But this place has one unexpected specialty, quesadillas. First time I went, I tried the black bean variation. The last time we went, we went with my stepbrother and his best friend.

This last time, I went big. The Portabella and Brie quesadilla. This thing was dripping with cheese so you know I was happy. It had portabella mushrooms, brie, spinach, and Monterey jack with a side of herbed potatoes. The flavors worked so well together. The brie and Monterey jack melted oh so perfectly. And the herbed potatoes were hard to stop eating.

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This time with my mommie, with company or not, is one of my favorite times of my week. She’s one of my best friends and when catching up is over good food, how could it not be my favorite?