Pretty/ugly food

Two of some of the best meals I’ve had in quite a while I had yesterday. One, my lunch, cost about $30 with appetizer, main and dessert. Just my meal, but served on a shady patio with bubbling fountains and outdoor lights, ladies who lunch, and a setting for the see-and-be-seen. Eaten with my wonderful mother.
The other? Almost free, since all ingredients were leftovers, served on mismatched, chipped plates, burned edges, surrounded by baby clothes and boxes, and eaten with my darling husband.
And you know what? Both were incredibly great, if not opposite ends of the food-presentation spectrum.
I had lunch with mom at The Magic Pan in the Upper Valley. I’d never been there, but I’m so glad we chose an overcast day, sitting out on the patio, and sampling such wonderful food as tabbouli salad, Mediterranean chicken pita sandwiches, and Key Lime/Macadamia pie. To die for. The restaurant uses the freshest ingredients, the rare microgreens and doesn’t slop on salad dressing (in my case, mango/black pepper dressing) like it’s going out of style. This restaurant is ALL about style and presentation, making each dish look like a work of art, a visually enticing, inviting meal. The high price is well worth it, if even all you’re paying for is atmosphere and the visual effect.
Dinner, on the other hand, was typical Amanda. Food … lots of it … usually monochrome and using whatever’s left to be used, on chipped plates and not really “going together” as the perfect meal. Take for example last night. I made meatloaf, tomato/basil rice, a cabbage salad with lunch’s leftover tabbouli salad mixed in, and old Mexican bollilo rolls reincarnated by use of the microwave and a quick oven browning. And you know what? Christian (very, very hard to please) had three servings of my meatloaf, and even picked at the crumbling parts after we’d finished eating. It wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t a visual delight, but it was damn good, and I’m damn proud! 😉
My meatloaf basically consisted of about half a pound of ground beef, half a cup of ketchup, a cup of Scottish oats (I love the texture), grated zucchini, grated onion, about half a cup of teriyaki sauce, half an envelope of taco seasoning and about 2 ounces of sliced asadero cheese mixed in. Baked it at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes and served it with brown rice made with veggie broth, chile powder, fresh basil, tomatoes, a hint of dried mint and butter; and a cabbage salad with leftover tabbouli.
I had the best of both worlds yesterday… both the frou-frou Junior League lunch hot spot and cozy at home with “brown” food glopped on a plate. Couldn’t have been happier with both!!


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