Monday, 23 May
India House

1038 SW Morrison St
Both: had the Vegetarian Thali

Going to India House was actually an accident. We had friends in from far away parts, and thought it would be nice to take them to the restaurant we usually order from through D-dish. Well, silly me got India Grill and India House mixed up. Turns out it was serendipitous.

We walked in at about 7:45pm with a party of seven. The restaurant was completely full...except for one table suitable for a party of seven. A good sign. We chatted and discussed dishes, and the server was very helpful with someone new to Indian food, who only knew she didn't like what Americans think of as curry. She got a tasty biryani.

The Spousal Unit and I both had one of their little combo platters--thalis. It included a sampling of five dishes plus appetizers, naan, and dessert. My only complaint is that the dhal was to ginger-heavy. Otherwise, the food was all solidly delicious.

So now we have a place to duck into when we're downtown, and don't feel like Italian.

Sunday, 08 May
Il Piatto

2348 SE Ankeny St.
Ordered through
Appetizer: Bruschetta alle Verdure
Me: Ravioli di Salmone Fumato, Chocolate Torte
Spousal Unit: Risotto al Funghi, Orange and Chocolate Cassatta

Il Piatto is not for the faint of taste. With very strong flavors, this Italian is for the gourmand. Which, sadly, Spousal Unit and I are not so much.

The Bruschetta all Verdure was garlic bread with three different toppings--a bean spread, a warm spinach salad, and a marinated tomato salad. The white bean spread was very much like hummous with beans. Very strong and warm. The spinach salad included fully as much chopped garlic as spinach, and the tomato salad looked like an inviting salsa. The first two tasted very strongly of raw garlic, and were a bit too much for me. The SU liked all three, and made them his dinner because...

...there is such a thing as too much mushroom. The Risotto al Funghi was far too strong, and was an exceedingly unappetizing grey color. I know one shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but with food, appearance counts!

My smoked salmon ravioli in a lemon cream sauce was done perfectly, but again, a little strong for my taste. A true foodie would no doubt have absolutely loved it. The ravioli was a surprise--I expected cheese or another filler with salmon there for flavor, when in fact the filling was salmon all the way. And excellent salmon at that. The capers were a bit overdone, and certainly overwhelming with the already quite tangy lemon cream sauce.

What saved this whole meal was dessert. Il Piatto's chocolate torte is the stuff of dreams. Perfectly balanced, rich, with a flavor that keeps changing and deepening as a bite is held in the mouth. I also got a taste of the Spousal Unit's Orange and Chocolate Cassatta, which was much lighter, and a well-balanced blend of citrus and chocolate. I believe I detected a hint of hazelnut as well.

We will probably order again, but only dessert. Our peasant palates were overwhelmed by the rich flavors of Il Piatto.

Monday, 02 May
Three-bean almost dhal soup

Tonight I finally cooked in our new kitchen. I went for a variation on one of our favorite soups. I also went easy, with lots of organic canned stuff, since there is still a lot of work to do on the house. 'Twas mighty yummy:

2 tbl olive oil
3 garlic cloves, crushed and chopped
1 onion, sliced
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp garam masala
tsp chili powder
tsp ground cumin
tsp salt
c lentils
2 cans organic diced tomatoes
1 can organic garbanzo beans
1 can organic black beans
1 c veggie broth
1 can coconut milk

Heat the oil in the bottom of a soup pot on med-high. Add the onions, cooking until soft. Add garlic and spices, and stir for another minute. Dump in everything else, and stir well. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for about 30 minutes. Buzz it with a stick blender until it's a bit smoother (if you don't have one, don't worry about it), but has a few chunks. Serve with baked tortilla chips--spoons are only for scooping on to chips!

Because we thought it sounded good, we added a can of corn to what was leftover. This will be dumped over rice and taken for lunch. Mmmmm.