Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Speaking Up About Dining Out

After traveling to eastern ND/northwestern MN for the New Year's Day weekend (remember this and this?), we're back in Dickinson and back to work and school. Classes for Susan and the girls started up again yesterday; and although classes don't start at the university until next week, I'm back to work, too, hoping to be ready for the new semester by the time I have to teach in a few days! I was in the office yesterday, and I met with some university colleagues in Bismarck this morning . . . and made it back home before the snow and increasing winds made the roads too difficult to travel.

But can we just talk for a minute about tasty meals at chain restaurants? I know that some people look down their noses at such establishments; and, to be sure, there is some mighty fine food to be had at high-class restaurants with trained chefs on staff, as well as at down-home cafés and diners at which "from scratch" recipes are the norm. I realize that many items at chain restaurants are made in kitchens located at corporate headquarters and then shipped frozen to individual restaurants for the cooks to reheat, plate, and send out to the table. But, dang, I had some tasty food in the last coupla days!
  • On our way home on Sunday, our family ate dinner at Olive Garden in Fargo. Suzanna and I shared the manicotti formaggio with shrimp--cheesy, creamy, salty, seafoody goodness. Paired with the always-delicious salad (gotta love their dressing) and hot garlicy bread sticks, it was a wonderful meal.
  • Before I left Bismarck today, my colleagues took me out for dinner at Carino's. I had a dinner-sized portion of the baked cheese tortelloni, each bite a delectable combination of rich cheeses and savory tomato sauce. They always serve each table a piping hot, crunchy loaf of bread for ripping apart and dipping in olive oil mixed with herbs and spices. After a productive and heartening morning work session with two terrific colleagues, that meal was the perfect followup and sendoff.

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