When my sister sent me an email a few weeks ago saying that Jen and her husband, John, were coming to Salt Lake City June 23 on another book tour I was ecstatic. Really. I knew we had to go. The only real question was would my sister and I take my teenage daughter, who also loves Cake Wrecks. I was pretty conflicted. I love my kids, but I also love (read "need") to go places without them. I finally decided we needed to take her with us because the opportunity would probably never present itself again; it wasn't like she could just go next time.
We got to The King's English Bookshop in Salt Lake extra early so we could get dinner before the book signing party (and believe me, it's like a party). After dropping off our wreckplicas for the cupcake contest at the bookshop (more on that later) we walked two doors over and got a table at a gorgeous little place call Fresco Italian Cafe. I really wanted to sit on the patio, which was perfectly manicured with ivy-covered walls and bright flowers blooming in flower beds and hanging boxes, but was overruled by my daughter (you've got to let them choose sometimes). But our table was by some big windows so we had a great view of the beautiful patio.
The Fresco Italian Cafe is a very nice restaurant and not the typical place we frequent, so I poured over the menu, wanting to make sure I made the most of our visit. I am so often disappointed by what I order in restaurants (because I know I can make better food), but I knew dinner that night was going to be incredible. I was very excited.
After we ordered and before our dinner arrived, the chef sent us a "gift". It was a gorgeous little taste of radish slices, frisee, and a dressing that packed a punch. It was arranged on one end of the greatest rectangular plates (that I would love to have), and looked like something straight off of the set of Iron Chef. I'll happily take gifts like that anytime. It was so gorgeous, I wish I'd taken a picture. Sorry, you'll just have to take my word for it.
For my dinner I decided on the chef special of the day, Risotto della Sera: tomato risotto, green beans and fresh sweet corn, and a steak from Niman Ranch. Oh. My. Goodness. The risotto was perfectly cooked--toothsome and creamy--with a wonderful, bright tomato flavor. The green beans were delightfully al dente. And the steak, oh, the steak. Perfectly medium rare, the only way to eat a steak. The whole meal was divine. Absolutely divine.
My daughter got the Salmone Mediterranean, a pan-seared salmon fillet perched atop roasted broccoli raab, onion, and potato, with a lemon-caper vinaigrette. There were also some olives scattered on the plate. She let me taste the salmon, so I can vouch for her when she said it was very moist and not too strong. She wouldn't share the rest, though, so I had to just take her word for it that it was wonderful.
My sister got the Pollo Piccata Alla Maria, a chicken breast stuffed with asparagus and fontina cheese, and served with orzo pasta and a lemon-caper sauce. She gave me a taste and it was good, but I'm not a big fan of capers, so I definitely liked my dinner better. Truth be told, she did confess that she wished she'd ordered the steak and tomato risotto. I decided it was unkind to say, "Nee-ner, nee-ner, nee-ner."
Check back for part 2 of this post and to see what we entered in the Cake Wrecks cupcake contest. Did one of us win a prize?