maandag 27 juli 2009

the weekend of food

As you may have read in the plans of last post, last weekend we went out to dinner at Harvest, a Dim sum restaurant, or rather, an eatery, as calling it a restaurant is like saying MacDonalds is a restaurant or the FEBO with a set of tables and chairs is one. In my book that is totally ridiculous. Technically it is not wrong to call it that, but for me, a restaurant must have a certain cachet to be called one.

Still, it can be handy to think of joints like KFC en the Mac as restaurants as you can take unsuspecting folk out to restaurant dinner and treat them to a cheap burger with fries or a bucket of fried chicken. Others will be impressed at your generosity. Your dinner pals I'm sure, will not be contacting you again any time soon.

But on with Harvest. We've been to this eatery qite a few times and we have never been disappointed with their food. Besides full fledged chinese dishes, there are all sorts of dim sums to be ordered, fried, steamed, roasted etc. and the taste and quality are very good. This time we were in a bit of a rush because we had tickets for the cinema and had just 45 min. to gobble the food down. That meant we could not order loads of dims and take all evening to eat them.
We had steamed crab in seaweed, mixed fried dims (wonton, springrolls, triangles) steamed strips of sole stuffed with chicken.
We had not ordered this one before and we were more than pleasantly surprised. The strips of fish are wrapped around chicken meat and are placed in a steaming basket. When it is done, the dish is served with a chinese wine and ginger sauce. Excellent!
Further we had stuffed green peppers with pork and fried cassava cakes with dried prawns.

For desert we had deep fried sesame balls stuffed with stewed prunes.

Each dish has 3 dims, so that's more than enough for 2. 3 people could have happily eaten that and not left feeling hungry.
But, since it was just the 2 of us, we were glad there is such a thing as doggy bags.
The price is stunning. 31 euro for the lot. Endless pots of chinese tea are free.
I give it 7.8 chilipeppers as a restaurant and 8 as an eatery

The movie, Megane, which in Japanese means eye glasses, is certainly worth seeing if you are not addicted to action packed movies or soppy romances. There is no romance, no sex, no intrigues, no killing or fast cars tearing up the streets. It's a beautiful movie packed with humor that relaxes, makes you laugh and realise that life means taking the time to absorb what is around you, appreciating what is there, here and now.

On saturday we went to Rotterdam for an Italian meal in a restaurant, Napoli. This restaurant has been there for a very long time and always has a steady stream of customers. If you do not reserve a table, no way you can have dinner there in the weekends and quite often, this is the case during weekdays too.

In Den Haag, there is an Italian restauarnt called Imperio Romano, which like Napoli, is run by Italians. This is important, as many so called "italian" restaurants are italian only because they serve the pizza and pasta that everyone knows and are unable to come up with anything else. Why? Because the owners and cooks are in reality Turks or Moroccans. That does not mean the food is bad, but it is terribly limited.

But back to Napoli. In comparison to Imperio, Napoli is average. It does not have the finesse the other one has. But if you want a good Vitello Tonnato, arranci ( little deep fried balls of rissoto filled with cheese and/or ham) and a wide variety of pizzas and pastas, that is the place for you!
I must say, I was surprised to see arranci on the menu, as very few Italian restaurants have it. I expect the owner or the chef must come from Rome, as it is a typically Roman snack or starter, so I have been told.
In any case, We had arranci, miniestrone, pizza 4 stagioni and pizza bruscetta and grilled swordfish in lemon and white wine sauce.
The 4 stagioni was fine, as was the swordfish, but take my advice: NEVER EVER order a pizza bruscetta! It is a soppy pizza with an overpowering taste of oregano. Brrrrrr!
The reason I ordered it was that I'd not seen this one before. Now I know why. As far as I'm concerned, they can take it off the menu presto pronto!
Desert was gellato avocatti con espresso, which means: a ball of vanilla ice cream with a likeur of choice drowned in espresso. Actually very good indeed.
Napoli gets a 7

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