Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Johnny Carino's

Sorry I have not been posting. It is a combo of a heavy workload, personal things that I had to do and being under the weather in a manner of speaking. This heat has sucked the energy out of me. It takes awhile for me to adapt. I am near the end of the process and feeling much more energetic. A couple of weeks back one of my group had a birthday and our mutual friend set up a meal at Johnny Carinos. It was well attended. I did not bring in my camera as I find it is distracting at such event and any time there are more than about 5 other people I cannot get the shots I want.

When dinning at these pseudo-Italian places, there are few things that I really like. But I do have favorites and strategys. This time I followed my sister's one of only ordering appetizers. Fortunately the ones here are so big they are a meal. I started off with a new salad they have, Italian Wedge. Applewood smoked bacon, candied pecans, gorgonzola, roma tomatoes, apple slices with roasted garlic ranch. A wedge of berg lettuce smothered with an excellent dressing with all the extras adding flavor. You got smoky, nutty, sweet tangy, tart etc in each bite. This is a keeper and I hope they keep it on the menu. The server was also kind enough to charge the lower price when it is gotten with an entree.

The appetizer that I got I have gotten several times before. As I said this one is a meal onto itself as it would feed 6 as an appetizer. Shrimp Scampi with Garlic Toast. Pan sautéed with roasted garlic, white wine butter sauce and roma tomatoes. What makes this a winner is the fact that the bread here has improved 1000% since they first open. At first the bread was the worst type of grocery store Italian in the world. No crust and dense and gummy. Yick. Somewhere along the line they changed . Now while not superb it is edible. Nice crust and crumb. Here they toast it with garlic butter. Fits perfectly in this dish. You get 6 jumbo or 12 large shrimp depending what they have in house in a decent garlic butter sauce. It comes in a bowl. In the center is a pile of chopped roma tomatoes with a basil chiffonade on top surrounded by the sauce. Six diagonally cut slices of Italian bread are placed leaning on the bowl rim and into the sauce then the shrimp layered into the whole. The shrimp are not overcooked and placed on top of the sauce soaked bread are delicious. They give enough sauce to soak all the bread and the if you so desire as I do you put the tomato on top of the shrimp. This bite results in something better than sum of the parts. I hope they keep this on for a long time.

For dessert I get what I always get and if you know me at all you know what it is. Tiramisu. My theory on Tiramisu is the same as some on sex. They is no bad Tiramisu. Some are better than others. This place does an above average one. It is a classic interpretation. Although the next time I may have to try the Mascarpone Bread Pudding.


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