07 Aug 2014 3 Comments
Hey there sweet family,
In the most recent “Well, isn’t that Special?” blog I mentioned that Rowland and I often go out to eat on impulse.
Last night I discovered what “impulse” really means: im-pulse, noun:
Ok, I might have exaggerated about desperately needing a pineapple martini – any kind of martini would do. Cheers!, to Rowland for having a pineapple one waiting for me when I got home! “I Luh Ya Papi” 😉
Before stumbling in the door after work, I first had to plan our special dinner and then shop for it. As I drove home the conversation in my head went something like this, “Idiot!! What made you decide to do this blog in the first place?? You’re tired! Instead of planning and shopping you could be going to Milton‘s … ” Aha! Lightbulb moment! Milton’s Pizza & Pasta would be the inspiration for our special Wednesday night dinner!
Milton’s is a family-style restaurant that’s been in Raleigh since 1983. They recently opened another location in Wake Forest. Milton’s offers specials almost every night of the week. On Wednesdays it’s 1/2 off a bottle of wine (average price after discount is ~$10) and draft beers for $3.25.
Huh? Why, yes, they *do* have a food special on Wednesdays too – free salad bar with the purchase of any pasta dish. 🙂
The pasta dish I decided to try to re-create was:
Pasta New Orleans – Hot and spicy! Shrimp and Italian sausage sautéed with onions and green bell peppers in a spicy, sweet marina. Served with penne pasta. $14.99/person; $29.98 for 2 diners. Adding (conservative guess) 2 draft beers and a bottle of wine brings the total to $45.48 not including tax and tip.
The items I shopped for at Lowes (gotta spread the grocery shopping love around) were cottage cheese, penne pasta, a large green pepper, ice berg salad mix in a bag (don’t judge me!), pull-apart Italian bread, fresh shrimp, New Orleans style sausage, and beer brats with cheddar cheese. The total for those items for the meal was $18.30.
Everything else we needed, we had at home. The happy little blended family of ingredients looked like this:
A few points about this dinner:
1. Milton’s offers a giant salad bar of 40 items. However, we only eat a few things on it. Rowland loads his plate with iceberg lettuce and as many vegetables as he can get away with without looking like a character in a Fruit of the Loom commercial. I like Jello and cottage cheese. <<blush>> I know, I know, that’s so Granny … but I like it. And I love/trust you so much that I don’t mind being (as we say in Bachelor Nation) vulnerable. 🙂
2. I wasn’t sure the pasta would be Hot and spicy! enough for Rowland. One advantage of cooking at home was that I could saute the peppers and onions in olive oil infused with chilis – yum! I was also able to side-step the fact that I don’t like shrimp or New Orleans style sausage by putting beer brats with cheddar cheese on my plate. You can take the girl out of Wisconsin, but you can’t take the Wisconsin out of the girl! ( aside: Go, Packers!! )
3. The best thing about cooking this dish at home was that we were able to use cucumbers, tomatoes and peppers grown in containers on our patio in both the salad and pasta. Forget Farm to Fork – the Planter to Plate ™ movement starts right here, right now!! Are you with me, Peach Corps???
The result of our Milton’s-esque special dinner epic was Paradise Found:
Oddly enough, though, after all the shopping, planning, cooking, eating … and a pineapple martini, Endless River beer and 2 glasses of wine … I was still tired.
Well, isn’t that special?
Take care and know that you are loved,