Heavenly Bites

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I love the Blue Angel Cafe in South Lake Tahoe, California, and I was really excited to get to eat there again this winter. It’s been a couple of years, and I missed their innovative and veg-friendly menu. This time, I ordered their Butternut Squash and Walnut Ravioli (pictured above). It was really good, with just a light butter sauce and some walnuts and parmesan flakes on top. The ravioli were filled with the butternut squash, and the whole dish was very flavorful and mild. To drink, I got the hot cocoa (pictured below), which (like their coffees) comes from the Alpen Sierra Coffee Roasting Company — just one example of Blue Angel’s dedication to local, natural, and organic foods. The food and service were so good that I went back the next day and got…

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…the buffalo mozzarella, tomato, and avocado sandwich (pictured below) with a side of the quinoa, served cold. It was just as delicious as it sounded, and I really enjoyed the quinoa salad. If you’re ever in South Lake Tahoe, you really should try to get in to Blue Angel. They won’t disappoint you, and they have the friendliest staff around. Plus, there’s a stone fireplace and some couches where you can get some work done if you find yourself needing a place to hole up and hop online.

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Blue Angel Cafe on Urbanspoon

Chow On This

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Some friends took me to Chow Food + Bar in Lafayette, California, and I loved it. To start with, while we waited for our table, they had a little grocery area with all sorts of great cheeses, desserts, baked goods, and beer for us to look at (and we got some beer while we waited). It was so much better than sitting in a waiting area or, even worse, wandering around outside in the cold with one of those stupid vibrating coasters in your pocket. When we were seated, we ordered the Arancini (pictured below), which were absolutely delicious. They were perfectly moist inside, but still nice and crispy on the outside…and not too rich, as arancini can be. For my entree, I ordered the Organic Vegetable Noodles¬†with tofu, squash, and broccoli in a chili-citrus-miso-sesame sauce. I couldn’t really imagine what that sauce would taste like, but it was truly a taste adventure. It was sweet and spicy, and warmed me through and through. I so badly wanted to keep eating even when I was already full because it was just such a creative and interesting flavor explosion. Most of Chow’s menu was really innovative, and they use a lot of organic and natural ingredients, which I always appreciate. If you’re in the area and are looking for a unique and fresh meal, you should swing by Chow and give ’em a try.

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Chow Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Italian twist

photo by Anne Jansen

For my birthday, my husband took me to a small restaurant near where we live: Giorgio’s Italian Restaurant. It all began with this little house salad…leaps and bounds above a standard iceburg-based boring salad, this one had pine nuts and freshly sliced asiago cheese and was drizzled with a pleasant vinegar concoction. Simple but satisfying. And then came the entree: fried cheese ravioli. Fried? you ask? Why yes, fried. I’ll admit to being somewhat afraid right before digging in, but once I tasted it I was sold — this odd twist on a classic Italian dish was actually very good! Throw in the house-made marinara sauce and you have what I had: a hearty Italian treat.

photo by Anne Jansen

irish surprise

I ended up eating at the Claddagh Irish Pub in downtown Columbus purely by accident. I’d driven downtown to eat elsewhere, only to discover that restaurant was closed. Upon leaving, still seeking a good eatery, I happened upon the Claddagh (which I’ve heard about because of its use by fans of the Columbus Crew) and decided to give it a try. I was pleasantly surprised by their unusual menu. I tried out the fruit and cheese plate (pictured below), which was admittedly limited but also very good (and only $3).

photo by Anne Jansen

And of course, the main course: mac and cheese. It was creamy and cheesy…the perfect comfort food. The bread crumbs on top gave it a nice texture, and the use of corkscrew pasta as opposed to elbow pasta was really refreshing. It was the perfect meal for a rainy day, and the servers were friendly and attentive. A good Magic 8 Ball would say “chances are good” I’ll end up here again.

photo by Anne Jansen

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