Sunday, January 29, 2006

The Pillars of the Earth

By Ken Follet

This novel is not a recent read for me, but one I read over the summer. I wanted to add another book entry however, before January ends. I also really loved this book and wanted to include it on my blog.

The story begins with the hanging of a thief in a public square. The scene is described with loads of detail and imagery. The author, however, does not fill you in on who the man is who is being hanged, nor does he tell you anything about the other individuals who are present at the execution. There is definately a mystery in this scene, and Ken Follet hooks the reader in right away.

The book really centers around a monastery in Kingsbridge, England and the building of a beautiful cathedral. The monastery is run down and bankrupt when the reader is first introduced to the little town of Kingsbridge and its people. However, the Prior Phillip, who takes over after the old Priory dies, raises the monastery back to grandeur.

Pillars of the Earth is very rich with characters and history. The novel takes place during the 10th century and talks a great deal about the politics of the time and the Kings of England, which can be very confusing, but also very interesting.

There are a great deal of characters in this novel. I do tend to get pretty involved in the characters when I read a book, but I really had a wide range of feelings for these characters. Some I loved and could not wait to read about, others I hated and could not wait for them to get what they deserved!

This is a long book, but I highly recommend it! I don't think I have ever read a book as quickly as I read this one! (I'm talking no less than 100 pages a night!)I hope if you pick it up you enjoy it as much as I did!

Thursday, January 19, 2006

The Columbus Fish Market

Always a perennial favorite, Adam and I went to The Columbus Fish Market on Monday night. As always we both started with the Lobster Bisque. Though the Bisque at Fish Market is not a true bisque in that it has pieces of lobster in it and technically a bisque should be smooth, but it is truly wonderful. It is creamy and rich and an excellent starter!

I had trouble deciding what to order so I went with the Market trio, which consists of Blackened Mahi Mahi, Cedar Roasted Salmon, and Shang Hai Scallops. I had to modify it a bit though, as I have been ordering scallops a lot lately and wanted a change of pace, so I had Shang Hai Tuna instead of scallops. The blackened Mahi Mahi was interesting. It was pretty spicy so if you are not into spicy I would suggest avoiding anything blackened. However, it was not only spicy but it had a nice flavor to it as well! I hate things to be spicy just for the sake of spicy and lack in flavor! Next, I ate the cedar roasted salmon. This preparation of salmon has a little mushroom salad on top with goat cheese. I really liked the goat cheese they use. It is very creamy but does not have the strong pungent goat cheese flavor. The salmon did need a little salt, but otherwise it was juicy and flaky and yummy.

However, as this never ceases to amuse Adam, I saved the best for last, the Shang Hai tuna. (yes, I eat my food in a particular order) I am confident in saying that the Shang Hai preparation is truly their best preparation! I ordered the tuna medium rare, which was an experience for me because I have never actually ordered tuna from a restaurant and was not aware the you choose how much you want it cooked. The tuna was awesome! I was amazed at how meaty this fish is!! I actually felt like I was eating steak! I loved it and next time I go I am not messing around with the trio, I am just going to stick with the Shang Hai tuna.

As the Shang Hai is the best preparation, Adam ordered the Shang Hai salmon. It was the second time he has ordered it, and he says that it was just as good as the first. He was a bit lost on whether to order the Atlantic Salmon or the Wild King Salmon. Our server steered him toward the Atlantic. It was a bit chewy and too mild. He knows now that in the future he should order the Wild King. No matter what you put with the Shang Hai, the sauce and sticky rice are always well worth it! (As you can tell we really like the Shang Hai)

The Columbus Fish Market is always a great choice when picking a restaurant to go to in Columbus. The service is always great and the bread is awesome!! We have eaten at some very nice restaurants in other cities, such as New York, but we have found that it is hard to find a combination of great food and excellent service that we always seem to experience at the Fish Market.

In Her Shoes

So here is when the "reading" part of Reading Cuisine kicks in. I just finished reading the book In Her Shoes by Jennifer Weiner. The novel centers around the lives of 2 sisters. Rose is the older responsible sister. Rose is slightly over weight and dorky with very little fashion sense. What does lacks looks, she makes up for in brains. She is a an intelligent and very successful lawyer. Maggie on the other hand is not so successful. She is flighty, irresponsible, and has had dozens of different jobs. Maggie is also very beautiful and irrestitable to men. Both girls have less than perfect lives and struggle with the void in their life from their mother's death.

The novel is told from the perspective of a couple of characters. Not only do we, as the reader, read from Maggie's side and from Rose's side, but we also read from the side of the estranged grandmother, Ellen. After her daughter's suicide, Ellen was cut out of Rose and Maggie's lives becuase of the silent anger from her son-in-law. Therefore, much of Ellen's side of the story deals with her own regrets.

All in all, I enjoyed this book, though it did take me some time to get into it. It is definatley a book for sisters. Though not everyone has a younger, irresponsible sister or an older, dependable sister, but it is mainly a story of the bond and connection that sisters share. I did not enjoy the character of Maggie very much because I really got angry at how selfish she was. The last 3 chapters had me in tears! I am not sure that I would recommend this book to everyone. I would recommend it to a female reader, maybe the young professional type since that is where Rose and Maggie are in their lives and I think it was written for a younger generation.

The movie In Her Shoes, which was released this past year, was based on the novel. I have not seen the movie yet, but now that I have read the book I am anxious to the movie. I am curious to see how much they changed for the movie.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Moretti of Arlington

Last Saturday night, after I had spent all day trying on wedding dresses, Adam and I went to dinner at Moretti's of Arlington at Tremont Center. Moretti's is an intimate, neighborhood Italian restaurant with a very "trendy" atmosphere with rich reds and blues. The restaurant's setting would be romantic, except that is always seems to be a bit noisy inside. Upon sitting down, we noticed that they bought new chairs. The old ones were very uncomfortable. The new chairs are better, but not by much.

Adam and I both started with a beer. Moretti's has an Italian beer on tap called Moretti, fitting right? If you like exotic beers, you would probably like Moretti. It has a wonderful floral aroma and flavor to it. It is much better on tap than in the bottle, as is usually the case with beer

Since we both ordered entrees, we started with our choice of the soup or salad. We both opted to start with the wedding soup. I love wedding soup and I very much enjoy the wedding soup at Moretti. My only complaint about the soup is that the meatballs are a little small and they are the best part!

For an entree I chose the Veal Moretti, which is a Veal cutlet breaded and stuffed with provolone cheese, served over a bead of fettucine with mushrooms in a cream sauce. Moretti's has 6 different preparations that you can choose with Veal or Chicken. I have had most of these at one time or another and all very good. My only complaint about the Veal Moretti I had on Saturday was that the cheese in the center of the veal was not completely melted, or rather it was and then it sat in the kitchen for a couple of minutes before it was actually served to me. But I dont think that is usually the case there.

Adam on the other hand had one of the specials. It was veal sausage links prepared a particular way, however Adam chose to have in prepared in a spicy tomato sauce with peppers and onions. He loved it! He really enjoyed the flavor on the veal sausage. He is on a spicy anything kick these days so I am sure he loved the tomato sauce just because it is spicy.

Dinner at Moretti was enjoyable! It is a great choice if you live in Arlington and dont want to go too far from home for dinner! We have taken carry-out from there quite a few times and it works well as carry-out also! I recommend it the next time you are in the area.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

The Birth of Reading Cuisine

Welcome to the first post of my blog!! I plan on making Reading Cuisine a blog about books and food. I will be posting reviews about books I have read. My book reviews will most likely center around fiction and literature titles, as those are the types of books I usually like to read. However, you can expect to occasionally find a comment on a cookbook.

I also love to cook and eat, therefore I also plan on including restaurant reviews and such.
Since I live in Columbus, Ohio my reviews will focus on Columbus restaurants. If my travels take me around the globe, I will include my experiences abroad in my posts.

Welcome and please keep reading!!