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Friday, May 31, 2013

Random Posse Bites: Monster Artichokes, Enchiladas and Spanx

Random encounters abound with the Posse crew, so I will sum up a few over recent weeks..

Cafe Verona:  Our most recent Posse dinner was held at this Italian food mecca in Independence.  It was prom night, so we were surrounded with teens in taffeta once we were seated. We were also joined by Kiko's friend Fia from Sweden who seemed to stay mildly amused by our antics all night.   Cafe Verona has its interesting flourishes from the romantically significant padlocks on the patio gate to the two-story Botticelli mural painted behind the bar.  The historic feel of the building that was once a popular five-and-dime was also a plus. We were to learn (once we were armed with the white and red house sangrias) that the food is the thing, though, and we ravaged our way through much of it: from the grilled Jerusalem artichokes with lemon and panko to the luscious fig vinegarette with the house salad to the spicy, hearty Chicken Orecchiette pasta with addictive Rosa sauce and finally the marvelous Tartufo-style Italian ice cream dessert featuring two kinds of gelato dipped in a big chocolate ball.  What a sweet ending to an evening of fine Italian fare .

Jim's Enchilada Night:  Our beloved Carolyn had recently returned from her most recent rehab in Omaha and we reunited with her over Jim's marvelous green chile enchiladas and tamales.  He also made a creamy key lime cheesecake as an excellent finish and K and I complimented that with an assortment of wonderful cupcakes from one of downtown Excelsior Spring's newest businesses; DD's Cupcakes.  Carolyn seems more alert now as well as more amused by this funny group.  Apparently, I gave a peek of my boxer briefs under my shorts during dinner and Kiko asked me if I was wearing Spanx.  I vehemently denied it (even though they would probably come in handy) and Carolyn got just a bit too much amusement out of the Spanx teasing, if you ask me.  Aw, who am I kidding?  It is still such a pleasure to see that bright smile.

Finally, I have been oddly ignorant when it comes to artichokes.  Vegetarian Kiko has turned us onto them in various ways, including the grilled hors d'ouerves version on multiple Italian restaurant menus.  Recently, K and I met at Kiko's house for a simple but somewhat surprising dinner.  Paired with a glass of Danza Del Sol Cabernet Franc, we savored delicate steamed petals from giant artichokes she brought back from California dipped in a pesto sauce. Realizing that was all we were having, I was already envisioning what else I would be eating later, but as we continued munching, I found myself completely satisfied.  By the time we had dug into the meaty heart of the artichoke, I was completely full.  I had no idea the power of a single monster artichoke...how random!

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