Sunday, January 24, 2010


Mr. Fo and I had a great dinner Friday night at Nobles for Charlotte Restaurant Week...Twice a year, participating restaurants in Charlotte have 3 courses for $30. It's a good deal, although we always end up spending more. ($140, thank you very much.) After our big night out on the town Friday (we were home by about 10 p.m.), we knew we would stay in Saturday night. How OLD are we?! Anyways, we invited one of my best friends Hillary over for dinner, and it was a 3 person party.

On the Menu at Cafe Fo:

Italian Platter of crostini, tomato and mozzarella stacks, and prosciutto

Fettuccine Alfredo with Asparagus

Spinach Salad with Champagne dressing, glazed walnuts, feta cheese and craisins

Individual Pudding Trifles

Just typing this makes me hungry. I think I will be repeating this menu tonight - that's the best thing about pasta - there are always leftovers.

Note that although Cafe Fo is NOT a fancy restaurant, we definitely fed 3 people for way under $140. Just saying.

First things first: Tomato/Mozzarella Prep

I know you are asking yourself, what IS this fabulous contraption that makes slicing tomatoes and mozzarella SO FUN? Well, it's a "Tomato/Mozzarella Slicer" by Mario Batali for Crate and Barrel. The good news is that Mario and his peeps invented this absolutely unnecessary, but absolutely amazing gadget. The HORRIBLE news is that this product is discontinued. I guess people don't find it necessary? They just use a regular "knife" or something ridiculous like that. Thank God for my mother-in-law Susan, who scoured Crate and Barrel's store inventory up and down the East Coast to find the last one ever made. (Okay, I don't know if its the last one ever made, but it makes for a better story.)

Simply slice your tomatoes/mozzarella. ( I like to use Roma tomatoes - they are smaller and cuter... that's right, tomatoes can be cute.) Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Add some thinly sliced prosciutto (Italian ham people) and little crostinis and voila... you have a gourmet appetizer. (NOTE: Prosciutto and Mozzarella from the "Italian Store" in Charlotte - actual name: Pasta and Provisions... their slogan... "Eat Pasta, Run Fasta..." I can tell you this is actually NOT true as I eat a lot of pasta and can barely run at all. But it's a cute slogan.)

As you can tell, I like to make the mozzarella/tomato slices into little stacks. I could have just eaten a boatload of this for dinner. But. I could not disappoint my 2 guests. (Party of 3, remember?)

I must admit, this is my go to salad (ingredients listed in menu above), I make it at least once a week. But it's so freaking good. You have to use Girard's Champagne dressing. If you don't have it on hand, don't even bother making the salad. Although maybe you could pour actual champagne on the salad. As I said in a previous post, add champagne to anything and it will rock. Try it and let me know.

For the entree, I made a super simple Fettuccine Alfredo recipe I found on (one of my favorite websites to get recipes). I don't typically love Fettuccine Alfredo because it is usually SO heavy, but this is super light and doesn't use that much cream. Plus it has asparagus in it so its practically a health food. You can find the recipe here. I wanted to add peas, too, but I forgot. Imagine if I had remembered the peas - it would have been really been a health food. Never mind the fact that the veggies are doused in cream.

For dessert, I was dying to use the individual trifle bowls I had just purchased online from Crate and Barrel. And no, you didn't read that wrong, I said Individual Trifle Bowls. For all you visual learners:

HOW CUTE ARE THESE? I knew I had to do these bowls justice, but I also wanted to do something easy that could be prepared in advance.
Here is what I came up with:

Chocolate Pudding Individual Trifles

1 package of Instant Jello Pudding

1 tub of Cool Whip

Crushed Graham Crackers

Step 1: Make Instant Pudding per directions on box (My unborn niece could do this, so you can too)

Step 2: Crush Graham Crackers

Step 3: Begin Layering. Graham Crackers first, then pudding, then cool whip. Repeat.

Garnish however you like. Shaved chocolate curls, fruit, nuts, etc. I used raspberry, graham crackers and a Pepperidge Farm Pirouette. These Pirouettes are heaven in stick form. I suggest you try them out.

I am telling you - make this dinner the next time you have a party of 3. Or if you are more popular than that, this would also work for a large crowd. I am off to eat the leftovers while watching football on the couch.

Food coma to ensue. Happy Sunday Night!


  1. I MUST have that tomato slicer. OMG. Amazing!

  2. Please tell me you were thinking of that Friends episode whilst making your trifles.

    AND, I'm stealing every recipe from your dinner. Was that pasta alfredo hard to make? I get intimidated by making sauces from scratch.

  3. Leighton - not that I am the type of girl that comments on her own blog - but let's face it... I am. Anyways - yes I was thinking of the Friends episode but no meat made it into the trifle ha. The alfredo was ridiculously easy... I promise. My only suggestion would be to add more heavy cream than the recipe called for. That was actually Hillary's suggestion and she was totally right.

  4. i make a salad almost exactly like that! except in mine i use glazed almonds (instead of walnuts) and girard's white balsamic vinaigrette. it's yummy!! :o)