Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Dining at David Paul's in Maui

My first Diva Review! Sambuca Jazz Cafe

This weekend’s dining delight?
Sambuca Jazz Café in LoDo

The atmosphere is dark and sultry. The designer Holly Forsthe’s vision is incredible. The décor melts perfectly with the smooth jazz and raspy blues floating from the stage.
Exposed brick, mustard yellow hand trawled walls, dark wood fixtures, glowing chrome light fixtures, the warm glow of candles. Rich yet funky. To add to the décor, the walls are lined with Siberian tiger print seating, rod iron sculptures and smoked mirrors.

The service definitely makes my top 10 list. If I didn’t know any better, I would think our server Carley owned the place, her warm presence and extensive knowledge of the menu made her the crème de la crème of servers.

Enough fluff, let’s eat!

We began our meal with the “Dueling Tuna” featuring ahi seared tuna & tuna Tartare
The ahi seared was in fact seared to perfection, seared in a pepper rub which made a perfect balance warm buttery tuna w/a kick of pepper. The rub embraced the fresh & tender ahi tuna like long lost friends lost in an embrace.

The tartare was well not top top, the tuna was over cooked (who cooks Tartare anyway?), minced so small it very well may have come from a can. It was overpowered with so many herbs and spices I couldn’t distinguish a single taste…well except the taste of yuck!
In this duel the ahi wins hands down.
Diva’s Dish: Ahi 8/10 Diva Stars; Tartare ½/10 Diva Stars

Next up “Shrimp & Crab Bisque”. The rich bisque rolled over the tongue, tantalizing the taste buds with a warm comfort that was somewhat new and exciting. The base was a little too crabby for my liking, but still had good depth once you got through the crab. The rich buttery base was full of large pieces of crab meat and shrimp.
The body & aroma of this rich bisque made it worth every calorie.
Diva’s Dish: 6/10 Diva Stars

On to the main event! “Seared Scallops on Risotto Coins”
The scallops were placed on 1½ inch tall risotto towers, beneath these beautiful towers were tiny rivers of smoked tomato cream sauce. Floating in the river where beautiful asparagus tips, rolled in sesame seeds.
The scallops were seared to perfection, they had that melt in your mouth buttery texture, most places keep you longing for. The risotto was warm, full bodied and rich with flavor, the smoked tomato cream sauce was rich yet surprisingly light. The asparagus tips grilled with sesame seeds were crisp and flavorful. This dish was worth every calorie & earns a
Diva’s Dish: 9/10 Diva Stars.

So the lowdown on LoDo’s Sambuca?
Smooth music & Jazzed up food make Sambuca a must eat!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Let the Picky Eating Begin!

I was born a picky eater.
In my childhood being a picky eater meant a hatred of foods and a refusal to eat a long list of items, by age 4 I had my very own black list. This black list included my hatred of condiments, ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise. Also on the black list of my childhood: cauliflower, canned vegetables, canned fruit, french fries, nuts, fish, potato chips and candy with the exception of Reese peanutbutter cups and Hershey’s with almonds.

In my teens I black listed foods like peanut butter, hamburger, tuna, wild meat, such as deer, elk and moose, and pudding. Items like mayonnaise, canned fruit and canned vegetables and potato chips remained on the black list.

Thankfully, my parents did not believe in force feeding. If I didn’t want to eat it I didn’t have to, so long as I tried it (this usually invoked a reenactment of the old Life Cereal commercial “try it Mikey, you’ll like it”). All in all this sampling process has proved to be a great thing, it provided just enough tolerance to try any food “just once” and the knowledge that if food isn’t worth eating, it isn’t considered a waste if you don’t eat it.

This sampling approach to food has created many food phases, including a love of brussel sprouts through most of my teen years…(which turned into a severe aversion in adulthood)

I still have my black list (which is much to long to share here), but my pickiness has become more of a discriminating taste. Now, instead of black listing tuna, I black list canned tuna, frozen tuna, tuna casserole, tuna salad and poorly prepared tuna of all sorts. My food philosophy? If it’s not good don’t eat it. The human body can go days without food, that’s what it was made to do. So why eat bad food? I’ll never understand…

My love – hate relationship with food has made me sort of a food snob, no not snob – critic – no not critic, aficionado? no more like a diva, yes, a dining diva. So here I begin my tales of dining in Denver, Diva Style.