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Beets + a BLTA – 3.26.11

Posted by Shannon on 03/27/2011

>> Realization: At times, food photography becomes the adult version of “playing with your food.” We sit at the table, organizing, building and recreating entertaining bites. Ultimately we will eat it, but it is almost an afterthought prioritized secondarily one we’ve secured the picture with quality angle, focus, lighting and focus.

But as an adult a few things change. When you’re preparing or paying for your own meal, the rules to: sit up straight, use utensils rather than your hands, or eat it all if you want dessert… they all fly to the wayside.  Eat whatever portion you want. Snap as many iPhone 4 HDR pictures as you deem proper at the table. (I believe, however, that tipping 20% for good service and “please” and “thank you”s transcend age. They are non-negotiables signifying class.)

I add one more change in my individual experience:  day-drinking at bunch stands in for the beverage “treat”  chocolate milk used to represent. My family was a 1% milk drinking clan. Rather, my sister and I drank milk at each & every weeknight dinner. Why?  Because we were the kids and my parents said so. High calcium content, strong bones and thanking my mom when I don’t have osteoporosis later in life were also top contending answers. But every so often, during a stray dinner at home or the occasional Friday elementary school hot lunch… my mom would o.k. adding Hershey syrup to our dinnertime glass, or a brown/white  Smith Brothers‘ carton instead of the teal/while one in the lunch line milk crates. (Yep mom, I really did listen when you said, “No, get 1% white milk today.”)

Onto yesterday’s meal…

>> Beet Salad: I gently inquired about ordering the off-menu beet salad. The salad is a dinner menu listing I saw while researching lunch selections online. After checking w/ the chef, a please and a thank you… success!

Catalina Kitchen Beet Salad

The fluttery arugula leaves and slightly sweet deep-purple beets crowded together on my fork with a nibble of smooth goat cheese.

Standard + Chioga (Italian Heirloom) Beets

The “pickled red & chioga beet salad” is presented over baby arugula with button-sized specks of goat cheese, dressed delicately with olive oil.

Standard + Chioga (Italian Heirloom) Beets

Waiters offer a dusting of freshly cracked pepper from their handheld mill when the dish is served at the table.

>> Bacon, lettuce, turkey, tomato & avocado sandwich: There is an older, outgoing couple, married at least five decades, who come into Catalina Kitchen each week. They split this sandwich made with extra-crispy bacon and order an iced tea to drink for him & a diet Coke for her. Curiosity piqued, I ordered mine, modified w/ wobbly bacon. I liked the texture they cooked the bacon to, the generous amount of avocado, and the texture/tang of the stone-ground mustard which was heaven.

Brunch entrée - BLTA with turkey roasted on a spit over an oven fire.

I’m a bread idealist, opining that bread should at most constitute 25% of any given burger or sandwich. I usually remove the top or bottom half of bun, bread, hoagie roll, or in this case the ciabatta. My determining factor to pick between the top or bottom piece? The one with the least sauce, spread, melted cheese, chutney, etcetera gets the ax. A knife-and-fork route was necessary to tackle this one. Otherwise, I can all but guarantee there’d have been an embarrassing few seconds where I drag the entire piece of bacon out of the sandwich during an excited bite, shooting lettuce bits onto the table and me.

Newly converted Dijon fan

Reduced bread enhances the flavorings here…

A proper forkful

A shout-out to the crispy, skinny fries in the silver cup to. I ordered them out of habit when I really wanted fruit. Nonetheless, the few I snagged were crisped up just right and I am pretty sure the seasoning was garlic salt.  I never thought I’d finish the sandwich heading into this brunch, plus I was glad the to-go box was a reason to ask for additional mustard on the side.

Whirlygig toothpick

>> Side note: While my instinct to nab the adorable, sturdy sauce pots remains (which held my maple syrup during a previous brunch of vanilla marscapone french toast)…

Lil Ketchup Pot

…instead I took solace in the entertaining new heat lamp when I picked up my car from valet.

Pickin' up the car to head home

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