Monday, December 8, 2008

Nothing "Old" About This Spaghetti

Just over a week until I fly home for Christmas. Woot! Can't wait to see the folks and my friends. It's kind of sad that I haven't lived in California for over a decade (other than a brief stint in '99) and yet I still consider it home.

But this is a food journal, so how does this relate to food? Well, as I'll be gone for 3 weeks, I need to a) not buy any new perishable food; and b) use up the perishable food I already have. This is not a pretty thing, as mostly it's about eggs, eggs, eggs. I could probably make something "real" with the ingredients I have on hand, but it would probably yield too many leftovers. It's also a good excuse to go out to eat (which I love doing), because I can get single servings at restaurants (or double at most, usually).

So today for lunch I went to the Old Spaghetti Factory,because I had a sudden craving for their browned butter and mizithra cheese spaghetti. It's been so long since I've been there that they changed their menu -- no more daily specials! Alas. I always enjoyed looking at those, debating about getting whatever was on special that day rather than my usual. (I think I deviated once.) Luckily, they still had my usual -- the Manager's Favorite, which is a combination of 2 of their classic pasta sauces. I always get the meat sauce and aforementioned browned butter and mizithra cheese. I had the same debate I typically have with myself when I order this; I considered not getting meat sauce and getting mizithra only, but I've never been brave enough to do it. I fear it will be too rich for me, and I do enjoy the flavor combination of the tangy tomato sauce mixed with the deep, rich taste of the browned butter and mizithra cheese.

One of the changes they made is that lunch entrees are now part of their "complete meal," which includes the entree, soup or salad, bread, choice of beverage, and dessert (previously, this was only reserved for dinner, while lunch was served a la carte). Not too bad for $9.99, though honestly, not great either. Pasta's not exactly a costly expense. Still, a delightful and satisfying meal.

First, the bread, a fairly sour sourdough. A whole loaf, even if you're just a party of one. It's been so long that I forgot to do this, but you can request garlic butter instead of plain. I should actually go here more during the winter, just to bring home the bread since I'm not making my own.

Next up, the salad. I got ranch dressing on the side. It's a fairly decent ranch, not the best I've had but certainly not the worst. It has a very nice texture that I enjoy. The greens today were not as good as I've had there before, but not bad.

Ahhh the main course and star of the whole event. The browned butter wasn't as strong today as it normally is, but the pasta was delicious nevertheless. I've never liked meat sauce in restaurants as much as I like the one I make myself, but OSF's is not bad, particularly with the mizithra cheese mixed with it.

A top-down shot of both sauces. Wow, I'm getting hungry all over again!

The end note is the spumoni, which was a little icy (rather than creamy) for my taste, but hit the spot after the heaviness of the pasta. Shown here with the hot tea I managed to neglect mentioning until now!

Overall, a homey, satisfying meal that keeps itself interesting with variety and a yumminess all its own.

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