Tag Archives: lunch

What bread plate is mine?

Tabletop place setting

Easy tips for setting your table, for every day!

When my kids were at home, we always ate our meals at the kitchen table, and if I was having a party, the meal would move to the dining room.  Somehow all that changed when the kids left for college.  There were times that it seemed like it was just too much effort to set the table – after all, it was “just us” –  and on occasion, we would find ourselves eating in front of the TV.

Not too long after the kids left for college, I decided that we would no longer be eating in front of the “boob tube.” We would return to the table where we could have a real conversation together, find out what went on during each of our days and get re-connected after a long day of work.

To be honest, my preference has always been to enjoy a nice meal and conversation around a table with my friends and family. That means setting the table! When you do it right, even your garden variety basic meal can be turned into something everyone enjoys. All you need to do is take the time to put everything in order on your tabletop.

Don’t be embarrassed though if you can’t remember where to put the bread plate and whether (or if) you should put out a soup spoon.  It can get very confusing and so many people get it wrong.  After twenty years of owning restaurants, the right place setting is practically tattooed on the inside of my eyelids. I still fight the urge to fold napkins when I’m at a friend’s home for dinner.

Always remember this one basic rule: set your table for the meal you’re having, not for a fancy party (unless of course, that’s precisely what you’ve planned). If you’re not having soup, don’t put out a soup spoon. If you’re not serving bread, don’t put out a bread plate. To be honest, unless you’re setting a formal table you don’t really need that bread plate anyway.

According to Emily Post, a place setting is an array of dishes and utensils and the dinner plate is the “hub of the wheel.” But, if your goal is to entertain friends and encourage conversation, don’t get too fancy.

I usually set an informal table. I like to “stack” my plates: dinner plate on the bottom, with salad plate on top (if I’m serving salad). Where I put the napkin depends on my mood – sometimes I put it under the forks (like my mother did), sometimes it’s folded on top of the dinner/salad plate, sometimes I use a napkin ring, and sometimes I put it in the water glass!  It just all depends on how I want the table to look that day.

Forks always go on the left of the dinner plate with the largest fork closest to the plate and then smaller ones next to that. Knives are placed to the right of the plate and spoons to the right of the knife. The sharp edge of all knives should be turned to face the plate.  Placing the sharp edge of the knife facing inwards dates back several hundred years when it was considered aggressive to place the sharp edge of the knife facing outwards.   The bread plate goes on the left, above the forks.

Place water, champagne, and wine glasses in a line on the right, just above the knife and spoons. And remember, the water glass is the first glass placed with champagne and wine glasses to the right of the water glass.

Remember, simplicity! Only set the pieces that you will use during the meal, but if you’re serving dessert, you can place the dessert fork above the plate (I like the way that looks). That means that if you’re not serving champagne, don’t put a champagne glass on the table.  I like to set coffee cups and dessert plates out only when it’s time – otherwise, the table gets way too cluttered, and on my table, all that extra stuff won’t leave any room for the actual food!

Just because you might be having a very casual BBQ outside, or serving hamburgers and hot dogs for dinner, and you’ve chosen to use heavy paper plates and plastic forks and knives to simplify clean up, doesn’t mean that setting all the pieces in their proper place on the table won’t make it feel special.  You might want to use string or ribbon as a napkin ring to dress it up just a little bit.  You can even make a “roll up” out of the napkin, plastic ware and a piece of string (it’s what restaurants give you when you order “to go”) to make your very casual table more fun!

By the way, there is nothing better than a little candlelight to add a little ambiance to the meal. Even if your tabletop is completely disposable, dim the lights, light some candles, and – voila – you’ve just added something fun to the experience. Never use scented candles at a table. Seriously. Who wants “country cinnamon” competing with the Pasta Bolognese that you labored over in the kitchen?

What you want is a comfortable setting that eases everyone into an enjoyable dinner experience.

 

A Simple, Easy Treat: Great Golden Oven Fries

golden-oven-fries

Wanna Enjoy a Pan of Deep Golden Fries?

Did someone say you could get great French fries from the oven?  I’m in!  I am a serious potato lover in any form, it’s kind of pathetic- I can’t leave them alone – and if they’re fried then I’m completely gone.  Some of my favorite food memories are of eating crispy French fries with my friends at the local drive-in when I was in High School.  The secret to really great French fries, you know the ones that are very crispy outside and soft and wonderful inside, is to fry them twice.  Apparently there’s a very simple secret to get this wonderful result without, I repeat, without your fryer.  This recipe is from Deb Perelman on her website,  smittenkitchen.com , from October 28, 2015.  She said it was inspired by Michael Chiarello’s technique.  I’m trying it immediately! A treat for about 4 people.

Ingredients

  • 4 medium Yukon Gold or 3 smallish Russet potatoes (I find these to be equivalent in size, although the specific size isn’t terribly important)
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • Fine sea salt

Directions

  • Preheat your oven to 450°F
  • Peel your potatoes if you wish; scrub them well if you do not. Cut potatoes into just-shy-of 1/2-inch batons. Place in a large pot and cover with an inch or two of water. Set heat to high and set timer for 10 minutes. If potatoes come to a boil in this time (mine usually do not), reduce the heat to medium. Otherwise, when timer rings, whether or not the potatoes have boiled, test one. You’re looking for a very “al dente” potato — one that is too firm to eat enjoyable, but has no crunch left. A good sign that they’re not too cooked is when you roughly tumble them into a colander, only one or two break.
  • Meanwhile, coat a large baking sheet with 2 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil and place it in the oven for a few minutes, so the oil gets very hot and rolls easily around the pan.
  • Drain your potatoes and immediately spread them on oiled baking sheet in one layer. Drizzle with last tablespoon of olive oil, sprinkle with salt and roast for 20 minutes, until golden underneath. Toss potatoes around to encourage them to color evenly and return them to the oven for another 5 minutes. Repeat this 1 or 2 more times (for me, 30 minutes total roasting time is the sweet spot), until your “fries” are deeply golden, brown at the edges and impossible not to eat.
  • Season with more salt while they’re hot, pile them on a platter and dig in.

More than a Traditional Panzanella: With Beet and Rye

http://franberger.wpengine.com/beet-and-rye-panzanella-salad-recipe

Beet and Rye Panzanella Salad – a Recipe with a Dash of Tradition

I love a good traditional Panzanella Salad and will order it every time at my favorite Italian restaurants.  But, when I saw the picture of this recipe in the February 2016 edition of bon appétit for Beet and Rye Panzanella created by Claire Saffitz, I was blown away by the colors of the dish.  We all eat with our eyes and I absolutely had to see how this gorgeous salad was made-the photograph was that beautiful.  After seeing how truly simple this salad is I’m going to use it for my next get-together and make a perfect food memory from a perfect salad! Serves 4.

Ingredients

  • 1½ pounds small beets, any color, scrubbed (about 10)
  • ½ small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar, plus more for serving
  • Kosher salt
  • ½ loaf rye bread, crusts removed, torn into 1-inch pieces (about 6 cups)
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided, plus more for serving
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large orange
  • 4 ounces ricotta salata (salted dried ricotta), crumbled
  • 1 cup torn fresh herbs (such as dill, parsley, tarragon, and mint)

Preparation

  • Preheat oven to 425°. Place beets in a shallow 2-qt. baking dish and add water to come ½” up sides. Cover dish tightly with foil and bake beets until tender and a cake tester or paring knife easily slides through flesh, 45–60 minutes. Let cool slightly.
  • Meanwhile, toss onion, 3 Tbsp. vinegar, and a pinch of salt in a small bowl to combine; set aside.
  • Toss torn bread and 2 Tbsp. oil on a rimmed baking sheet to coat; season with salt and pepper. Bake, tossing once, until bread is golden brown and crisp around edges, 8–10 minutes; set aside.
  • Rub beets with paper towels to remove skins, then halve (or quarter if large) and place in a large bowl; add onion with liquid.
  • Using a small sharp knife, remove peel and white pith from orange. Working over bowl with beets, cut between membranes to release segments into bowl. Squeeze membranes to release juices; discard. Add reserved toasted bread and 2 Tbsp. oil and toss to combine. Let sit a few minutes for flavors to meld.
  • Just before serving, fold in ricotta salata and herbs, drizzle with more oil and vinegar, and season with salt and pepper.

 

Easy Recipe for Gnocchi with Sausage and Tomatoes in a Skillet

Gnocchi on your Favorite Skillet

Food Memory in the Making: All you need is your favorite skillet.

This recipe for gnocchi on a skillet is so quick and easy. The big plus is that it looks beautiful on the plate – color in the dish is always important as we eat with our eyes.  It reminds me of a favorite food memory – the first time I ever tasted Gnocchi – they were so soft and delicate.  I found this recipe on a fabulous website, thekitchn.com, in a list called “23 Romantic Recipes” that appeared earlier this week.  One of the best things about this recipe is that you can use store-bought gnocchi. And if you already have a skillet, you’re good to go! Gnocchi is a dough dumpling that is usually made from a coarse, purified wheat that’s also used in pasta and couscous, among other things. Add in just about any type of Italian sausage you like. And as for me, the spicier the better! The recipe also suggests finishing with grated fresh Parmesan cheese. You can do that, it’s not necessary if you’d rather not have cheese, but trust me it adds a wonderful taste to the dish. This recipe serves 4.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound gnocchi
  • Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 9 ounces (about 3 links) cooked chicken sausage, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick coins
  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise
  • 1 to 2 ounces fresh basil, julienned (1/2 to 1 cup loosely packed)

Preparation

  1. Heat a large pot of salted water to boiling; cook the gnocchi for 2 minutes or according to package directions. Drain and toss with a drizzle of olive oil.
  2. Heat a 10-inch or larger cast iron skillet over medium heat with a light drizzle of olive oil. Add the sausage and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until it begins to brown. Push the sausage into a pile at the edge of the skillet and turn the heat up to high.
  3. When the skillet is quite hot, add the tomatoes, skin down, crowding them in if necessary. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until they are blistered, then stir in with the sausage. Cook for 2 more minutes, until both tomatoes and sausage are slightly browned. Stir in gnocchi and cook just until all is combined, but the tomatoes have not broken down into sauce.
  4. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the basil. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Cooking tip: a cast iron skillet is preferred only because it will give you the best color and sear to the sausage and tomatoes but any skillet will work as long as it does NOT have a non-stick coating.  That will interfere with the browning.

Brunch? How about a Frittata with Fontina Cheese and Mushrooms?

mushroom-leek-and-fontina-frittata

Frittata with Mushroom, Leek, and Fontina Cheese

Eggs are my favorite food and I could eat them all day long for every meal.   Frittatas are almost a perfect egg dish because they don’t have to be served hot to be delicious!  In fact, they can be served at room temperature so they’re a perfect do-ahead entrée when you have friends over for breakfast or dinner.  This recipe for a vegetarian frittata is from the bon appétit test kitchen issue February 2013.

Makes 6 servings

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 medium leeks, whites and pale-green parts only, chopped
  • 8 ounces crimini (baby bella) mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 12 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup crème fraîche or sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 3/4 cup shredded Fontina cheese, divided
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

PREPARATION

  1. Place a rack in upper third of oven; preheat to 350°F. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 10″ nonstick ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add leeks; cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring often, until softened and all liquid has evaporated, 8-10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk eggs, crème fraîche, and parsley in a large bowl; mix in 1/2 cup cheese. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Increase the heat to medium-high and add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the skillet. Pour the egg mixture over the mushrooms, shaking the pan to evenly distribute mixture. Cook the frittata, without stirring, until its edges begin to set, about 5 minutes.
  4. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup cheese over eggs and transfer skillet to oven. Bake frittata until golden brown and center is set, 25-30 minutes.

 

Easy Skillet Recipe for Gnocchi with Sausage & Tomatoes

Recipe: Gnocchi with Sausage and Tomatoes

This recipe is such a great one – quick to make and looks beautiful on the plate. It’s from The Kitchn, a favorite website that always has so many yummy recipes posted. This one popped up on their 23 Romantic Recipes post this week. One of the best things about this recipe is that you can use store-bought gnocchi and any type of Italian sausage you like (spicy, anyone?). A great suggestion if you love cheese – finish the skillet with Parmesan!

Ingredients

  • 1 pound gnocchi
  • Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 9 ounces (about 3 links) cooked chicken sausage, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick coins
  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise
  • 1 to 2 ounces fresh basil, julienned (1/2 to 1 cup loosely packed)

Instructions

  1. Heat a large pot of salted water to boiling; cook the gnocchi for 2 minutes or according to package directions. Drain and toss with a drizzle of olive oil.
  2. Heat a 10-inch or larger cast iron skillet over medium heat with a light drizzle of olive oil. Add the sausage and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until it begins to brown. Push the sausage into a pile at the edge of the skillet and turn the heat up to high.
  3. When the skillet is quite hot, add the tomatoes, skin down, crowding them in if necessary. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until they are blistered, then stir in with the sausage. Cook for 2 more minutes, until both tomatoes and sausage are slightly browned. Stir in gnocchi and cook just until all is combined, but the tomatoes have not broken down into sauce.
  4. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the basil. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Chef’s note: A cast iron skillet is preferred only because it will give you the best color and sear to the sausage and tomatoes but any skillet will work as long as it does NOT have a non-stick coating. That will interfere with the browning.

For the Love of Mustard

Recipe: Dijon and Cognac Beef Stew

Author: Recipe adapted by Deb Perelman from Regina Schrambling, NYT

It’s cold outside. Maybe it’s raining or snowing where you are. But that means soups and stews that take a while on the stove or in the oven can make your house smell amazing along the way! This stew is one that caught my eye the other day. It’s from a website that I found and really love, Smitten Kitchen by Deb Perelman. I particularly LOVE the photos she adds of the recipe steps. This stew has a LOT of mustard in it, so if you don’t love mustard, this probably isn’t the one for you. One of the great things – a short list of ingredients! I’m going to follow Deb’s suggestion of serving this over wide noodles and I’m going to get some crusty baguette, too. I’m excited to try it out on friends on a Sunday afternoon!

Ingredients

  • 1/4 pound salt pork, pancetta or bacon, diced
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 3 shallots, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons butter, as needed
  • 2 pounds beef chuck, in 1-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup Cognac (see Note)
  • 2 cups unsalted beef stock
  • 1/2 cup smooth Dijon mustard
  • 4 tablespoons coarse Dijon or Pommery mustard (an extra sharp mustard from Meaux, France)
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled and cut into half-moon slices
  • 1/2 pound mushrooms, stemmed, cleaned and quartered
  • 1/4 cup red wine (see Note)

Instructions

  1. Place salt pork in a Dutch oven or a large heavy kettle over low heat, and cook until fat is rendered. Remove solid pieces with a slotted spoon, and save for another use, like your salad, vegetables or, uh, snacking. Raise heat to medium-low, and add onion and shallots. Cook until softened but not browned, about 10 to 15 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a large bowl.
  2. If necessary, add 2 tablespoons butter to the pan to augment fat. Dust beef cubes with flour, and season lightly with salt and more generously with pepper. Shake off excess flour, and place half the cubes in the pan. Cook over medium-high heat until well browned, almost crusty, on all sides, then transfer to a bowl with onions. Repeat with remaining beef.
  3. Add Cognac to the empty pan, and cook, stirring, until the bottom is deglazed and any crusted-on bits come loose. Add stock, smooth Dijon mustard and 1 tablespoon coarse or Pommery mustard. Whisk to blend, then return meat and onion mixture to pan. Lower heat, cover pan partway, and simmer gently until meat is very tender, about 1 1/4 hours.
  4. Add carrots, and continue simmering for 40 minutes, or until slices are tender. As they cook, heat 2 tablespoons butter in medium skillet over medium-high heat, and sauté mushrooms until browned and tender. Stir mushrooms into stew along with remaining mustard and red wine. Simmer 5 minutes, then taste, and adjust seasoning. Serve hot.

 

Hard Boiled Eggs Aren’t Hard

Perfect Boiled Eggs – way easier than you think!

Author: Tips used by Russ Parsons, LA Times

I was out to dinner last night with some girlfriends and for some reason, the conversation turned to how hard it is to cook and peel the perfect hard boiled egg. I have no idea where or why this discussion started. We were at an Indian restaurant, but everyone was complaining that it’s impossible to cook them perfectly and then there’s the peeling!

I have always hated them – they were very often dry, chalky, had a weird taste, green yolks… I love egg salad sandwiches and eggs in my salads, just not plain hard-boiled eggs. I, however, discovered the perfect “recipe” this spring when I needed a dozen perfectly cooked hard-boiled eggs for Passover at my house. I started where everyone starts when they are trying to find an answer- Google. What I found was that there are several, including Martha Stewart, similar recipes and videos on this very same subject.

Apparently, I wasn’t the only one with the issue – who knew. After trying this, I’m here to report that they were the BEST hard-boiled eggs I have ever eaten! The whites were actually white and shiny, the yolk was the brightest and creamiest yellow, they were absolutely not dry, chalky or any other complaint I’ve always had. In one word – they were PERFECT. Now I can have my favorite egg salad sandwiches anytime! Who knows, I might bring a couple of simple hard-boiled eggs for lunch now that I know they will be perfect every time.

Ingredients

Eggs, Water, and Fire!

Instructions

  1. They all start the same way – with old eggs (not really old but definitely not fresh) buy them a week before you need them and keep them in the refrigerator. Everyone agrees “old” eggs are easier to peel.
  2. Place the cold, old eggs in a single layer in a saucepan and cover with cold water – about 1”.
  3. Turn the heat to high and bring to a roiling boil.
  4. Boil them for 1 minute.
  5. Turn the heat off.
  6. Cover and leave the pan on the stove.
  7. That’s it!

There are several different opinions on how long to actually leave them cooling, with several recipes giving you exact times. I chose the one from the Los Angeles Times that said that they would be perfect with 15 minutes of “rest” or cooling time, but that they could be left for an hour and they wouldn’t ever turn into my childhood hard-boiled egg nightmares! This was for me, as I was in the middle of cooking a big family dinner and was NOT going to be watching the clock that closely just for some eggs – wasn’t going to happen. I actually left mine for over 20 minutes. Everyone has an opinion on how to peel them now that they were cooked but the common thread is to start at the fat end as that’s where the air pocket is. Lightly crack them at that point and start to peel carefully with the side of your thumb. Running water helps.

The 3 Essentials for Any Home Bar

Party at home? Better get equipped.

I always love to learn simple tricks and I got lucky today!! I spoke with a good friend (a guy I’ve known for several years) about dating who told me a secret. He asked me if I knew what the 3 essential items every woman’s bar should have. My first guess was a good red wine. He said that it is assumed all women will have decent wine in the house-one strike. So, I said no I have no clue. He prefaced his comments with the following – When you are on a date with someone you like, pay close attention to what they order to drink. If they routinely order scotch, ask if they have a favorite or if they were just ordering what the restaurant had. If they mention a favorite ask what there is about it that they like- single barrel, a particular age, etc.

Now on to the important data – The 3 essentials:

  1. Have a really good Scotch in your bar. If this is their beverage of choice make sure you have the one they like.
  2. Have a really good Tequila on hand. Same rule if this is the favorite beverage.
  3. Have a really good Vodka in your freezer. Same rule as above.

These three items are apparently crucial. Have all three in your bar, just make sure that whichever one they like to drink is included. I would think you might need a good Gin too but I guess that’s only if it’s your favorite or theirs-otherwise just these. He also said that you should always have a chilled beer glass and good cold beer if you’re not sure what the beverage of choice is. Then he said that everybody LOVES the really big ice cubes that some restaurants use in their alcoholic beverages because they keep the drink cold but melt very slowly so they don’t dilute the alcohol. But, there is nothing worse than stale ice. It will ruin your drink. Be sure to throw away the ice cubes once a month.

I happen to have a couple of silicone VERY large ice cube trays that I bought at Crate and Barrel. They are just 6 cubes to a tray so the tray isn’t big just the ice cubes. They fit about one ice cube in a double old fashion glass-you know those short fat glasses. I guess I need to actually fill them with water and put them in the freezer and not just have them on the shelf! My friend said everyone thinks those are really cool. This is apparently (per my friend) the quickest way to seriously impress someone you’re interested in. Just sharing!!!!

 

Relationship Recipes: Who Do I Want Around My Table?

FlavorPrint-table-NC-595I love to read recipes.  I think I always have.  I have often purchased cookbooks just because there are recipes in them that look so interesting that I think I will make them some day.  Of course, there are also those cookbooks that I will never cook from, I just bought them because either the pictures were beautiful (on occasion, referred to as food porn) or because the recipes in them looked delicious (but I knew I wouldn’t make them). Either way, I have a lot of cookbooks and food magazines that I save in the hopes of referring to them when I’m in a creative mood.  That rarely happens.  I do mean rarely.  But hope springs eternal.

Anyway, part of my thought process when I’m reading these recipes and books is that I try to decide who of my friends would appreciate being a guest when I decide to cook that particular thing.  I think about who would be the good helper in the kitchen, who would be the person who loves the particular food I’m looking at. I’m thinking about the whole experience of preparing a meal, but also about who will make a good companion and deepen relationships.  Sometimes I take a long time to decide whom to invite. Then there are those times that I just throw out a group text and see who replies and then decide what to make!  Either way, it’s always a party, even if there are only three of us.

Tips from a Pro: Your “Cooking 101” Lesson for The Day

I’m always surprised when I’m in a restaurant and my meal comes and it has absolutely NO flavor.  There is no excuse for a dish to come out of a kitchen (yours or anyone else’s, including a restaurant’s) with no flavor. The meal itself may look fabulous, but someone didn’t taste it while they were cooking.  You may decide that you don’t like the flavor, or that it is over/under cooked, missing key ingredients, burnt – who knows? BUT it should always have flavor.

I went to a very old and famous resort/spa with a chef girlfriend.  When we booked the reservations she made sure that I knew that all meals were vegetarian and I was completely fine with that.  I’m happy to eat vegetables for a week, I’m not so sure that I could go for a month but I can definitely go for a week.  As it turned out, they also served some fish and shrimp at dinner.  The product that was going into the meals wasn’t the problem; the problem was that the meals had NO FLAVOR.  Someone made the excuse that the dishes were also low-sodium – that didn’t fly.  They weren’t just missing salt; they were missing the entire spice cabinet!  Believe me, for the price we were paying, there was no excuse for poorly prepared meals.

This leads me to my number one cardinal rule in Cooking 101: ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS taste while you are cooking and definitely taste BEFORE you serve! At least you’ll know you like the flavor!

I will Travel Far and Wide for Good Food


One thing I know is that sometimes the food that I’m craving is not at a restaurant close by – wherever I am.  It doesn’t matter what city I’m in, whether I’m traveling or at home, this holds true.  There are a lot of Italian restaurants close to where I live, including my favorite that is within walking distance from my house.  But if I want Indian cuisine, I get in my car and drive about 15 minutes away to a favorite place in Culver City.  If I want to try the newest American place, it might be downtown or Santa Monica or in one of the beach cities- all perhaps at least 30 minutes away.  And, here’s the kicker, if I want great Dim Sum I drive over an hour. 

That’s just the deal.  Good food is worth the travel miles – it’s worth the gas and the traffic. If you want good food in a particular cuisine, you might need to drive. Just be prepared to do it.  You can’t always find what you’re looking for close by. I’ve found that the drive is part of the whole dining experience.  Gather your good friends together who are up for an adventure and GO.  You won’t regret it.  At least, I never do.