Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Menu of Love

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When you have a child with special needs you find yourself celebrating date-night events like Valentine's Day in the comfort of your own home.  Long gone are the days of reservations, fighting crowds, and late evening meals.   You learn to accept that it is just part of your "new normal." Our Valentine's Day now is simply exchanging a handful of chocolates and a card.  This year however, we received an extra romantic treat - an unexpected blessing of kindness.

Zolo's Southwestern Grill, the restaurant that provided special needs families like ours with Thanksgiving dinners periodically posts new menus that they are featuring.  This year they posted a Valentine's Menu a Four Course Meal, that looked like a dream come true for your taste buds.  I imagined ourselves dinning on that menu, and thought well it's nice to dream. 

Much to our surprise, Zolo's made their four course Valentine's meal and delivered it to our door - knowing that we couldn't dine out with Noah on Valentine's Day.   Carefully packaged boxes and detailed labeled containers arrived in a bag from one of the sweet managers of Zolo's.   On each course there was instructions on how to cook, serve and combine all the elements to make this five star meal in the comfort of our own home. 

It was the best Valentine's Dinner I have ever had in my life.   My husband and two little loves at the dinner table.  And our very special meal - a menu full of love.   Our first course was Jumbo Lump Crab and Black Bean Cakes with chipolte aioli, avocado, and sprout salad.  I carefully seared each crab cake and served it with it's garnish, it looked almost too beautiful to eat.   The crab meat was so delicate and tender, and the sauce was just enough to compliment this bed of super greens.

The second course was Roasted Acorn Squash & Cascabel Chile Bisque with crispy pork belly, grilled meyer lemon creama and pepita dust.  I carefully poured it into two bowls, I expected a big splash of spice, but the soup was smooth with a the crunch from the crispy pork belly, with this light lemon cream and a dash of seasoning.  Likely a contender for the most delectable soup I have ever tasted.

Our third course was Red Chili Braised Lamb Shank with creamy blue corn grits, grilled broccoli raba, and horseradish gremolata.  The lamb shank was truly a beautiful work of art.  I hadn't had lamb likely since before Noah's birth, so I was anxious to try the lamb.  The braising sauce was a magnificent compliment to the grilled broccoli raba. The meat was so tender and fall of the bone and only needed a brief heating in the oven, This was likely my most favorite course of all.  I almost didn't want to share with my Valentine!   Usually I've found grits to be a bit boring, but these grits were heavenly.  In fact I was so bummed when they ran out.  I would have gone for seconds!  We also were treated to chicken enchiladas with red and green sauce with a salsa and sour cream topping.  We shared that with little Luke who quickly gobbled up one entire enchilada!

Our fourth and final course was New Mexican Chile Cheesecake with kumquat marmalade and white chocolate crunch.   The cheesecake was meltable soft, with slices of kumquat offering a sweet-like syrup with each bite.  The white chocolate crunch offering the texture of a light crust.   The perfect desert to compliment the end of the meal.

I cannot begin to even remember the last time that we ate something so fancy.  Zolo's offered us such a little slice of heaven in our own home, and helped us carve some special memories this Valentine's Day.   One person's kindness and love is really a powerful thing.   They made our Valentine's Day extra special.  Gratitude, like love, lives and grows in our hearts.  Zolo's Southwestern Grill brought joy to our day, warmth to our lives, and happiness to our hearts. 


Noah's Miracle by Stacy Warden is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.