Rating Roìa

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I have always loved my birthday. My birthday meant a party, a dinner, and the focus on me. Unlike most young girls, however, my birthday was never all about me. I share my birthday with my mom. Yes, I was the best birthday gift ever (as, I imagine, was the process of childbirth).

While, yes, this means that the focus was never entirely on me for my own birthday, I couldn’t imagine a birthday without my mom. Therefore, it was incredible to have my mom in New Haven to spend our birthday together. It also provided the perfect opportunity to go to Roia – a New Haven restaurant I have been dying to try.

One of the most respected foodies at Yale once casually told me that Roia was the best restaurant in New Haven. Ever since, Roia has been number one on my list of restaurants to try. I have made multiple reservations and unfortunately had to cancel all of them. But my birthday dinner was an event I would not cancel.

Here’s what we ate:

Chicken Liver Mousse served with grilled bread and red onion marmalade

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Carpaccio di FunghiImage

Pesce Di Giorno (which, on this day, was arctic char)Image

Pappardelle with Hen RaguImage

For dessert: Croustillant de Rhubarb – meringue with poached rhubarb sweetened cream and pistachiosImage

A little treat with the check – petite madeleinesImage

I had very high expectations for Roia. Sadly, Roia did not live up to my standards. It was good, maybe fantastic, but not spectacular. The liver mousse was good – I honestly think Heirloom’s (at The Study) is better. The arctic char was more well-done than I usually like, but this is a personal preference. I am a sucker for handmade pasta (and Roia makes all of their own pasta), but I am also used to the incredible high standards for handmade pasta in San Francisco. The pappardelle was good, but the pasta itself was a bit too thick and chewy for my taste.

Sidenote: I will say, however, that the petite madeleines provided a spectacular moment for me. They were little bites of heaven. Perfectly flavorful, soft, and fluffy. I was reading Proust’s A Remembrance of Things Past at the time, where the entire novel stems from a bite of madeleine that stirs Proust’s memory. They were a perfect way to end our birthday dinner.

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Semifreddi’s Cinnamon French Toast for Mother’s Day

Like many daughters, every year on Mother’s Day I make breakfast for my mother. This year, I decided to combine two of my childhood favorites (okay, more like lifelong favorites) into one decadently delicious dish. Semfreddi’s Cinnamon Twist, meet French Toast. French Toast, meet Semifreddi’s Cinnamon Twist.

Semifreddi’s is a local Bay Area bakery. I grew up on their cinnamon challah – no joke, I think it was my main source of sustenance for my most important years of growth. Semifreddi’s Cinnamon Twist was a staple in the Lowe household growing up. Their loaves of bread have the fluffy buttery-ness of good challah and the addicting flavor of their cinnamon concoction woven throughout. Think of challah crossed with a cinnamon roll. Nowadays, I only get Semifreddi’s Cinnamon Twist as a treat. My metabolism isn’t quite the same anymore.

But Mother’s Day is, by all means, a special occasion that calls for not just Semifreddi’s Cinnamon Twist, but Semifreddi’s Cinnamon Twist French Toast.

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I used The America’s Test Kitchen Family Baking Book’s French Toast recipe that calls for putting the toast in the oven to dry it out a bit.

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Then the toast is dipped in a combination of egg, milk, flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg and placed on a hot griddle. Voila!

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My Mother’s Day meal was completed with bacon and fresh fruit salad on the side.

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Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!

 

 

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