Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Crack from Carrabba's

I don't typically enjoy dining at chain restaurants, but I will make the occasional exception — especially for Italian food. To explain my perspective, we have to take a look at the few local Italian spots.

Work lunch meetings require me to eat Monjuni's once a week. If you are forced to eat at any restaurant a minimum of once a week for roughly a year, you will begin to despise everything from the sweet marinara to the signature muffaletta. Considering there have been weeks where I've eaten Monjuni's four days in a row, let's just say my relationship with the restaurant is strained at best. I do not eat here in my spare time.

There are a few great spots in Bossier — Lil Italiano and Notini's — but they are nowhere near the vicinity in which most of my daily life takes place. Therefore, out of sight, out of mind. Then there's Olive Street Bistro. If not my all-time favorite restaurant, it is at least my favorite Italian restaurant. Love it, but it's mine and Ty's special occasion place. It's romantic and cozy and fun, so to keep that pizazzy feeling we don't eat there often. Hence, special occasion.

So, that leaves us with two chain options for Italian — Macaroni Grill and Carrabba's. Ty prefers Smack Grill, while I like Carrabba's. So, we negotiate. Sometimes we eat at my fave, and other times we eat at his. After all, isn't the secret to successful relationships compromise?

That brings me to the point of this blog. They are serving crack at Carrabba's. It's customary for guests to be greeted with a basket of warm bread and a dish of EVOO. Sometimes they put cracked pepper in the olive oil, other times it's balsamic vinegar or cheese. Carrabba's oil comes with a mixture of herbs and spices that we refer to as crack. Before you even get your Chicken Bryan, you've eaten four loaves of bread and sopped up enough seasoning to exhale a fire of garlic.

The last time we ate at Carrabba's, we bought some crack to take home from our drug dealer/waitress. It's safer to eat the crack at home because I usually don't get four loaves of bread at the grocery store. So once we finish eating, I don't feel as though I need to purge before the bread swells and makes me feel like death.

I made a cozy home-cooked Italian meal last night. Ty's favorite — cheese tortellini with marinara and homemade alfredo sauce (I'll share this easy recipe later). Once dinner was ready, I pulled out a hot loaf of bread from the oven and poured olive oil over the Carrabba's Crack. What a delicious addiction. I am officially a crackhead.

I found the recipe online. It's not official, but give it a whirl. Or, splurge on a $5 sample for yourself.

1 tablespoon crushed red pepper
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried rosemary
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt


Catherine said...

That stuff is so delicious...but not so good for my no-carb dinner diet. I think the flatbread at Olive Street is just as addictive...I think I eat a whole one every time I go.

Stephanie Netherton said...

It is so, so good! I'm sorry about your no-carb dinner. If I come home to find you eating an entire package of bacon, I may interject my views on the friendly carb. But for now, I'm cheering you on.

As for the bread at Olive Street, hands down the best.

Anonymous said...

Ok it's on. We need to plan an Olive Street Bistro night. I'm salivating just reading the name!

Stephanie Netherton said...

I know! We just need to plan ahead so we can afford the three bottles of wine we will inevitably drink!