Thursday, March 20, 2008

City Bites

This little article will be the counterpart to my previous one about the delights of a small town. Cities have their advantages as well, and one perk I especially enjoy is access to the Melting Pot Restaurant.

Maybe it's nostalgia--the 6 girls I hung out with in my teen years (1970's) were no strangers to the fondue pot. I seem to remember pigs-in-blankets fried in hot oil. Yikes! We were all skinny back then!

The Melting Pot has a more refined fondue selection, but the interactive fun and leisurely pace have not changed from those "fondue parties" of the past that I remember so well. My dining partner, "Derf", has been one of my dearest friends since we were in 7th grade together. We have made a tradition of getting together three times a year, often at the Melting Pot. Last week our meal took almost 4 hours, but it flew by incredibly quickly because we had so much conversing to do in order to catch up on each others' lives! The take-your-time atmosphere is such a welcome change from the rush of the "quick bite".

If you are lucky enough to be close to one of the 120+ franchises, you can expect 4 courses. First is the typical cheese fondue, but there are 6 variations to choose from. This time we had the artichoke/spinach offering, served with french bread cubes and veggies.

The salad is the 2nd course and it is , well.....groovy! The California salad with walnuts and raspberry vinaigrette makes a nice contrast to the cheesy first course.

The cooking mediums for the meat course range from boullion, to coq au vin, to mojo. The seasonings are subtle and can be chosen to complement pork, sirloin, salmon, shrimp, chicken, or even (pricey) lobster. We usually get an assortment that allows us to sample each one. There are half a dozen dipping sauces to add to the fun.

Dessert is a MUST here. I can pass it up in nearly any other restaurant, but not at the Melting Pot. It's chocolate, of course: dark, milk, oreo, yin and yang, s'mores, peanut butter.....oooh la la! Served with fresh strawberries, pineapple, pound cake, and marshmallows, it is truly worth the splurge.

I have a fondue pot in my cupboard that doesn't come out too often, but I used it recently with the teen boys that I teach on Sundays-- I guess I just wanted to stir up some wonderful memories for them to dip into when they look back......

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