Add it to the List

Yes, I know. I have a lot of nerve showing my “face” here when I have not kept my promise of checking in regularly with updated weight loss stats. I do have a good excuse: there are not many updates. I am down seven pounds so far and could possibly have achieved greater numbers by now if I were not so determined to consume ridiculous amounts of simple carbohydrates. I have toyed with the idea of trying something extreme to purge all the chemical-laden goodies from my system, but apparently I lack the willpower stay away from crusty loaves of Italian bread slathered with pesto and goat cheese. Now that I say that out loud, it really doesn’t sound too bad. Nonetheless, that is not the purpose of my post today. I would like to share yet another positive culinary experience. My husband and I decided to pay a visit to Brio Tuscan Grille restaurant located inside the Mall at Millennia recently. When we walked in, I was immediately impressed by the cleanliness of the open kitchen. Of course we all expect the kitchen to be clean when we dine out but after viewing several episodes of Chef Ramsey’s “Kitchen Nightmares”, I never know what may be lurking in places not visible to the public eye. Our server, Benjamin, was pleasant enough. He smiled and appeared un-fazed by the emotionless, “food critic-like” expression my husband managed to maintain during our entire visit. The atmosphere of the restaurant was beautiful, its walls covered shades of rust and burgundy. Oriental style runners lined the wooden floors between each row of tables and booths and the lights lit the room enough for us to see what we were eating, but at the same time were dim enough to provide a relaxing environment. The decor was very Old World, with a touch of modernity where necessary.

I am not well versed in Italian cuisine, so the menu did intimidate me initially. After looking it over for a few minutes, I settled on shrimp and crab cakes with roasted vegetables, while my husband, being the pasta man that he is, ordered linguini with seared sea scallops. One thing I would mention is that you should not come to this restaurant expecting to bring home a large doggy bag. The portions are actually closer to recommended serving guidelines than some of the super sized plates that other places may offer. I actually appreciated this because I would rather enjoy my entire meal without feeling the need to undo the button on my pants. Being quite a fan of roasted vegetables, I dove into those before even touching the shrimp and crab cakes. The carrots, zucchini, red peppers, and tomatoes were not a group of vegetables I would have thought to combine, but delicious. They flavor was perfect; seasoned just enough to enhance the natural flavor without camouflaging it completely. The shrimp and crab cakes were drizzled with a citrus glaze and the taste was so outstanding, that my toes curled with each bite. Benjamin received an A+ for service, stopping by to check on us frequently and never letting the beverage in our glasses fall below the halfway point. After we finished our food (and let me tell you, it was hard to resist licking that remaining citrus sauce straight off the plate), the server brought a plate of desserts much to our delight, and knowledgeably described each offering. Not wanting to overindulge, we each opted for cute little pots of mocha and caramel crème brulee topped with fresh whipped cream. Mine came garnished with chocolate ribbons, my husband’s with a drizzle of caramel. Each tiny spoonful that I ate served as motivation to come back for another visit as soon as possible.
The entire experience was very pleasant. The wait staff was professionally dressed and groomed. Hey, that’s worth mentioning for sure. I have been to places where the employees appeared to have been plucked straight from a farm. If I had a choice, I would visit Brio Tuscan Grille again without question. The prices were reasonable and there was no shortage of flavor in the menu. I am happy to add one more name to my list of notable eateries in Orlando. That list is still rather short, so my quest continues.

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