chef celina tio brought me soup *squee*

Happy Labor Day to the U.S. folks! I have full plans on doing nothing save writing and maybe reading and coffee drinking today in celebration. The Man and I were at the parentals from Friday night through yesterday morning hanging out with my family, grilling out and drinking beer.

My favorite moment I think is when my dad had had a few and decided he wanted a full breakdown on my writing plan – what I was working on, how I was going to go about getting it published, what I was going to work on after the Old Project is complete. It was kind of funny, really, and he can have all the opinions he wants because it’s awesome to see him so relaxed these days – y’know, now that he’s at a job that’s not eating his soul.

Last night, the Man and I celebrated one year together by indulging in our collective food nerdiness and going to Julian, the restaurant that Chef Celina Tio owns. I’ve seen her on The Next Iron Chef and Top Chef Masters so I’ve been dying to go there, and I really wasn’t disappointed.

On Sunday nights, she does what she calls “family dinner,” which means the printed menu is thrown out the window and she cooks whatever she’s feeling like that day. They give you a rundown when you get there of what she’s been sending out, and you decide what three or four courses you want and any modifications you want made. The Man and I went full throttle – all four courses and no changes.

  • First course: Spicy Eggplant Soup with Quinoa and Feta Fritter
  • Second course: Homemade Fettuccine with Bacon, Green Onions and Mussels
  • Third course: Seared Scallops with Creamy Polenta and Mushroom Ragout
  • Fourth course: Wild Berry Cobbler with Lemon Creme Freche

YOU GUYS. This is the stuff I drool over when I watch Top Chef but I NEVER get to eat. I wish I had taken pictures – it was SO pretty and so amazing. The second course was my favorite because I will roll around in pasta any damn day of the week. All of it was very seasonal and local and restrained. Nothing over-the-top – just freaking awesome food. I always tasted each of the plate elements separately at first, and then one bite of everything together, and eating them all at once always made for the best flavor combos.

And the restaurant itself was really nice and comfortable and the staff made you feel like you were just hanging out with them at home. Even more amazing? With the family dinner, they say they want to send you home absolutely full, so before dessert, they give you the option to have more of any particular course. So the Man and I got double the pasta course. OMNOMNOM.

If you come to the KC area, it’s definitely worth a stop. Especially if you’re here on a Sunday and are willing to be adventurous about your dinner. 🙂

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