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52 Tables

Mom, Dad and Donna. 1 year. 52 tables. The journey begins January 2010.

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Jan '10

Table 3: Romano’s Macaroni Grill

I’ve got a recipe for that!

Donna, Lori, Jo and Don

Donna, Lori, Jo and Don in front of Macaroni Grill

We all have our comfort food. For us, we have a comfort table: Macaroni Grill in North Fort Worth. We’ve been dining here for nearly five years. While Macaroni Grill is part of a chain, we’ve discovered this location in particular is one of our most enjoyable places to meet and eat. The staff provides a “wonderful experience and relaxed atmosphere allowing for friendly conversations,” according to Don.

“Although it’s a chain, the individual establishment is reflective of its own management.”

We know several of the staff, and they know us. In particular, our waitress. Michelle has been with this particular store for nine years and serves as catering manager as well serving tables. Whenever possible, we sit in Michelle’s section and try to make in on days we know she’ll be working. It is odd to think that we can only meet here once this year on our adventure of 52 Tables. Today, though, we needed our Macaroni Grill and so we went.

“I feel like a guest judge on American idol.” -Lori Allen

What made today special was that we were honored by my good friend and guest gastronome, Lori Allen. I had asked to reserve her birthday lunch for us, but she was already booked solid so she joined us today. Amazingly, we all arrived from our various ports about the same time. This so rarely happens. Today it did. And, we were seated in Michelle’s section.
Once seated, our conversations kept coming back to food and recipes. I think the variety of dishes that we each ordered may have played a part in this. Dad enjoyed the Grilled Chicken Spiedini with vegetables and a Cesar salad. Lori got the Chicken-Artichoke Sandwich with Basil Aoili Sauce and the Tomato-Basil Soup with Tortelini. I got Mom hooked on the “Create Your Own” pasta, so she created an angel hair with spinach, roasted garlic and sun-dried tomatoes with a mild, spicy olive oil sauce. I had to have the Eggplant Parmesan, which was recently revamped to a lighter lunchtime meal. Additionally, the house Chianti is served on the honor system. A wine glass is drawn on the paper tablecloth and guests make a ‘tick’ each time they refil their glass. Good food, good wine, and thus the setting for a good recipe discussion.

Macaroni Grill recently changed up the menu, adding new items while updating some of the classics. Making this note, our conversation turned to our own recipes. Lori’s recipe, goat cheese spinach omelets. Mom’s recipe, “Rolo” S’mores. Omelets are pretty self explanatory. The Rolo S’mores, there’s the story. Mom had this friend who would take the caramel-filled chocolate Rolo’s and zap them in the microwave for a just a very few seconds and then serve them over graham crackers. Gotta try that sometime. Mom also shared taking softened goat cheese and spreading it on a cracker and topping it with blackberry jam and almonds.

After making her rounds, Michelle joined us after delivering our ‘just desserts’ – Sorbetto, pound cake, carmel/lemon cake, and a wonderful tiramisu. With the recent crazy weather that included a white Christmas, Michelle shared with us how she made her kids go outside and play in it as they may not get the opportunity again. Michelle is originally from the Chicago area and recalls the huge snow drifts common to the area. Lori, an Indiana transplant, added that she calls three days of good weather in any given year (I think she was exaggerating). For me, I recall living in New Hampshire and seeing the neighbors dig a tunnel out of the barn so they could get their horses out. It would have been easy to spend the rest of the afternoon sitting at this table, sipping wine and swapping stories.

“Ahhh! Macaroni Grill and our server, Michelle, cannot be anything but wonderful. I love every minute I am here.” -Jo

1 Comment »

1 Comment » to “Table 3: Romano’s Macaroni Grill”

  1. gayla Says:

    Nice write up Donna! Your site is looking good!