Karen and I find ourselves at Ciao Amici in Brighton, MI celebrating and very important event. This past summer I asked Karen to marry me. She has honored me by saying yes, and I’m excited as our life together continues to grow as we have committed to spend the rest of our lives together. Our engagement where she took my ring was an event. Several months ago, I asked a friend of mine if he would take Karen and me for a balloon ride where I could propose. In that conversation, I asked Denny how much all of this would cost (flying a balloon is not a trivial operation and requires several people). His response, in his typical calm, cool demeanor: “Dinner”. So here we are making good on our debt to Denny and his wife for giving Karen and I an unforgettable experience which ended with her saying YES.
Kimberly is taking care of us tonight, and while she is a little camera shy, she had no problem taking the reigns from us so she could Bring Us Dinner.
Ciao Amici’s is an elegant, Italian restaurant nestled in downtown Brighton. It offers an excellent selection of Italian delights and a broad wine list. Their philosophy is simple: “Mangia Bene”, which means “Eat Well”. And eating well is what we were expecting.
First up, Kimberly brought us two appetizers (gluten free of course): Prosciutto Wrapped Stuffed Shrimp and their Sausage Rustica. The sausage is a seared Italian Sausage served with sautéed onions and banana peppers. The sauce itself simple wraps the sausage with several layers of seasoning. Even when the meat was gone, I couldn’t keep myself from having another spoonful. The stuffed shrimp was simply delicious. The mild Prosciutto combined with the complex flavors made this dish a table favorite.
Next up was the salad course. Kimberly brought us the Amici Gorgonzola Salad. A very fresh salad using fresh greens, Traverse City Cherries (YUM!), pine nuts and a crumbling of Gorgonzola cheese. All of it is bound together with a Roasted Shallot Vinaigrette. A perfect combination of ingredients to make a perfect cleansing dish as we prepared for the main course.
For our main courses, we enjoyed the Scallops, the New York Strip, the Veal Chop, and a Trout dish which was on special for that evening. Denny and his wife Carol were now starting to get the idea of Bring Me Dinner and how fun dinner out can really be when we all shared. The Scallops were cooked perfectly and served with a bacon spinach risotto, which just melted in my mouth. The Strip was cooked to a medium rare and served with a Parmesan mashed potato – a classic presentation. The trout dish was an excellent reminder of the kinds of fish available from Michigan lakes. And finally, the Veal Chop was absolutely brilliant. Cooked perfectly, and simply so the flavor of the meat could come shining through. The zip sauce accompanying the veal added a beautiful layer of seasoning.
For our final course, as we struggled thinking about whether or not dessert was a good idea, Kimberly made up our mind for us. YES, in fact, dessert was a good idea. A gluten free chocolate torte! Absolutely decadent. Absolutely rich. And a perfect way to end a great meal with great friends.