Thursday, November 20, 2014

I Sold my Soul to Cafe Trio

I get cravings worse than a pregnant woman. Welcome to my life struggle. I was born an avid foodie.  My life is a constant quest to find the next greatest dish. Hold onto your seat ladies and gentleman, I have found it. Polenta. Holy smokes, I love polenta.

This recent addiction came on when Lexi Crandall and I discovered a little piece of heaven on earth. It is located at 680 South and 900 East in Salt Lake City. Behold, Café Trio. Ah, just picture a chorus of angels descending from heaven singing hymns of praise surrounding this sacred vicinity.

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The Trio Experience
It is a modern restaurant that serves traditional Italian food.
When I say Italian food I mean it. None of the crappy Americanized Italian food. It blows Olive Garden out of the water. Trio’s claim to authentic Italian dining is backed up by Lexi’s expertise. She traveled to Italy on a Study Abroad last summer. She knows that Trio is the real deal. This restaurant is brilliant to say the least.

Lexi ordered the pomodoro braised meatballs served over a creamy polenta. At first I thought she was insane. Granted, I was not a fan of meatballs. Especially when it was on a bed of some unknown creamed substance. I thought it was weird to order something like this.
Then I tried a bite.
My life has never been the same since.
My fork glided right through the tender, moist meatball. The steam rose off the soft pink beef as I split it in half. I stuck my fork into the small piece, and slid it through the smooth polenta. The sauce coated both the meatball and the polenta.  I raised the fork to my mouth. The moment it touched my tongue, I knew it was love. The meatball almost melted in my mouth. The polenta was rich and creamy. An excellent duo. I scraped the plate clean. I did everything I could to get every last bit of the dish into my mouth. I owe a big thanks to Lexi for sharing her appetizer. And by sharing, I mean letting me devour the whole thing.

The Basic Construction of the Dish
 Pomodoro is a simple tomato sauce. Tyler Florence has basic instructions on how you can prepare it. You can find it here:
The sauce consists mainly of tomatoes, onion, garlic, and seasonings.  This isn’t the exact recipe that was on Trio’s meatballs and polenta, but it will send you in the right direction.

The meatballs were insanely moist and seasoned perfectly. If you aren’t familiar with a meatball, you need to get out more. If you want a good recipe, ask your grandma. Family recipes are the second best thing to Trio.
Now to the main event:

The Polenta.

Before my first encounter with this magnificent grain, I was living a subpar life. Polenta can change your life everybody! After having no clue what in the world it was, I did some research.
According to the Academic Search Premier database I learned that polenta is made from corn. According to an article in Health Magazine you get polenta from “removing the hull from corn kernels, then grinding them.”
(TIME inc. Health, March 2005, vol. 19 Issue 2, p170-172) 

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Sounds weird to eat with meatballs huh? That is what I thought. You have to give it a chance. You’ll end up giving it your whole soul nonetheless.
After leaving the restaurant, my cravings began. For weeks all I wanted was another delectable dish of Trio’s polenta and meatballs.

The Creation
Due to the long commute, I had to result in playing around with polenta myself. 
After looking through a plethora of recipes I created my own. It’s based on two recipes I found from Ina Garten and Bon Appetit Magazine. Their original recipes can be found here:

For Alisa’s POLENTA
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup polenta (NOT corn meal)
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
6 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup heavy cream

Start by adding the chicken stock, water, and salt to a large pot. Bring this to a boil. Once it is boiling add the polenta slowly while whisking constantly. If you whisk it continuously it will ensure that you won’t get lumps. After all the polenta is added, you’ll turn the temperature down to medium low heat. Simmer the mixture for about fifteen minutes, or according to the package’s specific cooking directions. After it has thickened and is still creamy, add the cheese, butter, and cream. Once it is all melted and incorporated, devour.
You’ll be licking your plate clean!

All in all,

You can check out for more information on their restaurant and their menu. If you are in the area, I highly recommend stopping by. I give it five stars. You won’t be disappointed. You’ll probably even run into me there.