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Old 12-08-2004, 02:10 PM   #11
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Yep, high school was when I went. We always got the Langastinos - and my mother would eat the tartar sauce until they ran out :oops: Not that the food is bad because it's not but Carraba's is the "new" Olive Garden.
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Old 12-08-2004, 02:21 PM   #12
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I just went to Carraba's for the first time while I was in Florida. I was not expecting much. I figured it would be very similar to Olive Garden (which I hate with a passion). I was pleasantly surprised. I had a shrimp and scallop dish that was very tasty and the seafood was not overcooked at all. My wife did not like her eggplant parm dish, but she measures all eggplant parm against her mothers, so no restaurant will ever come close to being that good
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Old 12-08-2004, 02:23 PM   #13
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I don't believe we have a Carraba's around here but we do have a number of authentic Italian restaurants. You can say what you want about Columbus (Cowtown, Columbus, GA?) but we do have a huge amount of authentic ethnic eateries that are the same price or cheaper than a joint like Olive Garden. :? One of the few things we've got going for us!
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Old 12-08-2004, 02:51 PM   #14
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GB - have you had the Chicken Bryan?? It's quite good!!! Their mussels are also good - the bruschetta I can make better I think. I've never had any of the dishes with a red sauce - I will try that next. I did have the salmon last time and it was good, not overcooked at all, a nice medium rare. Your wife needs to give up on ordering Eggplant Parmesan, she'll never find one that's going to be good compared to her mother's!! I just hope they keep their standards up so they don't slip like Olive Garden.

DC, There won't be any comparison to your local good Italian restaurants. You can still taste a lot of the sodium and herb/spice mixtures in the Carraba dishes that you know are processed. But, if you get the opportunity to go the food is still surprisingly good.
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Old 12-08-2004, 03:08 PM   #15
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I don't remember what the Chicken Bryan was, but I do remember commenting that it sounded great. I know that is one of the things I was thinking of ordering.

I have a mental block against mussels. When I was young, we used mussels as bait when we were fishing. I have tried then since and do not mind them, but my first thought when I see then is always of bait :oops:

I really loved the bread and oil they put out too. The bread was piping hot and the oil was one of the better tasting olive oils I have had at a chain restaurant.
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Old 12-08-2004, 03:34 PM   #16
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The Chicken Bryan is topped with sundried tomatoes and some kind of cheese (it's the texture and taste of goat cheese but it's not goat cheese but it's not).

Pureed basil, oregano, garlic (I think) then they pour the olive oil over it. I always add balsamic and some kosher salt to mine (kosher when I'm at home anyways).
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Old 12-08-2004, 03:38 PM   #17
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Ohhh that really does sound good!
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Old 12-08-2004, 05:13 PM   #18
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I found this recipe in my files..I remember hearing about soaking in milk.


Calamari Fritti
Recipe courtesy Tyler Florence


Recipe Summary
Prep Time: 20 minutes Cook Time: 3 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 15 minutes Yield: 4 to 6 servings
1 pound whole squid, cleaned
1 cup milk
1 large egg
6 fresh basil leaves, chopped
Canola oil, for frying
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons paprika
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Lemon wedges, for serving
Smoked jalapeno aioli, for dipping, recipe follows
Tomato-basil sauce, for dipping, recipe follows

Rinse the squid under cool water and pat dry with paper towels. Cut the body of the squid into 1/2-inch rings and trim the tentacles as necessary. Combine the milk, egg, and basil leaves in a bowl; mix with a fork until lightly beaten. Put the prepared calamari in the milk mixture and stick it in the refrigerator while getting everything else set up; it fries better if marinated and chilled for about 15 minutes.
Pour about 2 inches of oil in a fryer or large, heavy pot and heat to 375 degrees F. Mix the flour and paprika in a pie dish or plate; season with a fair amount of salt and pepper. Toss the calamari in the seasoned flour to coat. Fry for 1 to 3 minutes or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels and salt, to taste. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fried calamari to paper towels to drain. Serve immediately with lemon wedges and dipping sauces.

Smoked Jalapeno Aioli:
1 cup mayonnaise
1 to 2 canned chipotle chile in adobo
1 garlic clove, coarsely chopped
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
Pinch salt
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Old 12-08-2004, 10:05 PM   #19
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This is the calamari recipe that I use:

Fried Calamari
Taken out of "Italian Food Forever"

Ingredients
2 Pounds Cleaned Squid (Instructions Below)
1 Cup Flour
1 Cup Cornmeal
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Pepper
Vegetable Oil For Frying

Cooking:

* Place the cleaned calamari in the freezer for 5 minutes before cooking.

* Put 2 inches of oil into a pot, and heat to 375ºF.

* Mix the flour, cornmeal and spices together in a plastic bag. Drop in the calamari and shake well to cover with the coating.

* Drop the calamari into the hot oil, and cook for just under a minute, until they are golden brown.

* Drain on paper towels. Serve with your favorite dipping sauces.

Cook's Note:

A great way to serve fried calamari, is to put a handful on top of a dish of spaghetti already dressed with a good spicy tomato sauce. If you prefer a crispier crust to your calamari, dip them in beaten egg before dropping them into the coating.

Serves 4
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Old 12-15-2004, 08:16 PM   #20
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Fried Calamari

One way to help insure the calamari are tender is to soak in milk at least one hour before frying. I have only dredged in flour. Make sure to shake off excess before frying.
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