Ever wonder what the difference is between a groove and a rut? We frequently joke about this in my family. For example, some would say our repeated trips to Mexico are a rut, but Nick and I think we are in a groove. I mean, we do travel to other places also, and I could give a million other reasons why it works for us. Or, take my dad for example. About 10 years ago, he was on a kick of eating peanut butter and banana sandwiches every day. Then it was salmon everyday. Then it was baked potatoes everyday. Then it was eggs everyday. Then it was oatmeal everyday. It wasn’t a mix of all these things, it was truly one thing at a time until he decided to move on. In this case, while I might have seen this as a rut, he saw it as a groove. He was having a perfectly lovely time enjoying the flavor of the moment.
Sometimes these grooves that my dad gets into really lead to some terrific things. Last year we had a wonderful trip to Snowmass, Colorado. We stayed at Chamonix, a great ski in/ ski out condo. The trip was such a success, that we decided to repeat it– exactly as we had the year before. That, I would call a groove.
Our first night out on the town we returned to the same restaurant where we ate the first night last year. Il Poggio. It’s not that hard to repeat restaurants there, as Snowmass is not really known as the culinary epicenter that Aspen is. So we were groovin’, and we ordered the exact same things we ate the year before. (Yes, I remember what we ordered– I tend to remember those important details.) Just as he did last year, Nick ordered this:A beautifully cooked beef tenderloin, portobello mushroom, gorgonzola potatoes, and sugar snap peas. Everything was spot on.
I had this:Chicken breast wrapped in pancetta with sugar snap peas and roasted potatoes. It was supposed to come with farro and asparagus, but in trying to minimize food allergens, I opted to substitute the farro. The asparagus was already mixed in with the farro, so I couldn’t get asparagus. They offered me sugar snap peas and roasted potatoes which sounded (and were) quite lovely. The meal was a winner, even though I usually fear that ordering chicken at a fancy restaurant is boring. However, when it is wrapped in bacon, that’s a game changer. There goes that darn bacon again. That said, I only agreed to order this if Nick assured me we would share our entrees, and they were both delicious.
As is our nature to repeat doing what we love, before we even finished dinner that first night, my groovy father decided that we should return here on our final night. Again… groove? Rut? Feeling like more of a rut to me, I ordered something completely different that final night. It was something I shouldn’t eat, but I didn’t want to be stuck in that rut. Of course, Italian food can be tough when you don’t eat gluten and dairy, so my options were limited. This is what I ate……and it was worth it! Gnocchi, veal, roasted tomatoes, and asparagus. The dish was well-balanced, and the gnocchi had the perfect texture.
Here are a few other dishes that made it onto our table…
As I walked out of the restaurant on that last night, I noticed a lot of sugar snap peas on other people’s dishes. At that moment I realized that is the only green veggie they offer to accompany the entrees. I couldn’t help but wonder, Il Poggio, are you in a groove, or are you in a rut?