Dress for the Occasion, Please!

how to dress nice dinner

I’ve been here in Texas for about a week and a half and am really enjoying my time out here! The people are wonderful, the Mexican food is to die for, and I’m starting to like the cowboy boots. However, there’s one thing that I’ve noticed here, and other places around the U.S., that really needs to change- dressing appropriately for dinner!

The other night, my boyfriend and I went out to dinner at a pretty nice Italian restaurant in the “nice” part of town. I wore heels, a little black dress, and red lipstick. My boyfriend wore a button up, slacks, and dress shoes. I called ahead to make reservations for 6:30 to ensure we got a table. Luckily, it was a week night so not many people were out. When we walked into the restaurant, I looked around and took in the ambiance, enjoyed the smell coming from the kitchen, and smiled at the waiter who took our drink order.

Upon getting settled at our table I began to notice more details of the restaurant and the little things that made it charming. However, there were some not so charming people that, how do I put it, took away from the restaurant’s overall feeling. Seated at the bar, was a middle-aged man wearing a t-shirt with a line of sweat down the back. He also wore running shorts, white socks, and Reeboks. I hope he enjoyed his Pinot Grigio.

Waiting for a table outside was a family of three. Dad wore a tight v-neck t-shirt with a backwards hat. The son (whom I’ll forgive because he was young) wore athletic shorts and a sports jersey. Mom wore flare leg jeans and a wife beater. I get it, you’re a busy family and Italian food means comfort food, but maybe the more appropriate restaurant based on your attire would have been Olive Garden.

Finally, seated with her husband a few tables down from us was a young woman wearing flare leg jeans, a t-shirt with a cartoon on it, a messy bun, and some sort of a canvas bag as her purse. Her hubby, while not the fashion expert himself, was wearing jeans and a polo, which, in my opinion, was more appropriate for the restaurant.

My point in this blog post is not to rip people to shreds and make fun of those who don’t have a sense of fashion, the purpose is to bring light to an etiquette conundrum I’m seeing more and more everyday. As a society, we should try our best to look our best. It’s polite. When I’m at Taco Bell, sweatpants and oversized tees are perfectly acceptable! When I’m at a 5-star restaurant, dress shirts and nice skirts are expected.

I’ll step off my high-horse now and let you form your own opinion, this is just my two cents!

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Comfort Food for Cold Nights

Happy Saturday beauties! My “Saturday” started yesterday when everything was closed due to the 6 inches of snow we got the day before. I spent the morning shoveling snow off of my driveway so we’d be able to get out and go places again! The second I saw the slightest glimpse of asphalt I smiled a sigh of relief. A few hours later, I was on my way to the store to pick up the comfort food I was going to make for dinner. After a long day outside in the cold, you need things like this!

I found this recipe from Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa, on Food Network the other day and have been excited to make it since then. Its a heavy dish; perfect for cold nights!

For full instructions, visit the link above! Ina explains everything much better than I could!

Ingredients
-Kosher salt
-3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
-4 ounces prosciutto, cut crosswise in 1/2-inch-thick matchsticks
-1 cup chopped yellow onion (1 large)
-1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
-1 1/2 cups heavy cream
-4 ounces Italian Gorgonzola dolce, crumbled
-1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
-8 to 10 ounces tagliatelle or fettucine, such as Cipriani
-2 cups frozen peas, defrosted (8 ounces)
-1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
-1/4 cup julienned fresh basil leaves

pasta_ingredients

This dish is called Straw and Hay with Gorgonzola and it’s pretty darn good. I’m not much of a cook and even I could make it. However, I would suggest a few changes to it. The recipe calls for prosciutto to be lightly cooked in a sauce pan in 2 tablespoons of butter. Prosciutto is a rather salty cut of meat (and expensive). I recommend substituting it with either turkey bacon or even thinly sliced, pre-baked chicken. Ina also adds quite a bit of salt into the pasta sauce. If you’re using prosciutto, then only use a half teaspoon of salt when you’re making the sauce.

barefoot_contessa_pasta

Doesn’t that look amazing? At this point, I’ve added the onions (I only used half of what the recipe suggests), the cream, the Gorgonzola, spices, and the pasta. I’m supposed to add in frozen peas for the beautiful green color but I really detest those little green spheres. I didn’t end up adding anything green to this dish. Next time, I’ll try some spinach with it.

*Tip before serving: Strain some of the butter out of the sauce pan to minimize the greasiness. It gets to be too much when you’re eating it.

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Ta da! Here’s the finished product! It tasted marvelous and I’m certainly adding it to my growing list of recipes I can make. I served it with garlic bread but next time I’d do something with less garlic involved. Or none at all. Maybe some walnuts, pecans, and water crackers would be nice to even out the flavors? Add some wine or sparkling cider and you’ll have a delectable meal for a chilly night!

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