Archive for July, 2007

I am a U of I grad and I had never been to Dom’s Patio Villa.

Apparently I’m strange, or, at the very least, in the minority.

A friend and I took Swing lessons at the U for six weeks (as I wrote about previously.)  One of the things that she and I (or she and I and our spouses, if available) liked to do was get something to eat prior to class.  We ventured to Chili’s, Escobar’s, Boltini, The Great Impasta….and last Wednesday, the final night of our class, we went to Dom’s. 

I always mix up Dom’s and Manzella’s and I did it again on Wednesday.  I turned off University onto First, then sidled up to Manzella’s when she said, “Um, you’ll probably need to pull up a bit more.”  Foiled again!  (Two Italian restaurants shouldn’t be this close together….I’m sorry…at least I don’t mix Minneci’s into this!)

We went inside the windowless restaurant (after I found the right one!) and were asked whether we wanted a booth or a table.  We didn’t care, so we got a hybrid of the two in the second room.  I sat on the booth side, she on the table.  My booth rocked.  It was hilarious!  I should have just asked her to scoot forward and pull the table toward me but noooooo…..  I have to sit on the edge of my seat.  Not recommended!

Our waitress was prompt and courteous.  I got my friend’s recommendation and ordered a half and half of spaghetti and ravioli.  I asked for the Marinara sauce.  My friend ordered a half order of spaghetti with meatball.  Well, good thing I have no allergy to meat, because my ravioli were meat filled and my sauce had nice chunks of meat as well.  I might have said something if we hadn’t been in a time crunch, but due to that, I ate what I was served.  It was very flavorful, even though it wasn’t quite what I planned on!  The garlic bread was also very good.  The prices were reasonable – her half order was $6.75 and my half and half (at least the marinara!) was priced at $9.00.  We got a LOT of food and the bread was included with our meals.  Again, our waitress was attentive, ensuring that my diet with no ice was full to my liking.  That’s usually a big plus if you can even remember that I asked for no ice, so to ask if I want a refill and remember again…..  Bonus points!

If you’re looking for quaint, flavorful “Momma’s home cookin’ ” Italian food, then I believe Dom’s might be the place.  Don’t go for romantic decor – don’t get me wrong the place has ATMOSPHERE – it’s just like a building that time forgot.  Some things I couldn’t even explain, but that had no bearing on my meal other than to entertain me as to why concentric blue circles were painted on the ceiling and there was a couple painted on a mural that didn’t particularly look happy.

Dom’s Patio Villa      301 S Locust St.     Champaign     352-8444

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My apologies for being quiet lately.  Even the guyzos haven’t had a chance to speak as I’ve been too busy to translate.  My life is in a wonderful, fantastic, overwhelming upheaval at the moment. 

I recommend you listen to the Josh Groban song “Mai” from the “Awake” album to attempt to feel what I’m experiencing these days.  Or, better yet, just enjoy the entire album.  It’s worth your time to explore.  If the world is piddling on your parade – I recommend “You Are Loved” from the aforementioned.  If the previous are a little too highbrow, Bananarama’s “More, More, More, Pt. 3” from Gregg Diamond’s “Discotech” album is also spinning in my brain.

I promise, when the life becomes rhythm again, I will write.   Although, ironically, life is ALL about rhythm these days….

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I’m not one to put a lot of stock into oracles of any kind, however, for some reason, I’ve had a penchant for saving my fortunes from cookies recently.  I’m easily amused, perhaps, but the random prophecies have been eerie as of late. 

I offer you the following sage bits (lucky numbers not included):

1 – “Your example will inspire others”

2 – “You will never be last in line, you will always excel!”

3 – “Sometimes traveling to a new place leads to great transformation.”

I interpret these in the following way…. 

The first is a pat on the head that leaving my old job was a good idea and others would see my (belated!) wisdom and find a new path.

The second gave me a push to continue to seek new opportunities and not always believe that I would “always be a bridesmaid” (although I’ve never truly been one, but I digress….)

The final one tells me that my new daily journey to the mall will create a new and improved ME! 

It’s a lot like any other writing…..  it’s all in the interpretation. 

Back to regular programming.

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WCB: Oh the irony!

So yeah….  Lucky’s been at our grandmother’s house trying to move her “breezeway kitties” into “house kitties.”  I think that makes them our aunt and uncle kitties….maybe….or not…  We’re cats and have no time for genealogical pursuits!  In her absence we’ve been hanging out with Charmed who works from home a lot now (booooooring!)

Lucky came home and thought our nap location was ironic.  We’re not stupid, ya know.  We’re cats.  We’re very evolved.  We “get” the Gorey bag, already.  Duh.  It says (under our gorgeous fur for those of you not familiar….) “Books. Cats.  Life is good.”


Oh, and it was really comfy and didn’t already have cat hair on it.  That helped too.


Wyatt and Egbert

P.S.  Don’t forget to check out the rest of our furry friends who are lining up at Sher’s this weekend!  Those tasty squirrels are back again!!  Woo hoo!

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Chocolate Malt Cake

I was drawn to try this because the recipe (taken from The Baker’s Catalogue) was simple and looked gorgeous.  It was worth the time and effort!  When I make this, I bake the cakes the night before, as well as add the malted milk to the cream and put that in the fridge overnight to chill. 

1 3/4 cups (12 1/4 ounces) sugar
1 3/4 cups (7 3/8 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 tablespoons (3/4 ounce) Instant ClearJel or cornstarch
3/4 cup (2 1/4 ounces) Dutch-process cocoa
3/4 cup (3 3/4 ounces) malted milk powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1/2 cup (4 ounces) water
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon chocolate extract, optional
1 cup (8 ounces) hot water

1 3/4 cups (14 ounces) heavy cream
1/2 cup (2 1/2 ounces) malted milk powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon Instant ClearJel*
1/4 cup (1 1/2 ounces) grated or finely chopped semisweet chocolate
2 teaspoons chocolate extract, optional

1/4 cup (2 ounces) heavy cream
1 tablespoon corn syrup, light or dark
1/4 cup (1 1/4)malted milk powder
1/2 cup (3 ounces) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped into 1/4″ pieces
crushed malted milk balls, for garnish

*Instant ClearJel stabilizes the whipped cream. If you choose not to use it, prepare the filling and finish the cake just before serving.

To make the cake: Stir together the dry ingredients, then add the eggs, water, oil, and extracts; beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Stir in the hot water, and pour the thin batter into two greased and floured 9″ round cake pans. Bake the cakes in a preheated 350°F oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool the cakes for 10 minutes, then turn them out of the pans to cool completely on a rack.

To make the filling: Warm 1 cup of the cream and stir in the malted milk powder. Add the remaining cream and chill completely. Stir ClearJel and sugar together, then sprinkle over the chilled cream. Beat on medium-high speed just until peaks begin to form. Fold in grated chocolate and chocolate extract.

Stir together the glaze ingredients (except the malted milk balls) over low heat until melted and smooth.

To finish the cake: Trim cake layers to flatten them. Place one layer on a serving platter. Spread with half the filling. Top with the second layer, and spread with the remaining filling. Drizzle the lukewarm glaze on top, then sprinkle with crushed malted milk balls. Yield: 10 servings.

 *ClearJel is modified food starch. 

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