A good riddle can be as satisfying as a great dish. They both leave you wanting a little more.
When I was young I had the same collection of books that most kids growing up in the early sixties had. Lots of Dr. Seuss and the like. Seuss was great, dont get me wrong. There are people who were raised on his creative, songlike prose who think of him in an almost god-like way. But, for me Bennett Cerfs Book of Riddles was a standout (this is not the place to get into my all time favorite, Go Dog Go).
Q: When is a boy not a boy?
A: When he turns into a store.
Q: Whats big and red and eats rocks?
A: A big, red rock eater.
And, finally, the classic,
Q: What makes more noise than a cat stuck in a tree?
A: Two cats stuck in a tree.
Now Ill agree that these are not questions that have been plaguing mankind for centuries. But, they did (and still do) keep me entertained. My wife will attest to my lowbrow sense of humor.
Food blog, oh right. OK, well
What do the scallops pictured above and an insanely funny children’s book have to do with one another (ah, a riddle!)? As it turns out, plenty.
Eating a delicious dish can be a lot like solving a riddle. First, there is the question itself. It happens when you take your first look at the plate. The answer seems easy. Its a scallop.
Upon further inspection you see that its not just any ordinary scallop, but, one that has been lovingly wrapped in pancetta and then pan seared.
The final piece to the puzzle falls into place with the first taste. As you cut through the crispy bacon, into the delicate mollusk and finally slicing the tender morsel of potato that makes up the base of the dish, you realize that this scallop is different. And, it tastes that way.
Here are some more answers. Yes, theres saffron and yes, there are mixed mushrooms and yes it is amazingly rich and delicious. I think you can tell that from the image below.
The next obvious question (this really is a question more than a riddle) is:
Q: Where can you find this scallop that is more than a scallop?
A: Aria European
If you re not familiar with Aria its OK, you will be soon. Newly opened on Palm Avenue in the former Zaks Steakhouse, Aria European is putting a special twist on some traditional dishes. Proprietor, Giorgio Oldano knows how to run a successful restaurant. For the past twelve years he was feeding guests at his namesake eatery, Da Giorgio Ristorante on Anna Maria Island.
Chef Giovanni Tulino, is the mastermind behind the culinary creations at Aria. He is transforming the way that we think about European cuisine, which, lets face it, can sometimes be a bit predictable and unimaginative. Giovannis dishes are turning that thinking on its head.
Now I realize that scallops arent everyone’s thing. Crazy, but true. So, here is a quick peak at a couple of other excellent choices from Arias menu.
Light and delicious Carpaccio Di Tonno. Tuna shaved so thin you can read through it. I know its cliché, but, in this case it happens to be the truth.
Freschezza Del Mare. The goodness of the sea (more specifically, clams, shrimp, squid and lobster) in a exceptionally light tomato sauce served over a bed of al dente tagliolini pasta. WOW!
Heres one final riddle.
Q: Why did the chicken cross the road?
A: To get more hair (thats the answer my son always gave. To this day, Im not sure why).
Want some of the great food pictured above? You can get it.
For more great images from the Aria photo shoot, click here.
1213 North Palm Avenue
Sarasota, Florida 34236
All images copyright © 2011, Larry Hoffman. All right reserved. For usage please contact dineSarasota.com through this website.