Let's eat!

Hi. My name's Carol, and I love food. No, you don't understand. I love food. If I were on the Titanic, I'd be in the galley (kitchen) eating up the chocolate pudding and the roasted quail. I go to most events, activities and parties just for the food. The company and the conversation are secondary. Here, I'll try to document everything that goes into my mouth. Aren't we excited? Oh, hey, are you gonna eat that?

Monday, January 3, 2011

Melting Pot

We finally made it to the Melting Pot in Bellevue for dinner tonight. It's my mom's last day visiting here. Tomorrow morning, she's back in Hawaii. Since she came from the '60s/'70s fondue period, I figured she might enjoy a flashback. She did. We all did. My friend Sheila joined us.

You really need to bring a ton of people to something like the Melting Pot. There's too much to cook and eat for just one or two of us. Even with five, we were stuffed before the dessert even arrived.

Truth be told, I'd only go back with a group of friends for the pure chocolate dessert fondue. Or really, rent a chocolate fountain and host a fondue party in my home.

I arrived only really wanting the cheese and chocolate fondues. I've had really good cheese fondues in the most oddest of places, one of which was at a business after hours cocktail party outside the airport in the middle of nowhere, catered. Otherwise, these fondue restaurants put way too much uncooked alcohol in there for my liking. All I end up tasting is the wine.

Because my husband isn't a big fan of cheese fondue, we went with one pot of a mild traditional swiss. It contained Gruyère and Emmenthaler Swiss cheeses, white wine, garlic, nutmeg, lemon and Kirschwasser. Way too much alcohol. The other one was an even milder form in the cheddar cheese fondue: aged, medium-sharp cheddar and Emmenthaler Swiss cheeses, lager beer, garlic and seasonings.

While the cheddar was milder and less alcohol-y, it was still alcohol over cheese. Cheese fondue came with bread cubes, green apple chunks, raw carrots, cauliflower and broccoli. More bread cubes than veggies. The veggies weren't par-boiled or anything, so they didn't really cook in the fondue. The bread cubes, a mixture of regular and rosemary, were okay but not cut from any outstanding artisan breads.

A lot of people complain that Melting Pot doesn't offer more variety in its dippers, especially for the cheese fondue. I think they're right. The carrots were these dinky little hard nuggets that some of us were eating out of the little bowls without fonduing.

If it were up to me, I'd have skipped over to the chocolate fondue. But it was company and my mom should get the full fondue experience. So we ordered up main entrees with the Bourguignonne European cooking style fondue/fondue cooked in frying oil, with or without two different batters, served with dipping sauces.

Trying to cook raw chicken thoroughly with hot oil and hot forks scares the heck out of me. I even undercooked a piece of chicken and almost freaked out. Luckily, my mom took over toward the end, because we had so much leftover. She fondue-cooked everything to take home.

Me and Sheila ordered the Land and Sea, which offered us chicken, beef, and shrimp. We agreed the shrimp, especially with the batter, was like shrimp tempura and a favorite. I hated waiting for the stuff to cook though. Our fondue pot needed a little more time to fry up than the other one.

The time for dessert was here and we were excited. It didn't disappoint. There's something in that milk chocolate that made it very velvety and full-flavored. Butter and cream, maybe, but blissfully no alcohol. They didn't give me enough poundcake or banana slices to dip with. Everybody else loved themselves the Rice Krispies treats, chocolate and vanilla marshmallows, cheesecake, and strawberries (not in season). But me, give me the poundcake and the pot of milk chocolate, and I'm happy.

The surprise is my picky eater son, 8, partook of the cheese and main entree fondues. He even ate broccoli. I didn't think he'd like the strong taste of the fondue but he was loving himself. What a weird child. I think he liked the cheese fondues better than I did.

Even better, I got my birthday dinner. We were originally scheduled to go to Melting Pot for my birthday back in November, but it snowstormed and we had to cancel last minute. A month later, and I finally get redemption, and my own mini-birthday plate, with candle, for the chocolate fondue. It was nice. Nobody sang "Happy Birthday" to me either, another plus.

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