I think the saying goes “man plans, and God laughs”; no statement has better described my family’s life for the last couple of months. Mom and I had a great trip to Mesa Verde all planned out for Mother’s Day weekend (Mom is an archaeology nut) and then, well…life happened. One little slip lead to Mom needing her kneecap completely rebuilt, surgery, physical therapy, the whole nine yards. Health is a gift-never forget that! On top of all that, we’ve lost several close family and friends recently. Each loss has been horribly unexpected (although I don’t think you’re ever ready) but has truly made us realize how blessed we are to have the friends and family that we do.
So since life went all topsy-turvy and we weren’t quite ready to go bussling around Mesa Verde, I got mom tickets to see Paula Poundstone at Chautauqua. If you have never seen Paula do standup, do yourself a favor and look her up immediately. By the end of the night my ribs (not just my abs) hurt from laughing so hard. The woman is a true comedic genius. These past couple months have been especially hard on Mom, and it was so wonderful to see her laughing so hard she was crying. Because life is short, and food is delicious, we decided to go to Via Toscana on the way to the theatre. What a great way to start the night!
Via Toscana is tucked away in a strip center and is barreeeellllyy visible from the road, but once you find it, what a treat! They’ve done a wonderful job with the exterior and interior decor, the outside is all slate with a gorgeous wooden door and the inside is unexpectedly elegant with stained glass in every part of the restaurant. Our waitress was wonderful; she knew her menu, made great wine suggestions and got us out perfectly on time so we could make the show. We started with the calamari (gluten-free)! Tossed in a light rice flour, they were light, crispy and disappeared quickly.
I had the Pollo Marsala Saltimbocca, made with all-natural chicken, prosciutto, sage, fresh mozzarella and shiitake mushrooms. The chicken was perfectly cooked, the proscuitto and sage were incredibly flavorful and the sauce had a deep rich beef and red wine flavor that balanced the saltiness of the prosciutto and brought the dish together.
Mom is a total lamb sucker and whenever we can get Colorado lamb, she’s there! She had their special of the night; two grilled Colorado lamb chops with roasted vegetables, kale and a sweet rosemary demi-glaze that really complimented the flavor of the meat. Rosemary+lamb=match made in heaven. Even though she did munch her way through the rabbit food, Mom is really not a big kale fan. Mom’s distain for all kale-like veggies stems from the infamous Mexican kale experiences. When I was younger, we used to travel to Mexico about once a year and it seemed like the hotel we always stayed at only sourced swiss chard as their green veggie. One or two swiss chard experiences can be endured, but when it’s all the time, every time, you become scarred for life. Before our eyes, swiss chard was appearing in everything: quesadillas with swiss chard, huevos with swiss chard, steak with swiss chard chimichurri. It became a running joke in our family that we didn’t even need to ask, the answer would always be….swiss chard!!!
Via Toscana was a wonderful dinner. It’s a beautiful restaurant with wonderful service and excellent Italian food. Yet as great a dinner as we had, the night wasn’t just about enjoying a lovely meal. This was a night that celebrated life, health, family and laughter, and hopefully, made things just a little more right in the world.