Sunday, February 20, 2011

A Cooking Class Date Night

 Thanks to my sweet sister, Bo & I went out twice in the last 2 weeks.  It had been much too long since we last went out alone!  2 weeks ago we went to San Tan Brewery for dinner and last Sunday we went to a cooking class at Luci's Healthy Marketplace.

I saw a tweet, which led me to a Facebook page, which led me to a company website, which led me to call and register the 2 of us for one of their Sunday cooking classes.  This one was "Table for Two" in honor of Valentine's Day (which was the next day).  It seemed like something different to do and I thought it would be a fun night.

I had never heard of Luci's Healthy Marketplace before, but the pictures and the website led me to believe it was a cute place.  They didn't lie!  It is set up as part grocery store, part coffee shop, and part restaurant. It's not close to us at all, so I probably won't visit often -- but they do have jazz on Saturday nights so I can see Bo & I going again as a date night.

They run cooking classes every Sunday night from 5:30 to 7:30.  The class we attended was extremely well-attended -- with 40 participants.  With that many people, there was much less hands-on than I was expecting, but we were able to watch Chef Michael Tardibuono create the dishes and then enjoyed eating them at the end.

He created a delicious roast pork loin with fruit salsa, roasted red potatoes and green beans almondine.  For dessert, we enjoyed a flourless chocolate torte.  In fact, it was so delicious that Bo recreated it tonight for his birthday dinner!  We invited some family & friends over and everyone declared the dinner delicious.  I made him a vanilla/strawberry cake instead of chocolate torte, though, since he likes strawberry cake for his birthday.

We definitely enjoyed our evening out, but we didn't really learn much regarding different techniques.  I guess we're better cooks than we thought we were.  Bo did say that he usually would have grilled the pork loin, so the preparation of that was a bit different and we definitely liked it.

I was under the impression from some of their marketing that the classes were limited to 12 attendees, so I was surprised to find ourselves in a group of 40.  The size limited the hands-on experience (we did snap some green beans and Bo volunteered to toss the potatoes), but at $40/person I felt that it was a bit expensive with the number of people.

Chef Michael Tardibuono was engaging, interesting and talented.  The entire staff was friendly and helpful and I liked them very much.   I am bummed that we missed the knife skills class last month, but will watch for the next time they run that class as I think that is a class where we would learn something new.

If you're looking for a different way to spend a Sunday night, and have an extra $80, check out one of their cooking classes (they still haven't posted March's classes).   If you don't want to pay for a class, then I would stop in anyway and enjoy some of their coffee / tea / baked goods.  It's a cute, retro place and I wish them much success!

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