Friday, July 14, 2006

Gourmet Garden To Go. A sweet find! My friend Tula recommended that I check this place out. I don't see how I could have missed it before, being located just across the street from the Mill Valley Whole Foods. Gourmet Garden is themed on a European garden with walls painted in refreshing garden themes and charming touches everywhere. There are some metal garden chairs and tables in the interior, I suppose if one wanted to do a quick eat-in, but they did not look too comfortable. The concept is for fine dinners-to-go for the discriminating palate, with directions so simple that it takes creativity to mess them up.

The proprietor was friendly and enthusiastic and took the time to explain the system to me in detail as a first timer. Everything is fresh; they even make their own ricotta and pasta for the lasagne. There is a tall refrigerator case with charmingly arranged black paper boxes covered with film containing the appetizing entrees and side dishes. Everything but the lasagne is cooked in a pre-heated 400F oven in the box without the film top, for 10 minutes. How simple is that?!

I had to limit myself! I brought home the vegetarian lasagne ($10), French green beans with sherry/almond/butter ($8), Pear and Apple/Dried cranberry tartlets ($5) and an orignal Deep pocket sandwich filled with pancetta and chard ($12). This was carefully placed in big shiny black bag with napkins stapled artfully to the front.

I baked the deep pocket sandwich for lunch.. mmm.. astoundingly flaky crust. The chard and pancetta filling was good, almost too salty, but not quite too much. It was very filling. No room to sample a tart.

Later in the evening: Mmm. mmm.mmmmm. The lasagne was great. The pasta was so tender - the best I can remember since a friend's Italian Mom and Aunt came to visit and cooked from scratch all day... the pear tartlette had hints of almond extract and marzipan - yum as well.

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