I’m so glad you guys liked my Sprigs Earbags giveaway! Thank you to all who participated. I’m excited to announce that the winner is…
…Ali of Miles With Style!
Thank you for entering Ali – now you can seriously get your style on while piling on those miles. I will contact you for shipping info!
I know that the big Thanksgiving holiday was this past weekend and everyone is back to work and “real life” today. I also know that the blog world is going to be flooded with Thanksgiving food (in fact, it already is). I love reading about what everyone else did for Thanksgiving, but I also still need to finish my Mohegan Sun weekend recap. So my Turkey Day talk will come, but for now, we have some catching up to do!
Now let’s see…where were we? Oh right! Maria and I were in our hotel room on the 32nd floor of the Mohegan Sun Casino hotel, pampering ourselves and prepping for an epic tasting dinner with other bloggers at Todd English’s Tuscany!
We went downstairs a little early for craps and Christmas. Yes, Christmas.
Mohegan is already decked out for the holidays and Maria and I had to get a photo in front of the tree in our outfits.
I am a conservative craps player so I only ended up winning $10, but I also got a free Jack Daniel’s Manhattan while playing, so I consider this round of gambling a major win!
Our tasting dinner was set up in one of Tuscany’s private dining rooms. Maria and I both arrived hungry and ready to fill our bellies, but Tuscany was more ready than us. We were in for a seriously epic amount of food.
We bloggers also had the pleasure of dining with the woman who brought us all together for the weekend, PR Manager Michelle Williams. We have been working together on events and giveaways for more than half a year now and it was wonderful to finally get the chance to meet in person and talk food, marketing, family, romance…you know, the usual!
We were first served crusty Italian bread with a seriously awe-inspiring white bean puree and olive tapenade. I’m not sure how I managed to hold off on having a piece until the first glass of wine was poured, but somehow I did.
Our first wine was a white blend of Riesling, Moscato, and Chardonnay. I normally am not a fan of anything Moscato-related but the Riesling and Chardonnay balanced it out. This glass sure went down easily.
The antipasto course of passed appetizers was easily enough food for my dinner. Maria and I looked at each other as the plates were being taken away and said, “How are we going to fit anything else?!”
I legitimately would come back to Tuscany and just order this entire platter for myself. It was hard to save room and not kill it.
Calamari is often all the same to me because it just all tastes fried. This calamari didn’t stand out too much (the best I’ve ever had is still at J. Gilbert’s because it includes the barely-fried octopus-looking calamari that I adore) but the chipotle sauce – man oh man! Pretty darn good.
Though I prefer my flatbreads to be served on crispier, thinner crusts, the above flatbread’s flavor combo was hard not to love. I’m a prosciutto fanatic!
I chose the Tuscan Salad of greens, roasted red peppers, artichokes, olives, onions, and lemon vinaigrette for my salad course. Very impressive! I like a restaurant starter salad that doesn’t slack on the ingredients. The Chardonnay went so well with the vinaigrette.
Before I knew it I was being poured the next wine – Apothic Red – and hadn’t even finished my Chardonnay yet. Had to double up! The next course, pasta, featured choice of two dishes – clam linguine or ricotta gnocchi. The latter has been on my to-try list for eons, so it was a no-brainer.
Ummm…when can I eat gnocchi again?! The ricotta was to die for but those potato pillows, ahhh. Not surprised I loved this dish since I am a potato fanatic (as well as the previously mentioned prosciutto…me thinks I need to eat a pizza topped with both). That sauce was certainly fabulous and the homemade ricotta, don’t get me started. Wait, I already am.
My other seatmate Anne ordered the clam linguine, and she let me take a shot of her dish. I didn’t try any because I could barely fit my food as it was at this point (and we still had the entrees to come…) but I heard great things about it! I’m just not a plain pasta person – my palate craves too much excitement!
Then came the entrees. Yes, more food. I didn’t finish my gnocchi and knew I couldn’t finish this dish, but I want to come back to Tuscany so I can order it again and enjoy an entire portion during a normal-sized meal!
Maria and I couldn’t get over how crispy this fish was. I want to know Todd English’s secret! Yes obviously Maria and I ordered the same thing for the entire meal.
Maria, I, and the rest of the girls found our third/fourth/fifth stomachs the moment we caught glimpses of the desserts! First, each of us was served a mini fallen chocolate cake with a scoop of the most delicious, simple Tahitian vanilla ice cream and raspberry puree. It had been forever since I’d just enjoyed a scoop of vanilla ice cream instead of a more “complex” flavor. Though I am all about the complex, it felt so nice to go back to the vanilla days of my childhood and mix the ice cream with the warm, molten syrup center of the chocolate cake. There was no way I wouldn’t finish every last bite.
Did you really think we were done? NOT A CHANCE. I couldn’t pass up one each of the cannolis and another Italian pastry (I’d call it a croissant with cannoli filling – anyone know what that is called?) on the below tray. EDIT: Thanks to Sara for sharing that the pastry is called a “sfogliatelle”, which means many leaves in Italian. If you look at it you can see why it has that name! I packed up some more of both to bring home to the fam.
AND end meal. Finally, right?! Like I said before, I really want to go back to Tuscany now to enjoy a “normal” sized meal so that I can eat every last bite and not leave with a food baby. But believe me, this food baby was welcomed. I am honestly so proud of myself for enjoying every bite of this meal that I wanted to, knowing I don’t do it all the time, and sleeping quite peacefully that night.
A huge part of that was the fact that I felt so special, appreciated, and in my element during the meal and the entire weekend. I was in the company of good friends who are also bloggers I admire and have read for – in some cases – years! I was the guest of one of my favorite CT destinations and got the chance to try so many authentic Italian dishes at a new-to-me restaurant. And the best part? I didn’t have to do the 45 minute drive back home afterward! 😛
Some of the girls headed out for shopping after the meal wound down (and after we spent a bit more time sitting, digesting, and chatting), but Maria and I were so ready for bedtime.
When we got back to our room, Maria and I had a case of the wine sillies that was sparked by the donning of my matchy-matchy Victoria’s Secret flannel jammies.
We decided that the giant…things on our bed looked like foam rollers. Anyone know what they’re called?
Sadly, it didn’t function as a foam roller.
Alas, we cheered up and settled in for TV, girl talk, and not too long after, bed. We awoke the next morning like the early birds we are, checked out of the hotel, and checked back into reality. And while reality is always nice to return to, I have to admit that I was texting Maria later that night saying, “I miss Mohegan!”
Thank you to Mohegan Sun, Tuscany, and Michelle for an enchanting evening and Saturday in general!
Though I received accommodations and this meal free of charge, all thoughts and opinions are my own. I was not compensated for this post.
Which dish would you have most liked to try?
Have you ever dined with other bloggers?
Have you ever done any gambling?