Sweetbreads at Tempe's Caffe Boa
You don't see sweetbreads on the menu at very many restaurants around town, so that immediately caught my eye. Here, they were milk-braised with mirepoix and apples, served over herb-flecked, toasted gnocchi. The soft, potatoey gnocchi got extra flavor and texture from the lightly browned spots -- very tasty.
Backing up, we started the meal with two apps, roasted veal marrow bones and shrimp adriatico. The marrow was drizzled with tawny port syrup and presented with a pile of baby arugula, both of which helped temper its fatty richness.
Shrimp adriatico was nothing short of kick-ass. Next time, I think Dad and I might go back to Boa and each order one for ourselves, because we both can eat a lot of shrimp. There were six huge ones in the bowl, and long after we gobbled them up, we enjoyed the amazing broth, soaked up with bite after bite of fresh focaccia (they'll bring a bread basket to the table, so load up!). It amounted to the best tomato soup I've ever tasted, creamy and garlicky and so warming on a dark December night. (Yes, a glass of pinot noir probably helped my cause.)
Dad's entree was a beautiful piece of grouper, perfectly cooked -- glistening white flesh with a rich golden sear. Once upon a time, Dad's love of seafood prompted him to open a seafood shop in our tiny Pennsylvania town (working there was my first job), so I could tell from the look on his face that he was pleased with this lovely specimen. He gave me a couple bites to try, and I'm sure I was beaming, too.