Dinner at the Orlando's - One of my best friends is my friend Alex Orlando. Alex has been given the title of 'the best' ever since we first met in grade four, and has remained the best thanks to the strange sisterly bond we have with one another that only seems to get stronger as years pass. With her family living right around the corner from my old house, we couldn't help but have spontaneous get togethers whenever we could. Whether it was just going for a walk, having a dip in her hot tub or my pool, having a late night gossip session on our couches, raiding each others fridges for Christmas, Thanksgiving, or New Years leftovers, or munching on nut brittle while making a gingerbread house at my breakfast table, we would always make ourselves at home in each others homes. Her home became my home away from home, a place I knew I could run to if I ever was in trouble, needed a hug, or even needed an egg for a recipe (my sister once ran over to Alex's for that very thing!), and the same went for my home for her. Her parent's, Marisa and Paul, quickly became aunt and uncle figures for me, taking me along on family vacations, inviting me to their backyard parties, and welcoming me in for their Sunday night family dinners. After moving into our apartment a month ago, one of the many things that made me sad was knowing that I would no longer be neighbors with the Orlando's, my second family. Farewell to the days of running around the corner, through the snow, in my pajamas just to hang at the Orlando house.
The most recent time Alex and I got together, I told her all about how my mom and I were adjusting to living in this new space, and some of the troubles we've been having. Alex perked up and said "I know just what you two need! You need to come over for an Orlando Sunday night dinner!" Right when she said that, I knew she was right! I know how welcoming, delicious, and hilarious Sunday nights at the Orlando house can be, having been invited numerous times now, and knew that my mom could definitely use a night of laid back fun. This past Sunday we put our plan into action and headed over to their home. With Alex, Marisa, Paul, Alex's sister Victoria, her husband Kyle, their grandmother Flora, and my mom and I all sitting around their big dining room table, we had the most wonderful time sipping vino and enjoying Marisa's incredible culinary skills. The night began with everyone gathered around their kitchen island, devouring the plate of shrimp and flatbread that Marisa had put out, catching up on all of the recent events, and looking through photos from Victoria and Kyle's wedding this summer.
Dinner at the Orlando's - After appetizers in the kitchen we headed into the dining room for even more deliciousness! We started the meal with the highlight for me, prosciutto and melon salad with arugula and buffalo mozzarella. So incredibly delicious! My mom and I often make prosciutto wrapped melon, but we loved how striking looking and delicious Marisa's salad was! I will definitely be replicating this tasty salad the next time I entertain! The salad was followed by comforting chicken parmesan, roasted fingerling potatoes and butternut squash, and broccoli. Stuffed to the brim, I couldn't believe I still had room to dip into the dessert tray that was served, quickly grabbing a cannoli for myself. Thank you so much to the Orlando family for taking us in and making your home ours for the night. You are possibly the warmest people I have ever known, and one night at your place can make that warmth and positive energy linger all week long! I can't wait to have you over to our place so we can share that same love with you!
Follow Alex on Twitter to learn all about this incredibly talented, multi-taking gal that I am so lucky to call my best friend!