The Culinary Poet, Matteo Musso
of "Teo's Tasty Adventures"

We were visiting Winona State University for a talk he gave. In the cafeteria,
there was an entire table full of desserts and Teo returns with
only a big plate full of Jell-O. He says...

“Jello is a ballroom dancing instructor fired for doing too much hula.”
– Matteo.

 

 

 __________________________________________________________________________

Aviation Rooftop Bar and Kitchen
Livermore, California

 

The H2O was nice and wet, just the way I like it. The lemonade it evaporated all too quickly, due to its slippery numminess.

I enjoyed the Aviator Cheeseburger and the tater tots. They were a nice diversion from traditional french fries. They crunched on the outside, that crunchy layer acting as a noisy down jacket providing insulation for the meat of the tot. I enjoyed a warm tater tot even though I found it necessary to consume my burger in its entirety prior to indulging
in the tots.

The burger – how do I describe its perfection? The bun, a slight crunch outlined the underside rim – texture number one. Puffy fresh bread surrounded the high-quality meat, cooked to my requested finish. Accompanied by onions, cheese, and other toppings, the flavor and texture combos provided a plethora of sensory experiences for my mouth.

I have thoroughly enjoyed it and will take the extra tots to go please.
Thank you for this tasty treat that was my lunch!

– Matteo

___________________________________________________________________________

Panama Bay Coffee Co.
Livermore, California

The "Chuck Norris" mango, pineapple smoothie:
I liked it a lot. It fit nicely through the straw and had a direct route
to my mouth.

Chocolate Croissant:
The delicate pastry crumbled with elegance onto my lap, but the brunt
of it found a quick hiding place in my mouth. My taste buds discovered
the flaky guest, then called into action all available chomping soldiers.
Not one, not two, but 20 or more quickly answered the call to action.
"You must find a way to let my digestive system partake in the job it's meant to do." Chew away my little calcium laden friends, then let the saliva provide transportation to my stomach. "Num," I say. Good teamwork, body.
– Matteo

___________________________________________________________

Sea House Restaurant
Maui, Hawaii

  

The salad provided a dense combination of so many flavors. It was like a rigorous hula dance in my mouth. I could just order another, but then I'd be too full to enjoy the next culinary surprise. Bring it on, please.

Well, just as I suspected, Chef Alex rocks! He accommodated my nut allergy, as I really wanted the basil pesto fish creation. Basil has pine nuts so alas, it was a no go. But I am happy to say that the pine nuts weren't missed. Chef came out and ran his ideas by me... how cool was that?
My taste buds are singing the Hallelujah Chorus right now. Thank you George Frederick Handel and thank you Chef Alex.

Here's the thing, I'm 13 years old and chef made time to come out to my table to make sure I'd have a meal that was safe for me and that I'd love. Wouldn't you say that's a rarity?

The food tonight tasted of skill, talent and pride. The ingredients were fresh, the recipes were creative and the presentation was artistic. But the secret ingredient in my meal that set it apart from all others on my vacation was that the food was treated like art and loved by the artist.

Chef Alex doesn't cook, he creates. His positive energy is felt in the food and it sure tastes good! Thanks Chef Alex, the cooking staff and everyone at the Sea House!  Mahalo!
– Matteo

 

___________________________________________________________________________


Uncle Yu's at the Vineyard

Livermore, California


The Shirley Temple was laced with multiple cherries adding extra flavor for my mouth and a visual treat for my eyes, as the cherries danced in close confinement and proximity to the ice cubes, known as “rocks,” in this case.

We had the orange peel beef, asparagus beef, beans, lemon chicken, pot stickers and crab and cheese puff pastry. I think chopsticks are crazy utensils to eat with. Balancing a piece of meat between two sticks requires way too much skill. I’m just hungry...let me get the food deposited in my mouth ASAP! Let’s not make it an Olympic event!

The cream puffs delighted my mouth with their crunchy exterior, akin to the house the wolf couldn’t blow down in that nursery rhyme. Protected inside was the creamy combo of cream cheese and crab. Hot, delicious residents!

The pot stickers were the best I’ve had in all my 14 years. Crunchy top, but the rest, smooth as silk. Slippery for chopsticks, so Dad said I could use my fingers. The flavors mixed to perfection and they just slid right down the throat.

Lemon chicken is a favorite of mine. I enjoyed the freshness of the meat. It’s tender finish blended with rich and thick lemon sauce. Rich enough but not overdone. A nice choice. The beans are addicting. Beware of their innocent veggie appearance. Their kicky spice sneaks up on you then grabs your attention. Then “poof,” they’re gone. You dream of them and crave them the next day. What secrets do they hold?

Orange Peel Beef is your combination of a blind vegetable seeking stability in the carnivorous world in which it’s grown. They dance together in the pan, not as adversaries from two different schools of nutritional thought, but rather as dancers in the Smuin ballet. The costume of sauce, dressing the performers, tastes scrumptious…there in subtlety, not taking center stage.

Want a “dessert” meat dish? Want to taste the most original combination of flavors set to a plate? Then order the orange peel beef. It’s a rainbow living on your tongue, if only for a few seconds at a time. Eating it will leave a lasting impression on your mouth.

The service was impeccable, the food arrived in perfect time and the atmosphere provided safety for my auditory processing challenges. This restaurant has an energy that said, “We welcome you to Uncle Yu’s.”
Bon Appetite!
Matteo

___________________________________________________________________________

 Swirl on the Square
Livermore, California

This is the best grilled cheese I've ever had. I'll call it "grilled richness." The crunch of the bread danced with the gentle, quiet cheese and meat napping there. That dichotomy, dancing and napping, is what I enjoyed the most. I could just say it tastes good, but I wouldn't want to insult the gift. Life hides gifts in the simplest of things. Let's be sure to seek them out and appreciate them. It made me recall the savory – when added with a bit of softness, it brings total satisfaction.

Speaking of gifts and tactile enjoyment for my mouth, let's talk for a bit about this cheesy bread. This is my second meeting with it this week. Who could be this lucky? It's juicy bread – due to the succulence of its spices and contents. So many flavors and spices lay atop this crunchy platform of wheat. The bread is so thick compared to that which lay on top of it. Cheese and spices used, have not often mingled in my mouth quite like this.

I'm glad you brought me so many pieces! It arrived to me nice and hot, right out of the oven. I engrossed in my "grilled richness" for awhile. I took one warm bite and loved its comfort. But what I noticed later, after eating it at a cooler temperature, is how the flavor remained. This is a solid nummy treat, any way you slice it!

I am so glad Mom brought me here. It's such a chill attitude and fun with the music in the background. The people who work here are so welcoming and I am happy to relax here for quite some time. Thanks for providing such a hip, yet chill place where my taste buds can dance, along with my feet, if I choose.

Swirl rocks! What else can I say?!
Matteo


___________________________________________________________________________

The Railhouse Grill
Lake City, Minnesota

The Railhouse is the best restaurant south of the Twin Cities, in my professional eating opinion. Let’s discuss why…

The chicken quesadilla arrived in a timely manner and on a "cool" plate, I might add, even though the place was packed! The perfect amount of cheese acted as a casein-laden adhesive holding the beans, onion and chicken together. The other secret ingredients attached themselves like magnets, which assured a multi-sensory culinary experience was available in every bite. The pretty orange tortillas provided housing for the goodness and at the same time, transportation from fork (or finger), to mouth. Ahhh, the eagle has landed.

I did applaud the spinach salad Mom ordered. The chicken lay atop the bed of green, so warm and humble. But its texture and flavor could have commanded arrogance, due to the satisfying and enjoyable effect it had on my mouth and tongue. The added extras of cheese, cranberries and candied nuts (on the side of course, due to my nut allergy) completed the plate of Mom’s lunch, which she graciously shared with me.

With love and culinary skill, my stomach was fulfilled once again. If only all the children of the world could have this experience. Just as Chef Doug pours his heart into the culinary delights at the Railhouse, let us all pour our hearts and attention into feeding all people in this world. There is enough for everyone…why are some hungry?

Happily Yours, with a Blessed Tummy,
Teo