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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Brano's Italian Grill in Cocoa Beach, Florida

We tend to eat out a lot more when we are on vacation even at our vacation home where we tend to have company staying for extended periods of time.  A lot of the homemade meals at our vacation home are breakfasts and lunches with the occasional homemade dinner.  The nice thing about this is we get to experience a lot of nice restaurants that serve as inspiration for later home cooking. We love our pasta dishes so I am always looking for a bit of inspiration to come up with something just a little different in a pasta dish.  What better place to look than in a restaurant that specializes in classic Italian pasta dishes?

Brano's Italian Grill
Brano's Italian Grill is located at 3689 North Atlantic Avenue in Cocoa Beach, Florida.  It is a smaller restaurant set back from the road a bit but don't let that fool you.  This restaurant that specializes in classic Italian pasta dishes is a definite gem!  The atmosphere is warm and welcoming.  The wait-staff are friendly, attentive and very efficient.  The wonderful pasta dishes are tasty and nicely presented.

We visited Brano's on Christmas Eve with a couple of our kids.  It was busy but the food and service was excellent!  With an appetizer and drinks our bill came to $91.21 for four adults which isn't a bad price for what we enjoyed.  The only negative thing that I can say about Brano's is the overuse of dried parsley flakes as a garnish.  It was virtually on every dish we ordered.  It was even on the salad, the soup and the bread so it was rather redundant.  Other than that we had no complaints so this restaurant has made it onto our must visit when in the area list.

snapper with shrimp
We ordered the shrimp & crab parmesan dip served with warm pita bread (not pictured) as our appetizer.  It was a lovely, rich tasting appetizer to start the meal with.  Entrées are served with your choice of soup or salad and dinner rolls.  The salad is simply romaine lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers & onion with your choice of dressings but it is nicely presented.

One of the kids ordered the backened snapper with shrimp entrée.  Sides included mashed potatoes and grilled vegetables on a bed of baby greens.  Blackened refers to a Cajun seasoning  blend used to coat the fish before pan frying.  You can buy prepared blackened seasoning or make your own blend as desired for home cooking.

fettucini alfredo with chicken
One of our kids ordered the Fettucini Alfredo with chicken entrée.  And doesn't it just look scrumptious?  Alfredo sauce is simply a bechemel sauce (white sauce) with parmesan cheese added.  It is rich and creamy, a true comfort food.  What was a bit different with this Alfredo sauce was the consistency.  It was thinner than most Alfredo sauces giving an almost borderline stoup to borrow from Rachel Ray's favourite saying.  A stoup is thinner than a stew but thicker than a soup.

This would be a very easy dish to duplicate at home.  I think the only thing I would do a bit differently is to sear the chicken for a bit of colour and flavour.

veal parmigiana
I ordered the spaghetti your way with a plain meat sauce (not pictured).  It was delicious!  My husband ordered the veal parmigiana.  This gorgeous entrée came with a serving of spaghetti with a choice of marinara or marsala sauce.  He had the marsala sauce.  The veal was smothered with a marsala wine and mushroom sauce then topped with a wonderful coating of parmigan cheese.

This too is another easy to duplicate dish at home.  Veal cutlets can be purchased already breaded or you can easily bread them yourself.  Marsla is an Italian fortified wine very similar to a port wine.  The marsala spaghetti sauce is essentially a marinara sauce with marsala added for flavour and body during the cooking process.


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