Mother’s Little Helper- Simone’s

Updated: Jan 12, 2019

The Rolling Stones were onto something when they wrote that famous song “Mother’s Little Helper”, in 1966. Mother, wife, short-order cook, schlepper, cleaner and “quicker picker upper”- just a few words to describe the hundreds of rather mundane tasks I do, as do the other Moms. It does make one wilted and just a tiny bit cranky…maybe a lot.

There is something universally sobering and somber about Monday nights. Just when you got out of the Sunday night blues, here is Ms. Monday with her stiff upper lip, negative demeanor and icy ways. She is serious and oh such the party pooper. The routine of the week has kick-started with day 1 of 5, and here we go.

Recently, I signed up for a Simone’s cooking class, which happened to be on a Monday. At first, I thought it might not work, but now, I am in love with this local escape.

The class was called “Clams and Mussels and Cioppino, Oh My!”

The atmosphere at Simone’s is cool, chic and fresh, comfortable and open with pops of yellow in the décor. The space was reserved for the class participants, as the restaurant is closed on Monday, so it felt very specialized.

I signed up with my friend Jackie, from Wander + Lash, and we slithered- quick like a bunny- out of our dinner time routines to be at the class by 6 p.m. It was a full and festive crowd, all perfectly positioned at the open kitchen with smiles and wines. Joe Simone led the entire class which featured succulent dishes made with a variety of these mollusk delights. He announced: “Tonight, we are celebrating the mussel and clam!”… Steamed Mussels and Shallots with Crème Fraiche, Grilled Clams with Dill Oreganato, Linguini ala Vongole, and Roasted Cioppino with clams, mussels and scallops. We were poured generous refills of our wine and presented with gourmet meatballs while we waited for the Instructor Extraordinaire to get started. The evening culminated with a chocolaty concoction.

I learned a great deal about local mussels and clams, how to pick them, how to clean them, how to cook them in four tremendous, yet simple, recipes made with fresh ingredients, and of course, local favorites as recommended by our chef. Joe has a unique ability to make guests feel so special, comfortable and relaxed.

I wore no apron, no hair net and chopped nothing. Really nice for a change to just absorb the instruction and taste all. I now have a lovely recipe booklet to try at home (just not Mondays).

Joe is a spirited, passionate and dynamic culinary instructor and talented chef. For me, his classes provided the ultimate escape from my mundane Mondays. Hubby David got to take over the routine with the kids, conducting grilled cheese experiments at home while I got to Go Out, socialize, learn and dine. I left happy.

Grumpy Ms. Monday had nothing to say to me except “See you next week”. I said “I don’t think so”.

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