Monday, January 26, 2015

DOING DISHES: Take Away Meals - U Mundu E Ca

One of the stupidest excuses other singles have for not cooking is that they can't be bothered with it for just one person, even when that one person is YOU. If you are anything like Zena, you are the center of the universe, and you don't have to be a goddess or superhero to appreciate how special you are. Ask your dog if you don't believe me.

You don't have to cook to eat real food.  You could easily make yourself a tuna sandwich if you are organized enough to have bread and mayo and a can of tuna around the house (and you can share your repast with the cat, who may not appreciate you, but they do like it when you feed them). Red's go-to on a lazy night or during an overly busy time is popcorn. Both go quite well with cardbordeaux (that's wine in a box in case you didn't get it), and while it ain't fine dining, it's certainly better than fast food. Or you can eat out somewhere decent, solo is fine, if good food and the world is what you need.
Parking is better on the Wolf Road side of this strip mall.
But apparently "The World is Here", which is what U Mundu E Ca supposedly translates to in English, although the closest I got online was underpants something. Anyway, this is an Italian specialty store with a small grocery selection, a well-stocked deli where you can order by the pound, a fabulous selection of sandwiches and take-away meals. Everything is homemade with best quality ingredients: these treats are totally worth stopping in for any day of the week, whether it's lunch or dinner for numero uno, or just you and a friend, or a family of four. Mundu is hidden away in a strip mall in the Hannaford's Plaza on the corner of Wolf and Sand Creek Road in Colonie. Happily, they post their daily creations and specials every single day on Facebook so you can plan accordingly (and if you LIKE Albany Dish on Facebook you will get their announcements as part of our news feed).

Always watching my nickels because I need what little I have to invest in saving the world from the forces of evil (and believe me, a new cape ain't cheap), I've been lucky enough to snag a few DoubleTakeOffers deals over the past few months for $20 worth of goods for only $10 at Mundu. So don't tell me that fast food is cheaper. It isn't. Ain't. NOT. On Friday night Foodie Friend and I stopped by for a procured meal to bring back to Chez Zena's. For $8.95 plus tax each we ordered Chicken Parm with ziti (no surprises there, if you've read our posts before) and a special dish of Crab Lasagna, each served with garlic bread and a salad, bringing us in just under our $20 coupon, so I bought a candy bar for dessert and handed over an extra $0.14 as we headed out the door. I win.  (:

They will heat your meal or package it for reheat in a microwave or conventional oven.
They can heat your meal or package it for reheat in a microwave or a conventional oven. We opted for aluminum and oven reheat at home (we replaced the plastic lid with foil before drinking anything), and sipped on the first of two bottles of beaujolais that would start our weekend off right. An hour later at 350 degrees F we split the main courses and set ourselves a nice table. The garlic bread, wrapped tightly in foil at Mundu and which we only heated for 10 minutes or so, was toasted to just the right color. The bread was dense and chewy and buttery, although I'm not crazy about the taste of garlic powder/salt when fresh is always SO much better. Speaking of which, the salads were very fresh, with carrot, grape tomatoes, pimento stuffed olives, and mixed greens (including a healthy dose of romaine), served with a homemade balsamic vinaigrette packaged on the side. It was very tasty.
Two lovely side salads with a homemade balsamic dressing on the side.
The ziti, even with an oven reheat, was the perfect texture (toothsome but not tough), telling me it wasn't Prince spaghetti night. The sauce was bright, tart and generous with the flavors of black pepper and garlic. The chicken cutlet, topped with the sauce and a few thin slices of provolone (?) was tender and juicy, a bit crispy still, and the whole dish held together nicely. But the Crab Lasagna was the show-stopper: rich, creamy, cheesy, and totally decadent, and if I could take myself out on food (defying other forces of evil) this would be the way to go. The crab flavor was subtle in a totally decadent ricotta filling layered between perfect pasta. The texture was so lovely I closed my eyes and groaned with pleasure. Not out loud, of course, maybe a slight woo woo sound or something, but I'm afraid it was still audible.
The Crab Lasagna was delicious. Next time I'm not sharing it.

U Mundu E Ca is one of those little hidden gems that are worthy of attention. They are busy, and, I hope, they will just keep getting busier. They deserve the repeat customers more than anyplace I've been to in a long time. It smells DIVINE in there, and the staff are genuinely friendly and seem to care deeply about what they serve. I'll keep an eye open for more of those groovy coupons, for tonight's special, for this and other ways of being good to myself, and for cars zooming through the parking lot as I head home with my booty.

Zena, Goddess of Fire

P.S. Let me make a suggestion, if you value your Batmobile or whatever vehicle you are driving these days - park on the Wolf Road side of the parking lot. The Sand Creek side, in front of Mundu, is on a busy through road in the mall and it's hard to pull out without feeling like getting T-boned is in your horoscope for the day. Just saying.  

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