Escape the January cold with the tropical taste of citrus. Warm fruity flavors enliven savory and sweet foods alike, and this is the time of year they’re in season. The sweet-tart pucker of lemon is popular in everything from hearty chicken entrées to designer celebration cakes worthy of royalty. Lime enhances guacamole and smoothies. Orange makes a smoothie whole. Vitamin C is a healthy bonus citrus fruits offer in the midst of cold and flu season. Check out these restaurants and specialty food shops across Plymouth that dress up all kinds of delicious dishes with citrus.
Pink Lemonade Cake
Like a storybook tale, pink lemonade cake takes you into an imagined land. Everything about the blushy rose pastel cake looks festive, almost to the point of make believe—a flawless presentation sculpts layer upon layer of seductively sculpted sugar. The southern-inspired recipe by Jenna Johnson of Gateaux makes for a sublime citrus-style dessert, with a whisper of tartness and a sweet smack. Dreamy whipped cream and fresh strawberry filling add the rich consistency of fruit-studded vanilla mousse, while fluffs of real buttercream hide under a satin-smooth Swiss fondant finish. Two layers of frosting enrobe the cake and make the ideal edible canvas for intricate designs. Each cake has a different look to reflect the spirit of the occasion and the customer’s personal style. All cakes are made to order with a three-tier minimum; call for pricing. 15705 35th Ave. N.; 763.577.9815.
Chicken Tikka Masala
Indian food exudes the warmth of a faraway land that is particularly inviting during the cold days of January. From India Palace’s vast menu of tempting possibilities, the chicken tikka masala tops the list of customer favorites year round. Marinated boneless chicken breast simmers with fresh green peppers, red onions and tomatoes in a creamy sauce scented with lemon. “The combination of lemon with Indian spices is very unique,” owner Pramod Chopra says. Housemade garam masala, a mixture of seven pungent spices, gives the dish heat and is ground fresh daily for heightened flavor. “Everything is made to order, one dish at a time,” he says. A bottomless base of basmati rice ensures none of the precious sauce goes to waste. $14. 4190 Vinewood Lane N.; 763.383.1880.
Anna Rayas’s guacamole is an authentic Mexican dish brimming with healthy ingredients (read: no sour cream) at La Cocina de Ana, “Anna’s Kitchen.” The lively flavor of fresh lime has a functional purpose in guacamole: The fruit’s natural acids protect the bright avocado from discoloring. Made fresh daily, the guacamole is an all-vegetable condiment with fresh avocados, serrano chili peppers, olive oil and cilantro. The peppers add a faint touch of heat, but this guac is not spicy. Like everything at Ana’s Kitchen, the guacamole is made to take out so you can enjoy Mexican cuisine in your own home. Don’t forget the chips, advises owner Rayas: The salty snap of tortilla chips complements the creamy deep qualities of guacamole. Chico, $4.99; small, $9.99; medium, $17.99; large, $24.99; party-size, $44.99. 1400 County Road 101 N. Ste. C; 763.951.3377.
Ketsana’s Thai Restaurant
Pad Thai has an international acclaim. Asian noodles go beyond the ordinary with complex, exotic flavors set off by a fresh squeeze of sour citrus. While lime is traditional in Thailand, a more sweet-sour punch of lemon updates the dish at Ketsana’s Thai Restaurant. A stir fry of thinner-than-usual rice noodles, eggs and spices is cloaked in a special sauce with a touch of chili pepper. More savory flavors come from a last-minute addition of bean sprouts, fresh green onions and crunchy roasted peanuts. The hands-on cooking technique requires expert timing and knowledge. “The cook has to know everything that goes in,” owner Ketsana Suvanphim says. No out-of-the-bottle shortcuts go into this pad thai: All of the ingredients, including the sauce, are fresh and made to order according to customer preferences for level of spiceness and protein choice. A side of fresh lemon caps everything off. With chicken, pork or tofu, $11.75; beef, $12.95; shrimp, $15.25. 16605 County Road 24; 763.559.0695.
Photo courtesy of Lunds
Lemon Raspberry Tartisan Tartlet
Cute as a button and tasty, too, the lemon raspberry artisan tartlet makes a tea party or makes your day as an elegant alternative to chocolate. “A small lemon raspberry tart is the perfect punctuation for your little romantic soirée or a lovely addition for your brunch or shower,” says Joan Donatelle, FoodE Expert at Lunds. Fresh lemon filling, seedless raspberry marmalade and white chocolate nest together in a frilly buttery pastry shell. A buttercream rosette completes the dainty but delicious look. Special orders available by phone for larger sizes and an all-lemon option. Small 4-inch, $5.29. 3455 Vicksburg Lane; 763.268.1624.
Dutch Baby Pancake
For a poof of a pancake that almost floats on air, dive into a Dutch baby. “It’s a specialty item that not too many people know about,” owner Mark Hunter says. The traditional Old World-style pancake has an eye-catching wow factor that delights any time of day: Enjoy one for a satisfying late brunch or lunch. A rich German-style, egg-enriched batter rises as it bakes and pops out of the oven like a golden brown cloud. Personalize your own Dutch baby masterpiece with a trio of condiments—create your own simple syrup with a squeeze of fresh lemon, dusting of powdered sugar and slather of real whipped butter for a pleasing pucker-up experience. There’s plenty to enjoy. The pancake overflows a good-size plate with a portion big enough for two. $9.50. 1415 County Road 101 N.; 952.475.9151.
Mango Orange Key Lime Smoothie
Who needs a caffeine-loaded hot drink when naturally energizing citrus sugars can charge your day? Embrace the winter chill with a cool, creamy smoothie of mango, orange, Key lime, yogurt and crushed ice. Sweet tropical tastes radiate sunshine with a bright, fresh-picked orange hue. The texture might be reminiscent of an old-time soda fountain milkshake, but the mango orange Key lime smoothie is much healthier, boasting a full day’s supply of Vitamin C. Or turn your smoothie into a liquid dessert with a dollop of whipped cream or shot of raspberry flavor for fruitiness. Kid-size, $1.99; small, $4.19; medium, $4.59; large, $4.89. Extras 80 cents each. Multiple locations.