I’m not kidding about the title. Believe it or not, there are numerous ways to spice up your food at Leo’s to create a fun, delicious and enjoyable meal. But like all great endeavors, it takes some effort and training. So let me be your guide, mentor, guru, Leo’s spirit animal, if you will, and let me show you the ins and outs of making a yummy combination at Leo’s. Have your pens and notepads ready, and in the meantime, pull up a seat at the finest dining establishment on the waterfront, sit back and relax. You’re about to be amazed:
A new approach to Leo’s chili Let’s face it. Leo’s usually has some form of chili at least once a week.
Option 1 For a delicious twist, add a fair amount of rice (upstairs, Home section). Then, add a heaping scoop of chili (upstairs, Soups) onto the bed of rice. Now let’s take things to the next level. Head over to the taco station (upstairs) to crumble up some nachos on top of your creation. Finally, head to the downstairs sandwich and salad area and place a slice or two of cheese onto the nacho, chili, rice mixture. Pop the creation in the microwave for about 20-30 seconds and melt the cheese over your meal. Voila! You’ve just made chili for big kids.
Option 2 Fries + chili = chili fries.
Option 3 Get some spaghetti and put chili on top for an interesting and delicious meat sauce!
Chicken a la 4E This is my all-time favorite creation to make at Leo’s. (Disclaimer: This works best with chicken fingers on Chicken Finger Thursday, but if you want this bad boy on a weekday, head over to the sandwich and salad area downstairs and grab some grilled chicken instead.) First, take a visit over to the Diner (downstairs) on Thursday and grab a basket of those oh-so-glorious strips. Break the chicken fingers apart into bite-sized pieces and gander over to the sandwich and salad area nearby. Grab two slices of your favorite bread — rolls and whole wheat work well for this one — and add two slices of provolone cheese to one slice. After that, add lots of delicious (and nutritious) leafy spinach onto the provolone. Next, add your chicken finger chunks onto the bed of spinach, and top them off with sprouts. Drizzle a bit of parmesan-peppercorn (or any of your favorite) dressing on top, and add the final slice of bread. Take the entire sandwich to the panini press and let it toast for 1-2 minutes. When it comes out, your life will be changed. It’s my favorite thing to make at Leo’s and it will be yours, too.
Cheesy garlic bread This one is a game changer, not to mention a fresh addition to any pasta dish. Begin upstairs at the made-to-order pasta station and ask the station worker for a spoonful or two of garlic. (Disclaimer: Whoever is working may give you a strange look as you ask for raw garlic. It’s okay. Just keep calm, carry on and keep reading 4E for more delicious food tips.) Then, head downstairs to the sandwich and salad area and grab some of your favorite bread — this works really well with rolls. Spread a copious amount of butter (downstairs, sandwich and salad area, opposite side) onto the roll and then spread on the bits of garlic that you received from upstairs. Later, add on one or two pieces of your favorite cheese — I’m a provolone fan, if you couldn’t tell — to the garlic-butter bread. Finally, head over to the panini press and toast the bread for 1-2 minutes, until the cheese melts. Be sure to toast the bread with the butter sides facing inward for a softer, tastier center!
A better Leo’s pizza This can be done with both made-to-order pizzas (which are preferable) or the large slices that are available for taking. If you ever want to personalize your pizza, grab some of your favorite ingredients — i.e., spinach, feta cheese, extra tomatoes — from their respective areas. If getting a made-to-order pizza, take your special ingredients over on a plate to the workers at the pizza station (downstairs) and ask them to add it into your pizza pie. If you’re stretched for time, grab a pre-made slice and add the ingredients yourself. Microwave the slice for 20-30 seconds (but not too much more, to prevent the pizza from losing its crispness). It’s a fresh and easy way to jazz up a simple slice.
Wok Chicken Finger Thursday In all honesty, I can’t believe I’m sharing this gift with you because it is one of the most precious and closely guarded things I hold in my heart. But here it is, readers, you’re welcome. Grab some chicken fingers on Chicken Finger Thursday and rip them into chunks. Meander over to the Wok station and hand the workers your Chicken. Then … THEY WILL MAKE YOU GENERAL TSO’S CHICKEN. OR ORANGE CHICKEN. OR CHICKEN #5, AS MY FAVORITE WOK WORKER CALLS IT. (Sorry, not sorry for the aggressive capitalization.) It is glorious, and the fun doesn’t stop there. The wok workers will essentially saute anything your heart desires, as long as you bring it to them. Have a plate of pasta that you want to toss with chicken? They will do it. Want to have some beef with a medley of vegetables? They will pan sear it. They are hardworking, they are heavenly and they are the greatest-kept secret in Leo’s.
Now what are you waiting for, Hoyas? It’s a Thursday and endless opportunities await! Run over to “O’Donovan’s on the Waterfront” and enjoy one of these fun creations before the year is over! (Or before the vegan section is moved again.)
Photo: Leonel De Velez/The Hoya