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Puccini's La Dolce Vita

An Italian restaurant here in town, part of Ethnic Restaurant Ground Zero, which I'd never gone to because I hardly ever go to Italian and French restaurants[1] or European ones in general[2]. But a girl I've met dancing works there, and encouraged me last night to go. "I'll serve you!" "It's expensive!" "Nah, you get a lot of food." So tonight I went -- before she got there to start working, herself, oops, though she chatted with me later anyway. But it was good. After staring at $18-21 entrees I discovered $12 pasta, which normally is part of [1] but due to recency effects looked good, and ordered penne bolognese. This was a dare on my part, because my family makes a heavenly tomato meat sauce, thick and rich and meaty and spicy, and almost all other red sauces seem thin, sweet, and bland by comparison.

First free bread came, fresh and hot which should be good, but I think they use less salt than I would because it tasted bland even with salted olive oil or modest amounts of butter, though being drenched in melting butter redeemed it. Not as bland as the "I can't believe it's not matzoh" one gets without any salt, but close. The lass said the cooks are Mexican and something, and may go overboard in countering their instincts. Though, no salt?

But the bolognese itself was good, thick and rich and meaty. Probably had no cayenne in it but I'll accept heat as a quirk of my family. I ended up eating it all, despite the "food for two" warning last night, on the grounds that I'd not eaten that much earlier, but when I left I realized how distended I felt, though the bread I did eat probably contributed. $15 including tax and tip, for what could have been two meals, or dinner for two. Not bad!

[1] "Why not?" asked the lass. "Because they tend to be pretty expensive, particularly so for pasta."
[2] "I grew up with 'eating out' meaning ethnic food. And I don't like to eat out for things I can make myself." Not that I could really make many European dishes to order; it's a psychological thing. But I can make pasta with various sauces...

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Phoenix
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Damien Sullivan
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