I celebrate every occasion with food (and some non-occasions, clearly), so the 2012 FBM Cookie Swap was no exception. This year, it was up to Hungry, KC and myself to do it up big and show what’s up when it came to cookies… but before that, we had to eat, of course. A quick consultation and Hungry suggested dell’anima, and KC and I agreed immediately.
Apologies in advance for the blurry photos – I didn’t drink, so I’m not sure what caused the shake… excitement, perhaps? Our appetizers arrived quickly, ‘bruschette’ were really a basket of crostini served with the topping you’d requested in a small dish on the side, for you to top yourself… and if you ordered more than one, to mix and match as you pleased. Choice of one ran $5, but three came to $10, so we chose three: the red, roasted red peppers, smoked almonds and pecorino romano; the green, rapini pesto with walnuts and pecorino romano; the brown, lily confit – which a check with our server informed us that it was garlic, onions and shallots. The lily confit was the surprising favorite, while the rapini pesto bordered on a bit too bitter at times. I really enjoyed the red pepper one with its light smokiness, but mixing a bit of each on top of a piece of bread actually worked out fantastically as well, with the sweetness of the lily confit tempering a bit of the bitterness from the rapini pesto, yum. Not a bad start to the night.
Hungry chose to start with the bay scallop crudo, a light appetizer that I know she enjoyed, remarking that it was a good, light beginning to her meal, which is what she wanted.
I love beets, so it was no surprise when I chose the roasted beets with candied fennel, radish vinaigrette and pecorino romano. The sweetness of the beets with the creamy saltiness of the cheese was perfect, and I happily ate the entire thing pretty fast.
We’d all heard the pastas at dell’anima were phenomenal, so we all chose pastas as our main course. KC went with the orecchiette, with roast cauliflower, onion, celery, walnuts, parmigiano reggiano – and I know she really enjoyed it quite a bit. I’m not sure why I didn’t try a bite, but she said a few times how good it was, and it certainly looks delicious.
I believe Hungry chose the garganelli, though I’m afraid I don’t recall exactly, so I’ll let her insert her thoughts (or a link to her post!) in the comments section…
A side of broccoli rabe also appeared on our table. A nice green counterpart to our heavier dishes, I wasn’t complaining.
I chose the pappardelle integrale, with duck ragu, pancetta, mushrooms, asiago. You might think it was too rich, but it was just perfect – every strand of pasta perfectly cooked, clearly fresh pasta, but the best part was definitely that it was topped with something crispy. We thought it might be bits of pancetta – just perfectly crisp, offering an amazing textural contrast to the soft pasta, the rich, tender duck, and meaty, earthy tomatoes. Everything was just so well-executed, thoughtfully put together… I was in heaven as I cleaned my plate. Not a bite wasted, that’s for sure… delicious.
Though we were all pretty full, the dessert menu beckoned with some appealing choices. Unfortunately, the dessert menu doesn’t appear to be online, though I recall the word ‘espresso’ in the description – and all of us commenting that we thought a cake with espresso in it would be darker. The cake was crumbly, almost like a cornmeal cake, but the ice cream pulled it all together very nicely, and we all enjoyed the cake very much. I apologize for being unable to offer further details on the contents… I know the caramel drizzle was salted though 😉
Then we exchanged cookies and walked into the night, sated, happy, full… and having spotted Glenn Close in the restaurant! She didn’t stay – I think there wasn’t enough privacy and a bit too many people staring at her, she’s much shorter than I thought she was! – but that was a pretty awesome celebrity sighting (props to KC for spotting her)!
Yvo says: I enjoyed everything I ate here, though I particularly enjoyed the pasta – there’s something about a well-executed pasta dish that just makes my tastebuds sing. With perfectly cooked pasta and exactly the right complementing textures and flavors, that dish is a really fond memory right now… and I will definitely be back to try more. Lovely.