Two of my greatest pleasures in life are introducing people to restaurants and food that I truly enjoy, and meeting people who love food as much as or more than I do. I was able to combine these two things recently when FS’s girl friend visited her from Chicago, by not just recommending Casellula – one of my favorite wine bars for dinner – but also joining them, where I met C, who turned out to love food. It was one of the more enjoyable conversations I’ve had with someone I’ve just met in a long time – food, girl talk, and more 😉 Poor DLS… I don’t think he signed up for the girl talk when he agreed to have dinner with us!
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If you clicked on either of the two links earlier – my first two times at Casellula – you’ll note that I made a point of ordering this both times, because I enjoy it so very much. Stuffed peppadew peppers wrapped in speck; as always, a delicious, chewy bite, with the sweetness of the pepper and cheese complemented nicely by the speck. Love.
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Our brussels sprout and beet salad was one of the less liked dishes of the night – it was a little difficult to eat, though the flavors were still delicious and I loved the crunchy nuts. At least we had vegetables?
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One of the things I love about Casellula is their cheese selection, and the fact that I can tell our server that we want three cheeses, with these characteristics, and list the things each of us has said we like or don’t like, and we will be served cheeses that fall into that realm. One downside, however, is that once I’ve started drinking, I forget the names of the cheeses. They were all very good though, and while my favorite was one of the creamy ones, they were all very good. As for the meats – can’t have cheese without meat, can you? (well, you can, but why would you?) – chistorras, speck and a pepperoni-like meat… Unfortunately smoked goose breast doesn’t appear to be on the menu anymore, and that was the one that I absolutely adored and have no idea where else to get. Boo.
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Ricotta crostini, with hazelnuts, honey and lemon – the perfect light bite. I thought to myself how this could easily be created at home using homemade or really good ricotta – it was just so simple, but the flavors all worked together so well that I just wanted more, with the crunch of the hazelnuts really balancing the softness of everything else. Love.
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Funny enough, I’d had this dish – the chicken liver pate – previously on my first visit, but apparently forgotten how much I loved it. We all dug in eagerly and enjoyed the rich earthiness of the chicken liver, the airiness of the creme fraiche… sooo good. More bread was brought without a problem when we ran out and needed more… I think I could have eaten this bowlful by itself, though I don’t recommend doing that. (I remarked how this dish reminded me of another one I’ve had – and this one I did eat out of the bowl straight, at none other than Eleven Madison Park. Oh, Yvo…) Delicious.
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Pig’s Ass Sandwich is once again a hit. The crust of the bread, the meatiness of the pig’s ass, and the mustard on the side all just work together so well…
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Meatloaf shepherd’s pie, my choice, which I actually didn’t like that much. Mostly because it was chunks of meatloaf in gravy then topped with mashed potatoes, and the meatloaf, despite swimming in gravy, was a little dry. I think if the meatloaf they started with was better, the dish would be much better, but otherwise… it was only eh. Sadface because I love shepherd’s pie.
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Funny note: the table next to us had two women who were eating and chatting happily, and sharing everything. When they were served dessert, they’d each gotten one of these. FS, C and I all stared and whispered “Is it that good? They refused to share?” because, well, pretty much all of my female friends and almost all of my male friends will just get two different desserts and share both in order to try more things, than to get to the same dessert. We HAD to get it. Unfortunately, the website’s menu is not updated and I can’t tell you exactly what it is. The bottom was like cheesecake, but that’s like saying the best artisanal sausage in the world was like a hot dog. The flavors were complex and nuanced… but what elevated it to the next level was the tangle of a bird’s nest atop it. Super thin noodles deep fried, then possibly drizzled with honey, and ever so slightly sweet… the crunch it brought to the dish was phenomenal with the soft, slightly sweetened cheese. Incredible…
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Though we were four people, we decided to get two desserts to share since we were pretty full. This dessert was peanut butter banana something or other… of which I took a bite or two before ignoring in favor of the other dessert. I think we all looked at each other and nodded slightly; yes, we knew why those two women had each gotten their own. Yes, we did.
Yvo says: I’ve often lamented my not being in the area for Casellula, but as FS lives around the corner, I think I may find myself here more often now – to my delight. I envy her proximity to what is easily the best wine bar I know… though my local wine bar isn’t too shabby (it even has a Michelin star!), Casellula is truly excellent and worthy of becoming a regular part of my dining rotation. So good.