What must have been ages and ages ago, I took Hungry of Tasty Eating out for a birthday dinner. I know it was ages ago because first, her birthday is in January! and second, she’s already written about it. Haha. We are both slooooooow bloggers… I think that should be the next movement, like slow food? Slooooow bloggers…
Funny? or sadly, it’d been so long since I used my dSLR that when I went to take pictures of the first appetizer – roasted mushrooms, fried egg, pancetta and ricotta salata – and then asked Hungry to do the honors of popping that glorious egg yolk so I could get a super sexy shot of it running all over everything – I failed to realize until I was done that it was on the wrong setting, thus the super fast shutter speed, thus the completely black photos. Oops. I quickly snapped one of the egg already popped… oh well.
The dish, however, is super sexy in my memory; silky egg yolk coating earthy mushrooms, with the lovely creaminess of the shaved ricotta salata and the salty pancetta all melding together to form lovely happy feelings in my mouth. Geez, just writing that made me salivate a little… now I would like to recreate this at home.
The other appetizer – my choice – escolar, avocado, basil, chilies – was extremely light and refreshing. Not a lot to it – very simple, letting the natural sweetness of the escolar shine through and do its thing. I enjoyed this a lot.
We shared two other dishes – pici nero, or squid ink pasta with peekytoe crab, scallions and parmesan, along with broccoli rabe with galic, chilies – to be healthy, you see? Vegetables?
While the flavors of the pici nero were on-key, I felt that the strand pasta was a poor choice. Small tubular pasta would have worked better in my opinion, as the crab would have been caught inside the tubes and been easier to eat. As it was, the strands were slightly too long to just fork and stuff in my mouth, and the crab frequently drifted away from the bites on my plate.
The broccoli rabe, however, was incredibly sour. Way too much acid went into this plate, to counter the bitterness of the rabe I’m sure, but it was overdone and we found it hard to eat. We didn’t finish the dish.
For some reason, I appear to have failed to photograph Hungry’s dish; but her opinion is on her post loud and clear! (Spoiler alert: she loved it.)
As for my entrée: sweetbread with pickled shallots, leek puree and spring peas. I am in love with sweetbreads, but I often find they are prepared incorrectly – chalky, soft, disappointing. These were not the best I’ve ever had, but they were close – crispy on the outside, with pickled shallots taking them to another level of tasty… the puree on the side served as a nice moistening vehicle, with bright, fresh flavors.
I thoroughly enjoyed our meal at L’Artusi – from the attentive but not intrusive, excellent service, to the slightly jammed atmosphere, to just… everything! the food! fantastic! It was a happy night for both of us, and we left without dessert feeling very satisfied.
Happy birthday again, Hungry! May you never truly live up to your name against your will! xo