Food is Like a Fine Wine

Have you ever had dinner someplace and cannot, for whatever reason, get the past a melting sensation in your mouth?  The memory of a dish you tasted that had your taste buds doing back flips and dancing.

This is what I feel for Acqua al 2 (2 pronounced dooh-eh). A quaint restaurant in the middle of the Gaslamp.  Yes.  You can literally walk by it, but you shouldn't. You should, while you are downtown walking around during Comic Con or after a baseball game, stop in there.  You just never know what you may see :)

You can sit outside to watch the hustle and bustle or sit inside and enjoy an intimate lunch or dinner.

I was invited to try the Chef's Choice Tasting, on a fine Saturday evening in June (yes, last month). I am so glad.  Acqua al 2 was one of the restaurants I have been meaning to stop in for dinner for quite some time.

To be clear, the menu is obviously Italian. The restaurant is mirrored exactly as the one in Florence, 

Firenze

for you Italians out there! Autographed plates decorate the walls inside the San Diego Restaurant.

An award from 2012 courtesy of the California Restaurant Association.

I'll say, I do have a soft spot for Italian food (being raised in Italy and all!).

IMG_1732decor acqua.JPG

 

 

Of course, I loved the decor!

Back to the restaurant!

Acqua al 2 has been in the Gaslamp quarter for about fifteen years!  Can you believe that?! Long standing than most restaurants.  Did I say I am in love?

So, our Chef's Choice tasting was 5 pasta dishes and 4 entree tastings. The pasta dishes are all meatless, because that is how it is done in Italy.  A lot of times, when adding meat or seafood to pasta dishes, it takes away from the flavor of the sauce.  Yes, because the sauce is what makes the pasta.  The sauce is where you will taste your hints of basil, marscapone, ricotta (if that is in your sauce), fresh tomatoes, maybe some oregano, but you get my drift right?  How else can you react with the closing of your eyes while you swirl the sauce in your mouth?

 

Assiaggo di Primi Piatti was our first round.  The Chef chose 5 pastas for our tasting:

Maccheroni alla Vodka

Maccheroni alla Vodka

Fusilli Corti agli Spinachi

Fusilli Corti agli Spinachi

Farfallaine ai Funghi Porcini

Farfallaine ai Funghi Porcini

Rigatoni alle Melanzane

Rigatoni alle Melanzane

Fusilli Lunghi alla Fiacheraia

With these 5 dishes, we were able to split the tasting.

So, the Maccheroni alla vodka was so very cheesy. Don't add parmesan cheese. It tastes perfect without the added cheese.

However, add it to the spinachi.

The Farfallaine ai Funghi Porcini was my favorite. I love love love love mushrooms.

The last two pasta dishes: Rigatoni alla Melenze and the Fusili Lunghi ella Fiacheraia are both tomato based pasta dishes, and so delicious!

The Rigatoni is full of so much flavor.  Notes of eggplant and fresh basil, so amazing!

Okay 5 dishes of pasta, I should be full right?  Of course not!

Next up:

Controfiletto al Pepe Verde (this was made with chicken) (bottom right)

Filetto al Mirtillo (top left)

Filetto al Aceto Balsamico (top right)

Ermagerd!!! My ultimate favorite...Filetto al Mirtillo.  This particular entree is inspired by meat cooked in the medieval era.  Our host indicated that in the era cooking with fruit was something common.  I LOVE blueberries.

How beautiful is that? It is SO DELICIOUS.

I would DEFINITELY go back for that entree.

This definitely a contrast with the slight zing of the the vinegar.  Totally different and unexpected.  This is a great one too.

 

All the dishes were delicious.

Below is a photo of some of the desserts we tried.

I couldn't get over the entrees.

Now, if you didn't know, Acqua al 2 has an awesome happy hour.  You can visit Annie Greenberg's review 

here.

This was one of the better tastings I had for June.  You have to go.  It's a great intimate location to dine with your significant other. 

This was a pleasure to be able to dine here. I am so appreciative of the invite!

 

I am so sad to see that they closed after 15 years of being in San Diego.