Sometimes, I like to splurge when I eat. Splurging means, I get to write a review too. HAH!
So, on Thursday (8/24), I took myself on a lunch date, because - WHY NOT??!!!
First of all, it was empty for being the lunch time rush, but maybe that starts at 11:30 am in Carlsbad. I'm not sure. I'm still getting to know the area since I started working in the village.
I mentioned it was empty, right? So, I literally walked into the establishment. There was a table that had two people seated in a booth near the front entrance. There was no one behind the bar and no hostess. Again, it's slow and well...
Okay, maybe it was because there was football and soccer on. No, can't be. No biggie. Finally, someone comes from the kitchen area and tells me to sit anywhere. I guess I should have just sat down, right? Hindsight, I already knew what I wanted to feast my tastebuds on since I perused the menu online before going over to the restaurant.
I'll say, I do like the decor. It is similar to Spice & Soul. Rustic with wooden tables and chairs. Honestly, Id' have to say handmade wood. Maybe. It was too gorgeous. Here is the table setting, so that you get an idea (pic inset).
So, I place my order and request water, because how can you give a solid review on a entree with taste inhibitors? Who am I kidding?? It was during my work day. No alcohol!
Warm Bread and The Insalata di Cesare
Honestly, the marinara sauce was EVERYTHING!
Hold Up! Bread, and the SAUCE! O - M - G!!!
First - I have the server take my bread plate because it was, still dirty. First impression was seating, second dirty bread plate. Yes, it made me wonder about the other plates (that's me - don't judge)! My hopes started to go down, until the bread came out. The sauce really.
The tomato sauce that came with the bread was everything. There was cut tomatoes mixed with olive oil, herbs and basil. I definitely preferred this to the traditional olive oil and herbs (or black pepper with balsamic vinegar).
My salad, Cesar Salad, no croutons. I don't know how to explain it. Croutons are just weird to me and they scratch the roof of your mouth. Hey, it's not for everyone.
Back to the salad - Hello Parmigiano shavings. The most beautiful thing ever! Look at that!! I was very pleased with the salad as it was lightly tossed in dressing. So, it wasn't drenched in dressing, there was "just enough."
Pappardelle Funghi & Gamberi Tartufati
I have this thing with pappardelle noodles. It's the oddest love I have for it, but I have it. My love grew even better because that bed of pasta was wonderfully covered in a creamy brandy sauce that I could not stop licking my fingers after eating each shrimp. So, this was a brandy based sauce with wide noodles, fresh porcini mushrooms and 4 butterfly shrimp with truffle oil, topped with shaved Parmigiano Reggiano. I promise you, this entree was still steamy as I uncovered mounds of pasta and happily stuffed my face. My server was rather surprised that I was enjoying my meal. Sometimes, you have to leave a foodie in their peace of mind to saturate their tastebuds in deliciousness.
I was full, so full but it is my favorite dish, so far.
Because a Cappuccino
I always, always always always have to have a cappuccino after I delve into pre-food coma at an Italian restaurant. It is something that has stuck with me since my father was stationed in Italy. Ok, I may have been six years old, but I definitely remember coffee or sambuca after dinner. So, of course if I have cappuccino, I might as well have dessert (I'll have you know, I barely worked after lunch).
My dessert selection was the lava cake. I have been pretty spoiled at Gaia Gelato because their lava cake is to DIE for. However, I try everyone's lava cake to compare. I was a little disappointed, especially after knowing that the lava cake is pre-packaged. Wahhhhh!
Overall, despite the hiccup, I was surprised with lunch. I walk past this restaurant almost every day during my lunch break and see that it's busy some days and not so busy on others. However, it seems to be one of the spots for happy hour and dinner. When I leave my office, it's pretty full for dinner. Of course I am going to have to try the dinner menu. I always visit twice.