Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Italian Dinner from the 1800s

Wow. Get a bunch of Italians together and they really know how to have fun.
I went to an event billed as an Italian 18th Century Dinner, at Taste Unique, a small restaurant at 2134 SE Division Street here in Portland. Everyone there spoke at least some level of Italian, which of course made it more fun, and challenging. The food just kept coming, one course after another. It started with Crostini -- 3 kinds: Crostini di spinaci, Crostini di latte, e Crostini di rosso d'uova duri. The first, topped with a spinach kind of spread; the latte one probably had some kind of cheese as a spread on it; and the third had a stiff egg yolk, cooked, and flat, on top. All very tasty.

The second course was one of my favorites: Lasagne di princisgrass rigorsamente bianche con tartufo, which was a lasagne made almost entirely of cheese, with a slight crust that formed on top from the baking. It was heavenly. And we each got only one piece, which was a good thing because I would've filled up on that without regard to anything coming after.
The 3rd course was grilled lamb cutlets with a pignoli sauce e peas with sage, or: Cutulette di agnello fatte in griglie con salsa di pignoli e piselli fritti alla salvia.
For dessert we had some little doughnuts with a dipping sauce of sugar, cream, and spinach pureed together. The wine, from Winebow, was a delicious rosso, a Merlot, I believe.
We dined, drank, laughed, and talked -- and at one point, three women, which included the organizer of the event, were huddled around Chef Stefania's laptop singing along raucously to an Italian song on the stereo system. By the time Chef Stefania brought out a large wooden spoon for them as a microphone prop, I knew the evening was about to draw to a close.
Some time later, farewell greetings exchanged and last-minute introductions hastily made, we wound our way out of the restaurant, around the long table, down the narrow aisle into the warm summer night, our hearts filled with fun and our stomachs full of the joy of good food and wine.