Our group arrived on time and was in a festive mood. We hailed from San Francisco, Rhode Island, Berkeley, Walnut Creek, and New Hampshire. It was quite a unique set of foodies all coming together to indulge in good food and conversation.
Tuna Conserva with Calabrian Chiles, Cannellini Beans, and Upland Cress: This dish really reminded me of a modified Niçoise salad. It had a mix of small chiles and Cannellini beans topped with tuna and anchovies and dressed with a vinaigrette. It was served on a plate, in a bed of lettuce. The tuna was albacore with white flesh and cooked lightly. The salad was adorned with hard-boiled eggs and olives. There was a hint of lemon and arugula with some tomatoes. Overall the dish was quite nice and light.
Chicken Polpette with Tomato, Basil and Parmigiano Reggiano: This dish was a perfectly cooked bowl of chicken meatballs in marinara sauce. I was pleasantly surprised by the tastiness of the meatballs! The marina sauce was hot and had a bit of spice, probably from red pepper that I could taste. Mozzarella cheese was sprinkled on top and added a nice finish. This a dish that is easy to eat, especially this evening because it was cold outside and pasta and meatballs reminded me of Italian comfort food. My only wish is that they served me a larger portion. Otherwise, it was a nicely served dish that I would eat again and again.
Meyer Lemon Panna Cotta with Huckleberries: This was a delicious custard-based desert that reminded me of the soft inside of a creme brulee without the crisp outer shell. It was creamy and light and delicious with a nice lemon flavor. Huckleberries adorned the top and dark sauce mixed in with the Meyer lemon flavor. I would probably say that his was my favorite dish of the evening for its simplicity, truth, and culinary satisfaction. The texture paired perfectly as a desert with Italian food.
Our group drank a combination of martinis, cocktails, and wine. The wine pairings were primarily Italian and seemed to fit nicely with the food.
We sat in the more formal dinning area downstairs (which, like the upstairs, has quotes all over the walls). Our waitress was nice, she handled our large group gracefully, and gave great recommendations on drinks. Our menu selection was nice and clear and it was easy to make a decision on food based on your preferences.
One guest recently finished writing a nonfiction book about learning disorders, which is set to be published this year. Another guest, an artist, wore an innately designed gold necklace that she made from unique textile material. One guest was a computer programmer and game producer. He had been a competitive gamer all of his life, served as a nuclear submarine technician in the Navy, and now he’s producing and directly full length games for a living.
It was really an eclectic mix of people having dinner and sharing stories, but the nice thing is that no one felt out of place. In fact, the group acted as if they had known each other for a long time. I suppose that’s what happens when you combine good food, with good people, and a few drinks. People open up, share good stories, smile, laugh, and spark connections with fellow human beings.
Everything came out quickly, which was nice since we were all really hungry. We took our time enjoying our food, laughing, and sharing stories. We had artists, scientists, video game developers, teachers, professors, lawyers, entrepreneurs, and all around happy people at our table.
It’s always reaffirming when a group of strangers can connect over good food and walk away as new friends.