Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Italian Soul

Last night I was fortunate enough to reunite with a long time friend and what better way to do it but over some amazing Italian food at The Bicycle Thief. And, wouldn't you know it, an old friend/co-worker was our server. This was easily shaping up to be the perfect evening! To start, we both chose the salad of arugula, hazelnuts, local goat cheese, and papaya with a Wildflower honey vinaigrette. As you all may know, I love my salads, but I have to admit this one was exceptional. Fresh, peppery, crunchy, sweet and not the least bit oily. Wonderful.

For my main, I ordered the crespelle from the second plates menu. Essentially like a crepe, the house made crespelle was nothing short of incredible. Filled with creamy ricotta and honey roasted pumpkin, the crepe was topped with more pumpkin, a bechamel heavy on the nutmeg, and, perhaps the best part, sweet amaretti cookies. Your mouth is watering right now isn't it? I don't know about you but the combo of sweet and savoury is the way to my heart. And that Chianti Classico just complimented every last morsel.

My friend, perhaps with some not so subtle hinting on my part, ordered the lasagna consisting of handmade pasta, wild mushrooms, young Montasio cheese, mascarpone, and, get this, a truffle infused bechamel. Some friends and I had tried this on a previous visit so I was well aware how rich and tasty it was. She agreed. Wild mushrooms are one of those ingredients I will always lean towards and in this dish they were perfectly matched with the rich cheeses and sublime truffle bechamel. This is certainly a dish I would order again and again.

But the meal didn't end there. I am usually not one for dessert, rarely saving room, but on this occasion my friend wanted the cheesecake and who am I to argue with that! So with a cappucino in hand (yes, that addiction is as strong as ever), we split an order. Oh my. Not only was this one of the best cheesecakes I have ever tasted, but the combination of the amaretto crust, caramelized pears, generous sized dollop of marscapone, and house made caramel sauce elevated it to a whole new level. Not to spoil this review with mention of a very disappointing visit to a desserterie in town, but the desserts at The Bicycle Thief were exactly what I would expect from a restaurant specializing in desserts: house made, quality ingredients, interesting (and complimentary of course) taste combinations, artful presentation. Yet The Bicycle Thief doesn't even specialize in desserts. That's how amazing The Bicycle Thief is. Period.

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