I obviously love French culture and their approach to food, but I have a soft spot for Italians as well. As I've said before, Italian food was a staple in my diet from a young age. I grew up in an area with a very strong Italian influence, it happens to me my dad's favorite cuisine (next to his own), and my mom even waitressed at an Italian restaurant for a short time. It was thrilling to my three-year-old self when she'd come home with a plate of bow-tie pasta topped with a marinara sauce and parmesan cheese. Especially if there were crusty Italian bread on the side.Once I began to regularly eat out on my own, however, I tended to avoid Italian food. Not because I didn't enjoy it anymore, but because there were so many flavors I had yet to try--like Thai, Indian, Vietnamese, and Ethiopian. I devoured each and every one as plates of pasta became a distant memory.
Recently though, I've been craving Italian, and luckily, there are more than a few Italian restaurants in the area that take a deliciously new-to-me and innovative approach. Catherine and I's personal favorite is also our Upper East Side "date" spot: Vespa. The meal you see here is from our most recent satisfying visit.
We split an assaggini plate with smoked trout (with oven roasted tomato, parsley), asparagus (with parmigiano, sun dried tomato, and the absolute best riscotta fresca (with cherry tomato, basil.) I was feeling quite hungry so I had a plate of farfalle vespa (with mushrooms, asparagus, prosciutto, peas, pink sauce) as my entrée. And I very much enjoyed it alongside a glass of chianti. Then, while Catherine sampled an Italian sambuca, I devoured a cup of chocolate gelato. I am very content in going the classic childhood route at the end of a good meal :).