Saturday, July 9, 2011

A Night Out in Stumptown: La nostra cena anniversario di Enzo's Caffe Italiano

I heard Dolly-girl humming to herself while she was clipping flower stems at the sink in the kitchen. She'd been riding Maude, her new Townie, and I'm not talking about a person living in Ithaca, if you get my drift. She'd been out on what she calls a "rescue mission", scooping up flowers that are laying over on the sidewalk or in the yards of a certain abandoned house she eyeballs from time-to-time. I walked in, snapped the cap on a Lucky 13 (© Lagunitis Brewing Company, image too) and pitched my idea.

"Perché non provare quel nuovo ristorante italiano su Alberta? Enzo's Caffe Italiano, a new joint I spied on a waddle up there. You know, the place me and Juneau went when he was visiting a few weeks ago. Remember, I was telling you, it's like being in il paese vecchio what with the homemade salt-and-flour map of Italy on the wall and a TV with Italian shows on..." "Non dire un'altra parola, Jack. I'll put these rescues in a vase, beautify, and we'll be on our way." A few minutes later, on account of this place is in the neighborhood, we walked into Italy-on-Alberta. Dolly-girl gave the special board a scan. "No need to even bring me a whaddaya-want, I'm having Enzo's special, paparadelle di massaria. You know there can't be nothin' to complain about when you slather a clucker in crème, toss in some spears-o-asparagine, and pour it over some pasta!"

It sure did sound good, but I knew an order like that from a mouth like mine would get me a phone call from Professor Javier Boleyn before Enzo could sing A Che gelida manina. It was a new place, but there wasn't an ombra di dubbio that the good Professor already had his Boleyn's Eye View installed in a joint like this one. He'd know that I'd be here faster than a Lambretta zips through the Piazza Venezia
(© Wheels of Italy, I think since I took it from their website)

Andrea, which any old person might think is said AN-dree-ah, but what she said was an-DRAY-ah, met us with a buonasera that meant business. Enzo and Carmella were outside, waiting for the evening rush, and from all appearances, having a quiet chat--hands were moving, of course, but not like it was serious talk going on. She steered us towards some biancho e rosso, brought a plate of some fine tasting dipping oil, and a cestino di pane.

"Si prega di portare noi una insalata verde per avviare." "My jaw dropped. Apparently while I've been out waddling off the LARD!, Fiora has been mastering the Italian. "Bene, è sulla sua strada" Yipes, it really was like I was in the old country! The salad showed up doused with just the right amount of a homemade and some of the best shaved wax I've ever had. "Grana, Jack. It's called grana, not wax." "OK, Dolly-girl, penso io." "Quit speaking Google, Jack. I see that iPhone (® along with the rest of the currently known universe, by Steve Jobs) in your lap!

anDRAYah was back after she saw that we'd mowed through the salad like a John Deere through a field of timothy hay. I tried to act like there was some connection between the ethnicity of my name--D'Mestiere, not Jack--and ordered the orechiette e cime di rapa con acciuga. "Enzo's gonna love making that one for you--it's his favorite anchovy dish. But I have to tell you, the rapa isn't right so it's coming out with broccoli--OK with you?" "OK con questo ragazzo!" anDRAYah looked a little quizical. "He's speaking from Google Translate. Jack, you're not that much of a youngster anymore." OK, some I'm not a ki, but I smiled like one when the feedbag arrived. The combination was as tasty as it comes to my way of thinking.

Dolly-girl's paparadelle di massaria arrived and it was as special as promised. The crème was rich and spiced just right. The chicken was tender and the pasta was perfect. Dolly-girl was all smiles for this anniversary! "This hits all the spots I was hoping for, and then some. And, I'm going to have it again for lunch tomorrow. anDRAYah, una scatola per favore!"

Coffee for me and tiramisu for Dolly-girl were going to top off the night, we thought. But Carmella had a different idea and anDRAYah showed up with due bicchieri di limoncello. "Complimenti di Carmella ed Enzo. felice anniversario! And oh, by the way," she pointed up at a small box in the corner, "I turned of the tiramisu-cam and sent in a trouble report, so you don't have to worry about the phone call..."

If a taste of Italy is what you're looking for, you'll find it staring you in the face on Alberta Street!

1 comment:

Karen said...

Sounds great. I hope to try it soon. I could use a little Italy in my life.