No, Boyfriend didn't surprise me with a weekend getaway. There was no squeezing my life into a carry-on bag, no mid-flight peanut snack, no endless wait at the baggage claim, no line to exchange money, and no ham-fisted attempts at hailing a cab.
There was a post-8-mile-run and pre-car-ride appetizer, a bit of circling around trying to find a place to park, a few occasions for photo ops, and a bill to pay...
But all jokes aside, today's lunch venue (Paciarino's Restaurant and Store), atmosphere, and food was so authentic it tiptoed over into surreal. The two owners, Fabiana de Savino and Enrico Barbiero, moved from Milan to Maine only three years ago and have done an outstanding job of incorporating a taste of Italy into the Old Port.
|Paciarino's in Portland|
Housemade sauces simmered in the kitchen off to the left, bottles of wine and olive oil adorned the walls, a small menu scratched on a chalkboard in a mix of Italian and English took center stage, a friendly waitress with a prop de-mystified the different kinds of freshly made pasta, a few communal tables filled the open and inviting space, the starter bread was flanked by a meat sauce and a spicy sauce, and the entrees were served in what appeared to be quintessential Italian pottery (but upon closer inspection betrayed a "made in China" sticker).
|For Sale: Specialty Items (Some Homemade, Some Imported)|
|Today's Lunch Menu|
|Drink Tray, Day-old Bread|
Sidenote: I was a little apprehensive about our jaunt over to Italy for lunch because I knew I couldn't order a sandwich and a fruit plate. I knew I wouldn't have many choices outside of carbs, sauce, and cheese. I knew that in all likelihood my lunch involve an intimidating pile of pasta. I knew there might be pesto (love the stuff...but recently realized how high in calorie it is). I knew it would be dinner food for lunch - gasp! But to say that bending my routine was "worth it" would be an understatement.
The food was delicious...and by the end of the day I had savored every last speck of basil pesto.
|My Organic Garden Salad, Dusting of Parmesan|
|My Gnochetti Al Pesto|
|Mom's Melanzane Con Butter And Sage|
|Brother #3's Milano Alla Bolognese|
|Brother #3's Just-Made Tiramisu|
|Mom's Decaf, Distinctly European Tiny Spoon (Even If It Doesn't Look It Here)|
My only complaint was that while Mom and Brother #3 received perfect portions of ravioli, I got enough mini gnocchi to sink a ship...but no matter, I got to save half for dinner!
|To-go Box, With Bow|
For dinner I threw together a quick stir fry with chicken, veggies, and the leftover pasta from Paciarino's. The funny little green noodles tasted even better the second time around, and the pesto lent a nice flavor to the other ingredients.
|1 Cup of Pesto-Covered Pasta|
|POTENT Onions From Mom's Garden|
|Vegetable Medley, Chopped|
|Breaking All The Rules (Raw Chicken & Veggies, Same Pan)|
|Stir Fry Success|