Berkeley, August 25, 2010—
|Martini, Locanda da Eva|
I started with a Martini, nicely balanced, cold, not watery, garnished with Castelvetrano olives; the others had Mojitos. Two of us went on to strozzapreti with tomatoes, roasted eggplant, chiles, lamb sausage, herbs, and ricotta salata, that last cut into strips and laid over the dish. I was perfectly satisfied with this dish. It didn't knock me out; it didn't intend to. It was like something eaten in a perfectly ordinary but very very good neighborhood trattoria in Sicily or Calabria.
Dessert was polenta torte with nectarines, blackberries, and citrus mascarpone. The cake had been sprinkled — baptized, you might say, irreverently — with chamomile-infused grappa. This was a complex affair and a delicious one, with mutually complementary textures and flavors all put to the service of the fresh fruit. L. had a plate of cookies, three squares of shortbread glazed with a thin layer of caramel and chopped nuts. To isolate them from the cool plate they came on a "doily," a small rectangle of clean paper cut from one of the daily menus. Sustainable, recyclable, ingenious. It's that kind of place, I think.
Grillo, Concilio Feudo d'Elimi (Sicily)