dobbs ferry.

made a second visit to dobbs ferry, and think its great for a low-key late-night bite, and a solid drink. the segura viudas extra dry brut cava from nevada is not to be missed – amazing value and delicious. plus, bubbles go with everything!

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spinasse, seattle.

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spinasse, homemade pasta, good wine, creative vegetable dishes, great ambiance, perfect company. really enjoyed the brussels side, wild ramps with soft boiled egg, salad of cauliflower three ways, and cabbage special. our dinner was paired with a barbera that was well balanced, fruit forward and dry – delicious.

the housemade egg pasta with butter and sage sauce is a signature dish and came highly recommended, but didn’t end up being our favorite thing. it lacked the execution and refinement that defines most simple pasta dishes. it was surprising that an italian restaurant making homemade pasta would pair a delicate angel hair pasta with a butter sauce, turning it into a solid congealed mass. the beet and gorgonzola stuffed pasta was more interesting but also lacked flavor and that extra something to bring it all together.

overall i had a good experience but was definitely disappointed by the pasta dishes. i’d still go back and give it a second go.

carmine’s. atlantic city, nj.

on my latest trip to new jersey i ate more italian food than ever, and got to enjoy a full out family style feast (at a table almost entirely of italians) at carmine’s in atlantic city. the portion size is insane even for a family style restaurant, and there are so many dishes that if you take more than two bites of each you’re too full to even get up from the table after dinner. overall the food was actually really good, and the dirty martinis weren’t too bad either!

cold antipasto platter (cheese, roasted peppers, white beans, cured meats, marinated mushrooms)
hot antipasto platter (mussels, baked linguine pie, baked blams, spinach and artichoke dip, eggplant, stuffed mushrooms, breaded fried ravioli)
fried calamari
spiedini alla romana (fried italian bread and mozzarella with caper sauce)
chicken scallopine with lemon and butter
rigatoni with sausage, broccoli and white sauce
broiled porter house steak
chicken scarpariello (tons of herbs and garlic)

the dim lighting makes for rough food photos, but makes the experience of being surrounded by people shoveling down huge quantities of food slightly less appalling.