No, this is not a post about my marriage….rather, it is a post about the second day of our trip to San Antonio! Unfortunately, my cold is getting worse; fortunately the food is getting better!!! And that’s exciting because the food yesterday was pretty darn good.
I wish I could say I bounded out of bed this morning with renewed vigor; but the truth is I slept terribly (probably because of the large iced coffee I had yesterday afternoon to try to stay awake), I was badly in need of cold medicine and I really wanted to roll over and sleep until tomorrow….
But I am so glad I didn’t. After what felt like a really ssslllooowww process of getting ready for the day, I caught a cab to the Pearl Brewery site – 22 acres north of San Antonio that house the Culinary Institute of America, some funky shops and several yummy restaurants as well as the Pearl Brewery.
I browsed the shops and asked for a lunch recommendation along the way…..the young (OK, to me everyone seems young anymore) girl I asked did not hesitate even for one second to point me to Il Sogno Italian Osteria. She told me her second choice would be Arcade Midtown Kitchen, which serves a “soup of the moment” not a “soup of the day” – my kind of place!!!
I wandered around the area, taking my time in the shops, watching students through the windows at the C.I.A. and soaking up the Texas heat…..and it was HOT – 102 degrees today…..
When my belly started growling loudly enough for others to hear, I decided to find a spot for lunch….I turned the corner and, as if from a dream, right in front of me was Il Sogno Italian Osteria.
I inquired about whether I was too late for lunch…..2:30 is on the cusp…. but thankfully I was just under the wire. I was shown to my table and given the lunch menu and the wine list. I decided I’d just glance at the wine list and only order wine if there was a Falanghina on the list – something that almost never happens.
While I looked at the wine list and the menu, my waiter brought me a welcomed glass of ice water, which was made even better by a tray of thinly sliced citrus fruit of varying types that I could choose to flavor my water. My aqua du jour … lime orange. Mmm mmm mmm….especially good on a hot day!
To end the suspense, there WAS a Falanghina on the wine list and I did order a glass; but when the waiter came back to tell me he didn’t think they had a bottle in stock I knew it was too good to be true. By that point I think the waiter and I were both invested in me having a glass of wine, so I asked for his recommendation. He brought out two bottles for me to sample.
Of the two, I chose the Venica Sauvignon….not the Falaghina for which I had hoped, but still a nice white. I was torn between several of the pizze options and several of the pasta options. Ultimately I decided on Tagliatelle with Meatballs, Pine Nuts and Guanciale.
As I waited for my food, I admired the restaurant…..kind of a modern warehouse meets Italian villa décor. Very comfortable and welcoming. The tables were set simply with white cloths covered by white butcher’s paper. And the lighting – recycled wine bottles – was quite interesting.
The bread that was delivered to my table looked DIVINE. And looks did not deceive…..it TASTED divine too. It started as a crusty bread, but the crusts were cut off to form a rectangle. The bread was then lightly oiled (I’m fairly certain it was oil, not butter) and grilled to a crispy perfection. It was served with a white bean and garlic spread and a drizzle of olive oil. I could have made a meal of just the bread, but I stopped after one piece….knowing pasta was to come.
When my pasta was delivered, it looked and smelled wonderful. I couldn’t wait to dig in. The sauce, a lovely red, tasted as though it had been simmering for hours. The flavors were deep and robust, but the thin chiffonade of basil gave it a lovely freshness. The meatballs were INCREDIBLE….perhaps the best I’ve ever eaten…..so light and fluffy…almost like eating a cloud….if it were made of meat…..with garlic….ok, I clearly lost the battle with that analogy! The pine nuts gave a little crunch to the dish and a nice buttery nuttiness. And the guanciale….oh, the guanciale…..what a nice salty bite!
I truly savored my lunch. It was not the kind of meal you inhale….I didn’t want to waste a single tasty morsel. So I lingered with my wine and my book and my pasta. And no one seemed to care.
The service was wonderful….my server and a few other folks checked on me as they walked past, but they were not intrusive in the least. After taking away my empty plate, the waiter and I had a nice conversation about places to eat in the Hill Country, where Jeff and I are headed tomorrow. After a short chat, I was given the dessert menu.
Too full for dessert, but tempted by the panna cotta and the gelato I looked over the menu and ultimately declined. The waiter – clearly a man after my own heart – brought out two small nutella cookies saying that you couldn’t have a proper Italian meal without dessert. Along with the cookies he brought another bottle of wine from which he poured me a sample. The cookies were heavenly….they literally dissolved on my tongue with a whisper of nutella.
What a luxurious lunch experience. The only thing that would have made it better were if my husband, the man to whom I pledged “for better or worse” many years ago, had been able to join me!
A few snaps from the day:
On the menu tomorrow? BBQ….don’t miss it!