Saturday, July 01, 2006

Samuel (and Alan & Will) love a la LUCIA

It's been a quietish weekend around DC, so we decided to try and take Samuel to an early bird meal in Alexandria yesterday. It was a brave move as Will & I dined on numerous courses, and we were not sure how he would behave.

A miracle occured at A LA LUCIA (Madison St, Alexandria) where Sam colored for several minutes, refused a piece of the tasty crisp BRUSCHETTA with zucchini and satueed peppers, and ultimately settled in with a huge bowl of PENNE PASTA with TOMATO SAUCE for almost an hour! He declared it was the best pasta he ever had!

We started with a bottle of RONCHE di MANZANO 2204 CHARDONNAY from FRIULI which was a perfect choice. No oak or overpowering flavors here, just crisp fruit and a big taste made for the excellent tasty food we ordered. Will had the CALAMARI SALAD which was piles of freshly cooked and marinated squid over a bed of lettuce with a yummy vinaigrette. I opted for the intense and truly magnificent SAUSAGE TWO WAYS: VENISON with PINE NUTS and RAISINS and VEAL & RABBIT with HERBS. The two sausages were actually both with pine nuts and raisins in a tasty brown sauce that was light, yet herby and flavorful. It was truly a masterpiece.

We split an order of the MATALDINE with VEAL RAGU which are pappardelle like pasta with a ribboned edge. We offered some to Samuel, but he would have none of this superb dish, as he engrossed is his own penne. What made the ragu so different was the addition of carrots, and especially celery, amking the falvor a bit lighter for summer than the intense winter-like ragu.

I could not resist the SAUTEED SOFT SHELL CRABS with ALMOND and WINE SAUCE with Broccoli di Rabe. This dish reminded me of my youth and the excellent Soft Shell Amandine I used to have in NYC. It was a perfect combination in a sauce so light yet tasty. Will went for the SAUTEED SWORDFISH with SHRIMP, LEMON BUTTER Sauce and Broccoli di Rabe. We tasted some of a bottle of Pinot Noir we brought from home with owner Michael Nayeri; a 2000 JK CARRIERE that we realized is at the end of its must finish what the cellar has. I guess about 6 years is the max for a regular vintage of this superb wine.

Samuel adored his vanilla and Nocciola (hazelnut) ice cream(he said it was cold!); Will joined him with scoops of creamy Vanilla and Gianduja, and I went for the FRESH BERRIES with MOSCATO ZABAGLIONE. Sam adores fruit and I managed to get him to eat some blueberries (there were also strawberries and luscious raspberries), but he did not take to the rich creamy zabaglione--more for me!

We were very proud of our now three-year-old's behavior and this summer he will get more chances to dine out around town..always casual!