A hungry girl's adventures in Cleveland and beyond.

One of the best things about writing this blog is all the super people I've met because of it. I love how you can follow someone on Twitter and then meet in real life and love them even more!
prosecco started off the night
So when my one of my blogger besties Kimberly of Smitten in Cleveland arranged a girls night out to spend some quality time with Jody (whom we met at this month's OBA meet up) and to meet Lilia of Indulgence Cakes at the newly opened D.C. Pasta Co, I didn't hesitate to join in. As always, we immediately went about chatting and carrying on like we were long lost friends (sometimes a little too loudly!) and had a blast.

I'm a huge fan of Dante in Tremont and one of my favorite things about the menu is the ability to order three sizes of the pasta dishes. I love being able to get just a few bites or an entire plate full, depending on my mood and what else is being ordered. When I first heard of his new collaboration in Strongsville with Carmela del Busso, I was pretty sure I would love it - and I was right! The menu is set up so you can try ten different pastas in three sizes: $4 taste, $8 appetizer and $15 main. They also have five kinds of meatballs that you can add on at $1.50 each. Starters, Olives, Salumi, Formaggi, and traditional entrees give you a TON of options. It's the perfect place to share food with friends.

We started out with Funghi al Forno: oven roasted mushrooms
and Fritto di Mare: fried smelts, shrimp and squid. 
I was so excited to see smelts on the menu! My Grandma used to make these every year for Christmas Eve and since she is gone, the tradition has died out. Both apps were excellent. I loved the richness of the mushrooms topped with fresh greens. And the breading on the seafood was light and not at all greasy. The lemony aioli was bright and tangy. 

Then we decided to order two tastes each of the pastas so we could try eight different pastas without busting out of our pants. Check out the full menu here. We chose everything except the Pappardelle and the Lumache and all of them were delicious. I really don't know why we didn't just get one of everything because the ones we didn't pick sounded great too. And really, after all that pasta, what's two more morsels?
Lilia, me, Jody and Kimberly with our feast

My favorites were the "Ruote alla Puttanesca" - wagon wheels with olives, anchovies, and capers, "Strozzapreti alla Norma" - pigtail shaped pasta with eggplant, basil, ricotta and tomatoes, and the "Bucatini con Salsa di Agnello"-featuring tomato braised lamb and mint. The mint really made the bucatini pop with flavor. Everything wasn't perfect (overcooked wagon wheels, invisible eggplant) but the flavors were fantastic and made up for the slight missteps. I also got a pork meatball thanks to a suggestion by the waiter. It was an above average restaurant meatball and was tender and juicy but I wasn't blown away. I was wanting more garlic or seasoning in general. Lilia got a beef one and I actually forgot to snag a bite or even ask how it was.
We even managed to save room for dessert! They had a lot of great options so it was a tough choice.
We shared the tartufo di cioccolate, the pistachio gelato, and the affogato al caffe. We gobbled them up like we never ate dinner. These were all extremely tasty and the perfect ending to our fun evening. Tip: if you get the tartufo - don't inhale the cocoa powder when shoveling it into your mouth.
the reason I'm up late writing this blog - I drank 3 of the 4!
Beware the cocoa powder!
Pistachio gelato parfait
We are looking forward to seeing each other again next Thursday 3/8 at an upcoming Emerging Chefs event, Corks & Cupcakes. Lilia's decadent cupcakes will be paired with Italian wines from Tuscany DistributorsHere's a little menu tease to whet your appetite... Chocolate Bacon Cupcake with Caramel Espresso Buttercream affectionately referred to as "Marry Me at Breakfast." Excuse me as I wipe the drool from my keyboard...
Sounds awesome, right? You can get your tickets here.
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