The experience

We were in the car and driving down the road before we even had an inkling of where to eat dinner tonight.  This whole bit is getting tougher by the day and now with New Year’s Resolutions of healthy eating and dieting, we’ve made things even more difficult.  I threw out a couple of places I’ve had on my mind the last few days and finally got a nod for Cafe Amore -I could tell Ogre wasn’t thrilled with the choice, but we were at a cross road and we had to choose a direction. So off we went and off to sleep Benji went.  He and Mina had a fun filled day at Lolo’s house and he was tired -they went for a long walk and did some yoga…at least some members of Team Phipps were getting some exercise!

We arrived and I managed to pull Benji out of his car seat without waking him up until we got in the restaurant.  He stirred and I thought he’d be up for dinner, but as we waited for our table and I rocked back and forth, he drifted right back to sleep.  We were seated after about 10 minutes and we immediately ordered Mina’s fave: calamari

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Mina pulled out her DS and started messing around with that while Ogre and I examined the large menu.  I seem to always forget and then am surprised to see how reasonable the prices are here!  Happened again today.  We always discuss why we don’t come here more often. Today Ogre decided it is because it is too far away. I suppose. Now that gas prices are down, though, I think it’d be cheaper for us to make the drive.

Our waitress came over to get our order and Ogre asked her for some help deciding between a couple of items.  She said that she loved the Capellie a la Pomodoro.  In fact, she said, “Trust me.”  Fair enough.  Ogre trusted her and ordered it.

Benjamin was still fast asleep and drooling on me.  When the bread and calamari arrived, poor Ogre had to serve up some for me as my hands were full.  I know that I will miss this one day, so although it was kind of awkward to eat like this, I surely didn’t mind.  Poor Benji had some crumbs on his face that I had to brush off, but he did not awaken.

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Mina was going to town on the calamari, which is always amusing to watch.  She was in another one of her moods today where she did not want her picture taken.  Some days she’s all about having her picture taken, other days not.  Other than not wanting her picture taken, she was in great spirits at dinner.

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Our food arrived and we all started eating.  A couple of times, Benji stirred, but only to reposition himself.  By this time he was sweating up a storm, but he seemed pretty content.  I was careful not to drop any food on him.

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This is about when our waitress decided she wasn’t going to wait on us anymore.  Seriously.  She was sitting behind us, and we were flagging down anyone to refill our drinks.  It was odd.  She was sitting across from the owner of the restaurant who was facing our table.  And no one seemed to care.  Hmmmm.  I don’t even know what to say about that.   Anyway, just as we were finishing up dinner, guess who decided to join us for dinner?  No, not the waitress.  Benjamin!  (Note waitress sitting behind us). 

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I handed him over to Papa and Benjamin slowly started eating Mina’s leftover pasta.  Then he started picking up the pace, he ate over 1/2 the bowl!  We could tell he was still tired as he was just lounging on Papa as he ate.  Then he would give Papa a big hug and smile when I said, “awwww!”  Super cute.

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Mina announced all of a sudden that she needed to go to the restroom, so off we went.  She joked that she should go into the Men’s restroom since there was an “M” on the door, and “M” must mean Mina.  We went in and there are no changing stations to be found.  When we got back to the table, I saw my little Benji sitting very cutely with his hands tucked in his overalls.  After this cute photo op, we settled the bill and headed back home.

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And one last attempt at a pic of Mina…

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The food

This is good old traditional Italian food.  And good Italian food particularly with very reasonable prices!

DSC00325For starters, we ordered calamari.  The calamari was lightly breaded and had a slight chewiness to it that permits me to only give it an average.  Mina wolfed it down though eating half the plate.  The marinara sauce that it came with, though, deserves kudos as it was very good.

 

DSC00328I ordered the Farfalle Modo Mio.  Excellent.  Bowtie pasta with a creamy wine sauce and just enough marinara sauce to give it the perfect amount of sweetness, creaminess, astringency, and acidity.  There are artichoke hearts, pancetta, and mushrooms also to mingle with the pasta and sauce.  I absolutely loved this dish and will eat this again the next time we come.  We’ve eaten here a few times before and this, by far, has been my favorite dish.

 

DSC00329Ogre ordered the Capelli a la Pomodoro.  He thought it was good, but the sauce needed a touch more marinara than the touch described on the menu.  He used of Mina’s sauce to “perfect” it. 

 

DSC00330Mina ordered plain pasta with a side of marinara sauce.  When the waitress brought out her pasta, I thought it just looked a little wet.  Ogre tried a noodle and commented that it was really good!  Well, after Benji ate 1/2 the bowl of pasta, I saw why it tasted so gosh darn good.  It was swimming in butter!  I bet it was tasty!!

The kids can have spaghetti with meatballs or marinara sauce, tortellini or fettuccine alfredo, pasta with butter sauce, or a cheese pizza.

FYI: This place is BYOB.

 

The service

Weird.   Started out well enough, the waitress and owner came by to check on us and tried to get our order a couple of times before we were ready.  Food came out at a normal pace.  But then our waitress maybe went on break??  She was sitting right behind us at a table WITH THE OWNER, but that’s all we saw of her.  Other servers walked by and offered us a refill here and there, but pretty much we had to request a refill every time we wanted one.  The waitress that took our order never returned after she dropped off our entrees and refilled Ogre’s drink after a request.  Not even to drop off or pick up the check.  In fact, the owner picked up the check.  They were all nice enough.  The owner was all smiles and seemed smitten with the kids, all the while, not noticing that our original waitress abandoned us.  Huh. Weird.

 

The kids

I’d call this an average kid friendly restaurant.  They have a good little kids menu, but no kids activities, you can’t draw on the table, etc.  There were a ton of tables with kids at them.  And like Mina, many of them had their DS out.  It’s loud -the adults who were imbibing tonight were quite a bit louder than any child in the restaurant and the owner obviously adores children. 

I would definitely recommend this restaurant for a reasonably priced yet great tasting Italian dinner with the family. 

The total: $38.70

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