Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Pasta and Red Sauce with a side of Nostalgia

Walking into Buca di Beppo always transports me to another place and time. Sinatra crooning on the sound system, the aroma of garlic and basil wafting from the kitchen, it all takes me back to Sunday suppers and all of the checkered tablecloth, red sauce restaurants of my youth.

 I celebrated a milestone birthday at Buca one year, seated with my family at the Pope's table. For those not familiar, the Pope's table is a large, round dining table with a bust of the pope in the center. Seriously. It's awesome. All I wanted that year was to have my birthday dinner there. So many memories.

When I discovered that there was a Buca di Beppo just a few towns over I just had to go. My dining companion graciously agreed and off we went.

We hadn't been to a Buca in a long while but it was as I remembered. Buca has gone through some changes over the years. Menus have changed, individual dishes have changed and the way they serve their food has changed. Happily for me the experience of dining at Buca hasn't really changed. It's still a kitsch filled, Christmas light strung, family style Italian restaurant.


We were served some pretty good Italian bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar while we looked over the menu. Stuffed mushrooms are a favorite of mine and the stuffed mushrooms with pesto sauce looked like a good place to start. The large mushrooms are stuffed with a blend of prosciutto and cheese, very tasty.

We decided on the Shrimp fra Diavolo for our main dish and the Italian Sausage and Peppers as a side. All of the food is served family style adding a touch of Sunday supper ambiance.

Shrimp fra Diavolo
Sausage and peppers

We ended this nostalgia-fest with a huge slice of Italian Cream Cake. Layers of rich lemon cake and mascarpone cheese filling served with a raspberry coulis. Cake and coffee, the perfect way to end the meal.

While we don't make the trip to Buca very often anymore I'm glad to know it's there waiting for me with it's sights and sounds and happy memories of dinners gone by.

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