Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Cantinetta, Wallingford, Seattle

grapefruit, avocado, kalamata olives, and olive oil

That there, food lovers and boozers alike, that is what I like to refer to as 
otherwise known as Cantinetta's Grapefruit and Avocado Salad.

As I gushed to all of my peoples about this surprising combination, their reactions educated me to realize the common use of citrus/avocado in Mediterranean/French cuisine.  There's nothing quite like, "yeah, I've heard of that" to take the wind out of your culinary sails. Thanks a lot for your cultured selves, friends.

All novelty aside, this dish is really rather unique in flavor.  The Kalamata olives atop add the best saltiness to that sweet avocado and citrus.  

My husband and I went back twice, both unwilling to admit that it was almost  entirely to order this salad again.  In fact, we became a bit obsessed and tried to recreate it at home. It was not nearly as good, and this is certainly a testament to Cantinetta.  The ingredients were PERFECTLY ripe and fresh (and local - well, sans the avocado - but that's just Seattle for you.  While I am 100% behind buying local, an avocado-less existence is just too much for this California-born to handle).

As to the entirety of the restaurant, I shall now gush further.

Cantinetta is a wonderfully quaint and small Italian restaurant just off Wallingford Ave.  I love that it's tucked into a neighborhood - and if you weren't looking, you would completely miss it.  

Why do I love this? 

 I love this because I am a snob and snobs love restaurants that are impossible to find.

The first time we went, we arrived at opening hour - 5:00pm and I tell you, it's the best time to go.  No one is there, the place is quiet, and the service impeccable.  It starts to liven up around 6:00pm, just about the time we finished.  

The first test was upon us.  My husband asked the waiter for a Negroni.  The server promptly told us they didn't have any Rye (which, although looks like a downside was actually a plus.  It meant she KNEW what was IN a Negroni...rare to come by in Wallingford).  He ordered some other whiskey drink and it came back perfectly made.  

The server then gave us her recommendations from the menu and we ordered the salad mentioned above, the homemade gnocchi, and a mushroom pasta dish topped with oxtail.  Oh dear lords of cuisine.  Everything was suspiciously, seductively good.  Looking back, I'm dubious of stupendous-ness.

I think I must needs return to confirm because I am just that kind of altruistic reviewer.
You're welcome.


Previously Stated Snobbery