La Ciccia report
Four friends and I had another wonderful meal at La Ciccia tonight. I wish I lived nearby to eat here more often. We shared all our dishes, staring with a special of fresh Monterey sardines cooked in white wine, served room temperature with a shaved fennel salad. An order of the Sardinian flatbread, crispy almost like pappadum with olive oil and pecorino. Clams and tiny squid in vermentino and parsley sauce from the regular menu. These dishes disappeared with a delicious Vermentino di Sardegna "Giunco" Azienda Agricola Mesa, particularly good with the sardines.
We opted for pasta and side dishes, the always wonderful spaghetti with bottarga, the tagliarini with shaved tuna heart which I will always order whenever it appears on the specials, the special of ravioli filled with ricotta and lemon zest with a vibrant fresh tasting tomato sauce ( how do they do this in winter?), and linguine with sole and capers in a savory tomato sauce. Every one was delicious and they each had an individual character and flavor that made tasting each one exciting. I never felt like, oh, more pasta. The veggie sides were a delicious sauteed cauliflower which we thought maybe included sage, and brussels sprouts sauteed with olive oil, salame and pancetta. With this we drank a delicious Sardinian red, the Cannonau-Caringano Bovale Isola dei Nuraghi "S'Arai" A Pala.
After this wonderful meal we shared just two desserts, blood orange sorbetto and the saffron cake with almonds and honey, which went perfectly with a tawny port.
I just love this place, the warmth of the welcome, the vibrant flavors, the lack of pretension or catering to trends. I was happy to see it was bustling with people waiting for the opportunity to savor the flavors and atmosphere. I hope it signifies what i believe to be so—the really good places will weather the ebb and flow of the economic tides.
Ouch, that hurts. This place is one my favorite sit at the bar and eat places in outer "if I can park" Noe, and last night when you went they were top of the list. I usually go there or Front Porch or Blue Plate or Zante or Henry's Hunan (previously Pescheria) or Clay Oven or Deep Sushi (no longer). But alas, the parking gods were against me and I picked up Chinese food and found a great spot to park in my garage !!!!
Somehow La CIccia, particularly as you so eloquently described it, sounds like it might have been the better experience last night.
BTW, in your last paragraph, you said: "I just love this place, the warmth of the welcome, the vibrant flavors, the lack of pretension or catering to trends."
In my La Ciccia report almost two years ago, I said: "The owner's passion for the food shines in every dish, and every bite feels "true." Nothing is on the menu because it's trendy or might appeal to Michael Bauer."
I'm glad that over a couple of years they've managed to maintain what makes it so special!
"I wish I lived nearby to eat here more often."--Last time I was there, an acquaintance sitting at the bar told me bikes down the hill to have dinner there three times a week.