Holy smokes, the patrons of Betty's Bikes and Buns managed to raise $12,000 in 3 days to keep the Northeast coffee shop open. Makes sense, though. I suppose if Stasiu's was facing eviction, I'd gladly throw down a Benjamin for a beer to help the cause.
So, D'Amico's Campiello has been doing this tour of Italy thing for some time now. Each month, they choose one area of the country and showcase the trademark cuisine from that particular region. Boy, oh boy, was I excited when August came and it was Puglia month! Puglia (or Apulia) produces almost half of Italy's olive oil volume, and the region's cuisine is rich with breads, pastas, tomatoes, olives, garlic, eggplant, red chilies, and bitter greens. Hello, these are all my favorite things to eat. Anyway, in addition to the regular menu, Campiello has a special little menu with the month's specials. How disappointed I was to see only one vegetarian item on the entire little menu. It was a flatbread pizza with olives, grape tomatoes (not my favorite variety), and an obscene amount of kosher salt. See, here's the deal: olives are really salty. Really, there was no need for the additional handful of salt on top of the pizza. A couple of bites were actually inedible. The grape tomatoes (not the most flavorful in the family) weren't doing much as a topping, either.
The regular menu also only has one vegetarian option (not that I was surprised by that), so my entree was a spaghettini tossed with tomato chunks, basil, and, again, way too much frickin' salt. I'm a big girl! I can season my own food.
Which actually brings me to my biggest pet peeve when dining out. I don't know if I've ever mentioned this here before, but I cannot stand it when a server sets my plate down and immediately positions his pepper mill, ready for action. The following exchange always occurs, no exceptions:
"Would you like some fresh cracked pepper on your pasta?"
"I don't know, I haven't tried it yet."
[awkward, confused pause]
"Okay, well, I'll just come back in a minute and check on you."
And you know what? They never come back with that pepper mill. I've been keeping track. It happened again tonight at the Loring Pasta Bar when my mushroom penne arrived. If my dish does need pepper, I'll ask for it. Baby, please, don't get all up in my food before I've even tasted it, and don't fill my ears with the empty promise of your zesty return.
Enough of that.
I got a postcard last week from Bellanotte inviting me to come in now through September 30th for a bottle of Greg Norman Pinot Noir and 2 entrees for just $65.00. Sounds like a fine deal. I've never actually eaten there before; the club-type atmosphere kind of turns me off. Suppose I'll try anything once, though. If you want awesome postcards and monthly email newsletters about local restaurants, join up with Twin Cities Originals. They actually have some pretty sweet member deals, like TCO Tuesdays. Eat at any of the participating restaurants on a Tuesday, and you receive a gift certificate to one of them after your fourth visit.