I’ve been finding fabulous salads here in California. Could it be because I am travelling in the “salad bowl” of the US? Perhaps. This one was served at It’s Italia, an Italian place in Half Moon Bay at our hotel. It includes fava beans, peas and parmigiano, with a lemon olive oil dressing. Hello heaven.
According to its website, It’s Italia has been around since1997 “as a San Francisco style trattoria and pizzeria serving gourmet pizzas, house pastas, and creative salads, always with a California Italian flavor”. As we eat our way up the coast, I’m beginning to understand that California Italian can mean just about anything. And that’s a good thing. I love that I’ve not seen anything traditonal on any of the menus.
Carlo’s appetizer tonight was a lovely dish of mussels and clams, served up in a bowl of tequila & cilantro lime sauce and ‘crunchy crostini crumbs’. While cilantro-lime-tequila combo can hardly be called Italian back on the East coast, it works.
We got excited that these appetizers might lead to something even more interesting, but the meal fizzled out. I ordered a roasted vegetable risotto with Italian sausage:
Looks good, but the rice had absolutely no texture or bite, and more gravely, the most pronounced flavor apart from the sausage was GARLIC. And, let me tell you, it was really strong. This dish got four thumbs down. Way down. What made me think I could order risotto in a casual seaside restaurant? Carlo’s shrimp and crabmeat pasta was just as garlicky. YUCK!
We finished the meal with a piece of key lime pie. While its mild citrus flavor failed to mask the bitter sting of our main courses, it did manage to bring a pleasurable ending to what was otherwise a most disappointing dinner.