Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Ladies who lunch (at Babbo).

A couple of weeks ago, my friend Marcia and I met for a ladies' lunch at Babbo. It was a rainy Friday afternoon, and so a glass of red wine seemed very much in order. No doubt you agree. I have no idea what the wine was, as the bartender poured me something based on a string of somewhat silly adjectives (I know nothing about Italian wine), but, yum.

We shared two appetizers to start with, both crazy seasonal and yet perfectly Babbo-esque. Strong flavors marked by high acid and spice, and a mix of textures to delight the palate. First up, a market bean milanese. The duck egg was the crispy part, and it sat atop a pile of green and white beans - a mix of string and flat - tossed in a tangy vinaigrette. A smattering of cheese grounded the dish with a bit of dirty, earthy, aged flavor.

Second, some teeny fairy tale eggplant grilled and tossed with a corn dressing and served atop a piece of grilled bread. The sweet corn popped against the creamy, smoky eggplant and the crunchy bread. I could have eaten ten of these.

My main was guinea hen alla cacciatore. A very tradition preparation (ridiculous rich tomato-and-veg sauce, a slight amount of heat), save for the shaved green onions on top. The peppery bite was welcome against the rich, dark meat. It reminded me that it was still lunch, and I had miles to go before it was time to sleep.

As we went to leave the restaurant, we opened the door to a complete and total downpour. The hostess let us know that it would rain on and off all afternoon, and said she hoped we had umbrellas. We did, and it did, but I hardly noticed a thing. I was too busy dreaming of eggplant.

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