Sunday, April 17, 2011

Cantina Italiana and Tatte Bakery

There is nothing lovelier than spending the entire day with someone you love.

Even more so if you spend your time pleasantly, like walking through the public gardens and the farmer's market by the courthouse.  Or geekily, like arguing over the meanings of "caustic" compared to "accosted" when of course it doesn't really matter.  Or sweetly, like lunching at the restaurant where you had your wedding rehearsal dinner, drawn to it from halfway across Boston like moths to a flame.

This dinner at the Cantina Italiana was nearly two years ago, but I can still remember it vividly.  Arugula salad with pine nuts and curls of aged Parmesan, the bitterness of the arugula cut by a piquant, sweet balsamic vinaigrette.  Bombolotti, their specialty pasta, with disks of Italian sausage and melty masses of goat cheese peeking out from the tomato-basil sauce.  Chicken Piccata in a white wine and butter sauce with capers, of which nobody could eat much because we'd stuffed ourselves on pasta.  Tiramisu and tiny cannolis.

See that gentleman in the hat?  You can't see his accordion here,
but if you were there you couldn't miss the noise.

They kindly boxed up the leftovers for us and we ate it for days, reliving the evening through food: how my beloved bridesmaids made me well up with happiness, how all of the gentlemen attended in one piece despite a harrowing bachelor party, and how wonderful it was to celebrate with people we love.

This time around, we sampled the antipasto plate, real Italian cold cuts with nutty Parmesan, olives, and pickled vegetables, drizzled with fruity olive oil.  Merrick had the handmade potato gnocchi, cooked perfectly al dente, alive on the plate under a sauce so cheesy that strings of cheese would hold your fork back each time you tried to take a bite.  I ate ravioli gently stuffed with ricotta and smoked scarmorza cheese, in a plum tomato sauce reminiscent of late summer.

On our way home, we stopped in at Tatte, the overpriced but so-cute-it's-almost-worth-it bakery on Beacon Street.  During each visit, I find pastries so beautiful that it's enough to eat with the eyes, and indeed, I usually wish I had stopped there.  Doesn't this hazelnut roll look wonderful?  It, and its brother cinnamon roll, were both unpalatably dry.  Luckily, we had some Häagen-Dazs in the freezer (a recipe to cure all ills).

There's added value in summer, though.  Sitting outside at a wrought-iron table, sipping expensive drinking chocolate and nibbling an undistinguished strawberry tart while a light breeze plays at your neck, Tatte is bliss for people-watchers and aspiring sophisticates alike.  Just like Paris.

Cantina Italiana on Urbanspoon

Tatte Fine Cookies & Cakes on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. What lovely memories. Too bad I'm not a real dessert eater 'cause that place sounds awesome. Of course, I know I could eat other things there.

    Your articles are great. I just love reading them. They make me wish I were more of a cook--but going out to eat is wonderful.
    G Tep