Whole wheat spaghetti in a vodka sauce with portabellos, broccoli and basil.
I thought the DC area was quite densely populated, but moving to the Bay area has given new meaning to the term. Large populations living in a small areas equates to lots of shops and restaurants. There are seemingly an infinite number of restaurants just on Castro St in Mountain View. Last Sunday I made a stop at Frank's Italian Bistro for dinner. I've been to some cozy places, but this was real cozy! There was only one table set for four. Luckily, no one else had stopped here to eat.
The table offered a view into the chef's kitchen. Mr. Frank prides himself in using fresh, local ingredients whenever possible. The special of the day featured local broccoli and basil from Happy Boy Farms and some locally grown portabellos.
Cooking up the sauce for the pasta dish.
My meal came out pretty quickly, which I sort of expected seeing as I was the only one there. I was a little disppointed to find out that the sauce was a jarred tomato vodka sauce from Trader Joe's, but I guess this saves time. The chef told me he doctors it up with fresh herbs and parmesan cheese. The whole wheat spaghetti wasn't homemade either, but the beautiful plate presentation signaled a homey artistry. The beautiful greens, browns, and reds was visually appealing. The fresh sprigs of basil added to the gorgeous plate and provided a lovely aroma.
That's how you plate!
The whole wheat pasta was cooked al dente, with a nice nuttiness. The meaty portabellos and broccoli gave a hardiness to the dish. The vodka sauce wasn't as creamy as I am used to, but I think that was for the better. The fresh basil elevated this dish - brightening my palate. Salty flecks of parmesan balanced out the sweet basil.
Mr. Frank, you can cook for me any day!
Note: Mr. Frank requires a week's notice, and will then decide whether or not he is in the cooking mood.