A year and a half ago, when I still worked at USA Today, I received a Tasting Table email about a new Capitol Hill restaurant called Acqua Al 2. My favorite paragraph about the Italian spot began, “The assaggio di primi ($13) presents five different plates of the house-made pastas.”
I bookmarked the page immediately.
Time passed. I jumped to NPR. Tasting Table started a to-do feature. I killed my bookmark and put Acqua on mine. The site’s editor became a friend. Her boyfriend became a fellow gunslinger. Colleagues became friends and more, and many of them turned out to live on Capitol Hill.
This story leads to the fact that I’ve now finally been to Acqua Al 2. For 11/11/11, Lori, Becky, the no-longer-elusive Kyle, and I dressed up and went for dinner. We wound up sitting below the mystery plate above.
A couple bottles of Montepulciano around the table, sizable tastings of five different vegetarian pastas (a pumpkin bowtie and the risotto with parsley, basil and rosemary were my favorites, but honorable mention to a simple vodka-sauced penne that was perfectly cooked), and then a dessert platter where the tiramisu was good but a berry cheesecake had immense flavor and surprised everyone at the table. Good service, low, warm lights and conversation volume, even with the place packed.
Didn’t realize until later: The pasta we ate was what Tasting Table had mentioned in that first, intriguing paragraph. Oh, the roads we travel…
Stops at the post-fire Tune Inn, the post-fire Argonaut, and the happily fire-free Smith Commons followed. Following taxi issues and bartender neighborhood fears, we celebrated 11:11 11/11/11 at the middle stop.
In the early morning hours, we saw the Sticky Rice police car. The sight made me happy. A year and a half ago, I had wanted something new.