A Touch of Italy
I’ve found my passion for Italian food again.
I must admit, that over my lifetime, except for New York Pizza, Italian food has been fairly far down on my list of favorites. This may stem from the years I spent in the 1980s directing shows at a dinner theatre featuring heavy, excessively red-sauced lasagna and over-cooked spaghetti with leaden meatballs.
But my taste buds have been awakened by the Italian cuisine and delightful atmosphere at A Touch of Italy along Route One nestled between Nage and Outlet Liquors. Over the past several weeks, I’ve had occasion to visit at least four times and each meal was a winner.
First, there is the ambiance, the complete opposite of red-checked table clothes and operatic arias. The place is lively, with a definite pulse, a busy bar, and a full-service Salumeria (Italian Deli) and Pasticceria (Bakery) for the freshest Italian specialty cheeses, meats, pasta, and pastries and a wide variety of Italian specialty imports. Part Trattoria for casual dining, part Italian grocery for all the goodies, and all-around good-time place for large portions at lunch or dinner.
There are small tables for two or four, as well as long wooden tables for six to eight, just waiting for the family (bio or affinity).
At its simple best, their Garganelli alla Bolognese is just terrific. Homemade penne pasta is tossed in their classic meat sauce topped with freshly grated parmigiano reggiano and basil. With all the creative menu choices, I still ordered the Bolognese twice recently—couldn’t pass it up.
Also of note is the Gnocchi Calciano appetizer, which is ample enough for an entrée. The light potato gnocchi is tossed in a simple tomato basil sauce and topped with fresh ricotta. Delicious.
And if you love chicken or veal cutlets, the Pollo or Veal Parmegiana is amazing in both taste and quantity. The cutlets are breaded in homemade bread crumbs, pan-seared, then topped with a melted muenster/mozzarella cheese blend and tomato sauce, served with a side of tagliolini pasta. I enjoyed it enormously for dinner and the second half for lunch the next day.
I recommend the Caesar (or, as on the menu, Cesare) salad with your meal. We always share for two, but it could even go to three! It is made up of fresh romaine, Caesar dressing, shaved parmigiano reggiano, and homemade semolina croutons. Yum.
Then there are the pizzas, all prepared in an 800 degree wood-fired oven, fresh as can be and bursting with flavor. I don’t know what to recommend first. I love the al Bianco white pizza, handmade with mozzarella, ricotta, oregano, grated Italian cheese, basil, and Extra Virgin Olive Oil. But the Sausage pizza is hot, hot, hot, and the Alla Sopressata with Tomato sauce, handmade mozzarella, sweet sopressata sausage, fresh thinly sliced mushrooms, and parmigiano reggiano cheese, may be my favorite.
Special for the winter is the Authentic Italiana Family Style Dinner For Two for $45. It’s called “Nonna’s Sunday Dinner” and consists of a Insalata Italiana Tradizionale, Cavatelli Con Salsiccia/Polpette/Manzo Di Brasate/Braciole. In English that’s traditional Italian salad, pasta shells with sausage, meatballs, braised beef and pan-fried meat.
And try as I might, I cannot resist the pastries and cookies…just go up to the counter and salivate as you make your selection.
So until you can fly off to Europe, I suggest an afternoon or evening at A Touch of Italy. It’s the next best thing!
Sips and Bites
There is no end to the wonderful specials around town this time of year.
One of our latest finds is the cozy bar with the fireplace at Bethany Blues on Route One toward Lewes. Monday is burger night and it’s inexpensive and really terrific. Besides, you can warm your hands and feet by the fire, watch any number of TV screens, and relax at the high top bar tables—great for dinner for four or six, as the tables are narrow so it’s easy to chat. The place has a pulse but it’s not too noisy. Perfect.
A new Thai restaurant called Bangkok opened recently in the shopping center just before Five Points, where D.J.’s Pet Depot and Bling reside. You can dine-in or carry out, and I adored the red curry. You can order it mild, spicy, or blow your head off…and I ordered mild—even that was wickedly hot, but really, really delicious.
And don’t forget the new Silvertini at Mixx—to celebrate the kickoff of CAMP Rehoboth’s 25th Anniversary year. It’s one more reason to celebrate CAMP’s twenty five years of making sure Rehoboth and environs has room for all!