Ciao Lasagnette-100 Dishes To Eat In Alabama Before You Die
Tasty Tuesday for my #53rd taste on my quest to try all of the “100 Dishes To Eat In Alabama Before You Die.” Lasagnette” at Ariccia Trattoria of Auburn.
Ariccia is located across the street from the historical and beautiful campus of Auburn University and inside The Hotel at Auburn University. Their website headline reads; “Join us in a community rich in history and steeped in natural charm at The Hotel at Auburn University & Dixon Conference Center. Front door to one of the South’s largest universities, Auburn University, we’re proud to be part of an Alabama legacy.”
So how does a hotel of this stature feed the palates of educated, world traveled, well-heeled guests in modern comfort? Very well it seems. I found three talented and funChef introductions listed on the website: An Executive Chef, Executive Sous Chef and Chef de Cuisine. Each of these chefs has many accomplishments and brings something unique to the menu. I understood from one of the staff members that there is a new chef in town and am not certain if the bios reflect the current talents. It must be a challenge to get out of the usual ho-hum menu and feed guests on a 365 day/year basis and yet they have pulled this off very well. Meet the Chefs
Many awards and articles hang on the walls.
Ariccia Trattoria even has a shortened rock star name. A*T. Ariccia, Italy is home to the international campus of Auburn University, College of Human Sciences, and is said to have inspired the naming for this dining spot. The restaurant is connected to the swank and well-appointed hotel lobby, and this is where the greeter met me.
Renovated in 2012, this interior is decorated casual-cool with low lighting, banquette and table seating , a bar and many interesting pieces of decor.
The kitchen area is open and home to a wood-fired grill. At the opposite end of the restaurant there is a Jazz lounge is called Piccolo that offers jazz specialty cocktails and small bites. With a fireplace and beautiful furniture it has a cool quiet groove going on. I noticed that Alabama Living magazine has ranked this bar was rated #1 in both 2014 and 2015. With classic jazz on the weekends, a bite’s menu, draft beer, Italian and California wines and craft cocktails, it is a wonderful place to linger for a bit.
Just off of this area and along the hotel entrance, there is outdoor dining under a beautiful arbor. When I saw this spot, i thought it looked like a secluded almost secret garden area and then I read this is how the hotel described this spot on there website. The designers did a really great job! I even took a photo to consider doing this in my own yard.
The menu gives a nod and wink to Italian and Mediterranean dishes and wines. The staff was attentive, knowledgeable and friendly. Specials of the day were offered verbally. Dishes are served a la carte, and I started with the Asparagus Crudo. This dish is made with asparagus, brussels, pistachios, house dried tomatoes, truffled goat cheese & honey, preserved lemon dressing. This has been the best fresh vegetable side dish that I have tasted in well, I don’t know. The pistachios knocked my socks off.
The lasagnette dish is made up with fresh house-made pasta that was so delicious that I could have stopped there; add butter and parsley and into my belly. Having never tasted short ribs in this type of pasta dish, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Once, I caught a cooking segment on The Today Show and saw Giada cook lasagna with short ribs but it was a traditional sauce and I just didn’t get it. For me it was fun to visualize the finished dish.
From what I can gather, the short ribs are braised for four about hours and put together with lemon preserve béchamel sauce and collard greens and lightly layered with that fresh pasta topped with fresh parmesan shavings. I loved the rich taste of the ribs and the hint of sauce. This came together so perfectly. I do not like food waste but this portion was quite small. In fact, I can not recall ever having blogged about a small portion. The cost of this dish was $23.00. I was quite happy to have had the asparagus crudo-$10.00. Delicious slices of fresh bread with olive oil were served with the dinner.
The pasta special of the night was this delicious house-made Cavatelli with lobster and green beans in a Alfredo & Marinara sauce covered with shaved parmesan cheese. Cavatelli means “little hollows” and is perfect for this sauce. As you can see, this portion size covered the bottom of the bowl and was quite nice. Not too big or too small, with nice sized chunks of lobster in the meal. YUM!
I give this dish 5 *****MEGastars. Even though I was irritated by the portion size, it was extremely delicious and interesting for me to taste. It is a unique dish that wouldn’t be easy to find elsewhere. The dish met the criteria of local food with Alabama pride. Fresh pasta wins every time, right?
- Because of the smaller portion size of my lasagnette, you may want to order a salad or another appetizer. The portion sizes of the other dishes that I observed were fine.
- If you like asparagus, DO try the crudo. This was the most wonderful salad that I have had in my current memory. I absolutely LOVED this.
- If you too “play” the 100 Dishes, take note; Ariccia no longer serves the Cedar-plank salmon. I understand that there is a new chef in town.
- I second the recommendation of Tourism Alabama to dine alfresco with that view of Samford hall. They have a beautiful garden patio with a fountain and arbor.
- Walk around campus. It is a great urban walk.
- Ariccia is a town about 17 miles SE of Rome
- Trattoria loosely translates to italian eatery/restaurant/cafe and is usually casual.
- If you are interested in how to dress, when I visited the dress was dressy-casual.
- Ariccia Trattoria website
- Reservations may be made with open table, follow the link above,
This MEGabites and MEGastars description is found at the bottom of each post. If you are new to my 100 Dishes in Alabama escapade, this may be helpful information.
ABOUT: *100 Dishes To Eat In Alabama Before You Die,” is a compilation of food to chow down on “Bama style.” Thanks to Tourism Alabama, www.alabama.travel my Alabama bucket list just became a little easier. I am going to have some food fun while making my way like Ms. Pacman, in yet another state that I call home. From the little old diner to the white cloth setting, this journey is an opportunity for me to explore my new state and experience pride in food from restaurateurs who are dedicated to local food, with some Alabama style. From the local BBQ smoker to James Beard recipients, you too will take a culinary trip across scenic and historical Alabama. From this list, I select stops based upon convenience of location and they are in no particular order (but I already have a few favorites.) Perhaps when I finish this list, I will rank my favorite dishes. You too may pick up the brochure at Alabama Tourism stops or download the alphabetical brochure that begins in Abbeville and ends in York.
I use a 5 MEGastar system. For the most part, I am traveling a distance to try these dishes and these places get one shot at how I view the food and experience. I will not be taking an average of three visit experiences and I factor this in when I give my star rating. That said, I’m very easy to please, I can overlook quite a bit and have worked in the food service industry. I am not a paid food critic, just Meg, a curious traveler, with an interest in trying different foods and sharing my two cents on the experience. I try to follow my own star system so that I may be fair to the wonderful dishes on this list.
- *meh food. Just wasn’t good. Maybe the food came from a can? or, the place was not one that I would want to send someone to show pride in Alabama. This has happened to me a few times and is a difficult write.
- ** passable – the food was “ok” but the place was not “ok” or vice versa.
- *** good but not outstanding or unique.
- **** Very tasty dish AND meets one of the definitions set forth by Alabama Foods/Tourism, of local food and/OR truly highlights Alabama Pride.
- ***** I actually died, went to heaven and came back when I ate the dish. And/Or, something is very unique, something you cannot get anywhere else.