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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Still Love Cafe Capriccio

I know that Scott has previously talked about Cafe Capriccio, but we went again and it is really such a great place. First off, they make in house a range of items including ricotta, mascarpone, mozzarella, and bacon. These items are all really great, and add to how special this place really is.

I feel the parking in that area can be a little difficult, especially if Billy Joel is playing at the Times Union Center or something. We never seem to pay attention to small facts such as those when we make reservations places, so often I feel it is better to park in a place where you know there is parking and walk. So I parked by the New York State Museum, and it is only about 3 blocks from there (of course there were spots closer, but that is just bound to happen I guess). Since it was a year anniversary of Scott asking if I would marry him and me saying "Are you sure? Are you sure? Are you sure?" at that very restaurant it all seemed very romantic. So I thought it was a good time to break in the shoes I am going to be wearing for our wedding in three weeks. Of course, since it is a neighborhood where people seem to like to hang out on the stoops of their building I probably got about 25 comments of "You look nice, but aren't those shoes a little high?" in a three block walk.  I wanted to turn around and yell at the whole street "I know! I want to look hot in my wedding photos, what is the problem? A girl can't walk down your street in heels, really?" But then I would be the crazy one. I know for a fact if I walked around my own neighborhood no guys would talk to me no matter what I was wearing, but I think that is part of the charm of Albany that some of our best restaurants are in really colorful neighborhoods (like New World Bistro).

Anyways getting past my eventful walk into the restaurant, we got one of those adorable circular booths so that we could order one plate of spaghetti and both eat off of it like "Lady and the Tramp". Very romantic. We started with two Tanqueray martinis that were perfect and served in very stylish glasses. For appetizer, I got artichokes with roasted red pepper which were served on arugula with a kind of lemon vinaigrette. It was really refreshing, and the artichokes were really great. Scott got Amatriciano pasta for an appetizer with their house made bacon, and it was really out of this world. For the main course I got the ravioli special. This was, if I can remember correctly, a red pepper pasta with house made ricotta and portobella mushroom filling with a tomato basil cream sauce. Completely amazing. Scott had chicken with lemon, oregano, and olive oil. I think it had potatoes and asparagus too which were great. I don't know how they got it so crispy on the outside, and yet so, so juicy on the inside. I've made chicken a lot and never once had it taste that good (perhaps their pan is hotter when they first brown the chicken). Anyways, seriously the best chicken I can remember ever trying. I might also mention that their wine list has some really nice Italian and Californian reds by the glass.

We don't usually get dessert, but when we came for Scott's birthday they brought us over a free tiramisu, and it was so amazing that we were tempted to try something else this time. We got a "bourbon infused chocolate pate" which was called French Silk. Mmmmm. It made us remember how we'd been to a lot more expensive restaurants in New York City where we never once liked the dessert (it would often come with a prix fixe menu). There is something about their desserts where they are ambitious in the right ways. It is not about sculpting sugar or coming up with a crazy combination just to prove it can be done, it is about real ingredients and classic combinations. It also wasn't a huge dessert portion either. I will never understand places like the Outback where they give you a sundae as big as your head after you just finished off a huge steak. A few bites of something sweet is all you need to change gears and be off on your way.

Cafe Capriccio is a real gem. There are things done here that are better than at Mario Batali's Babbo. Not only is it cozy and romantic and everyone there is super friendly and knowledgeable, but I would argue it is the best restaurant in Albany. They make things in house, and things taste real, like the are supposed to. I find the bread is usually a good measure of an Italian restaurant, and here it is like all the rest of the menu: good, fresh, no more complicated than it needs to be and yet really remarkable. I wouldn't be surprised if many a marriage proposals were spoken here. Or in our case written in a poem to a stunned girl who would have to go back again in order to remember what the food was like.

3 comments:

  1. Great post!

    I happen to love that neighborhood for the wide variety of people that live and work there.

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  2. There is some really pretty architecture too. We still haven't been to Lombardo's.

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  3. Also, perhaps since I have not been living in NYC for two years I am out of practice dealing with street harassment. In NYC I could be wearing pajama pants with penguins on them, no make up, a ponytail and get 20 guys asking for my number and asking if they could walk with me. I always remember thinking "I can't be that good looking!" In the same way that it is sort of "These shoes cannot be that exciting for everyone in a three block radius to run up to me!" But it's not about that. It's in some way about invading person space and making women feel trapped on one extreme and perhaps just boredom and lack of verbal filter on the other. Would I have gotten the same comments had I not been wearing heels? Maybe not, but people should be able to walk down the street in what they want without it being this huge deal. The bigger concept is really important, and related to not letting women feel safe in public spaces, but this particular instance I'm not worried about. I know I was wearing fancy shoes and it was sort of funny.

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