The Hungry Wanderers

Eating and exploring our way through the world

Posts Tagged ‘italian’

Our first Henderson Italian dinner

Posted by Amanda @ The Hungry Wanderers on May 30, 2010

On Friday, the Husband and I spent all afternoon cleaning and prepping the house for houseguests we were expecting the next morning.  We were planning a cookout the next day and needed to go grocery shopping and to run a handful of other errands.  Since we had done all of the dishes in the house and didn’t feel like doing any more before our guests arrived, we decided to grab dinner while out running errands.  Over the last few weeks, we’ve received A LOT of coupons in the mail for the insane number of restaurants in the area, so we did a quick skim of the coupons to find a restaurant to try.  We found one for a restaurant near the Trader Joe’s we wanted to visit and decided to check it out.

The coupon and advertisement was for Roma Grill located on Eastern Avenue (according to Urbanspoon, it used to be on Sunset in the Green Valley area).  The coupon advertised that all of its pasta was freshly made each day on site, a definite draw for me. 

IMG_3061 When we arrived, the restaurant had a few tables filled in the very large restaurant.  I liked the airiness of it as well as the general atmosphere.

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The menu itself had a large variety of options to choose from.  As the advertisement told us, the menu confirmed that they make pasta fresh daily and there was a huge selection to choose from. IMG_3063 As we looked through the menu, we got some waters and the Husband ordered a Peroni and confirmed he’s not a huge fan. 

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As we waited for our appetizers, we received a plate of bread.  We thought it was presented oddly, but the bites tasted good.  Other tables had baskets so we’re not sure if they received something different than us.

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The Husband and I decided to get two appetizers and planned to take home a good chunk of our entrees home for leftovers.  The first appetizer we ordered was the Bruschetta Napoli.  It was toasted bread topped with chopped tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, garlic, and olive oil.  We really liked this! IMG_3071

Up next, we ordered the Mozzarella In Carrozza.  The description looked really good – a thick piece of mozzarella sandwiched in rustic bread, lightly-egg battered and deep fried to perfection, served on a bed of pesto cream.  When it arrived, it looked pretty 🙂 We ended up being slightly disappointed… we expected the bread to make it more of a fried grilled cheese but it was more like a fried mozzarella with not much flavor.  We did enjoy the pesto cream sauce though.

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IMG_3065On to entrees… I ordered the lasagne.  I enjoyed it, but it’s important to note that it’s a traditional style with bolognese and bechamel sauce.  Compared to the more American version, diners might not like it as it doesn’t have the large amounts of ricotta (I ran into this problem once when I made this style for a dinner party – the guests complained that there wasn’t enough cheese).  I enjoyed this traditional style.

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The Husband ordered the Fettuccini Bolognese but substituted gnocchi for $1 more.  Some of the gnocchi was really good in our opinions, and some weren’t as good.

IMG_3074Overall, we enjoyed the food, but found the service to be slow.  We think they might not have enough cooks… for example, our appetizers didn’t come out close to the same time at all.  We were done with the first one for a while before the second one came out.  Our waitress also seemed overworked as she had tables all over the restaurant.  She was friendly and checked in on us throughout the meal though and we appreciated that.

As advertised in the coupon, they had live entertainment.  A piano player started about halfway through our meal (I can’t remember if he sang or not) and it was a nice addition to the atmosphere.  We also appreciated that it wasn’t too loud.

IMG_3077 With so many restaurants to check out, I’m not sure if/when we’ll be back, but we do recommend the fresh made pasta.



Roma Grill on Urbanspoon

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Tria Terra

Posted by Amanda @ The Hungry Wanderers on April 23, 2010

Nearly two years ago, when we first met our friends Kath and Matt, they met our other local friends Kate and Nate for the first time (the same weekend that we met Kath and Matt coincidentally) and dined at Tria Terra.  Ever since then, it’s been on the Husband’s and my list to get to.  We finally made it a point to go last week when the Husband’s parents were in town for the night and are we glad we did!  We also checked out CLTEats’ post and knew we were in for some good food 🙂

Not knowing how crowded it would be on a Thursday or how big the restaurant was we made a reservation in advance, but once we arrived we found out that we’d be able to enjoy a generally quiet evening to catch up (there were only two other tables while we dined).

The restaurant is nestled in a shopping center on Pineville-Matthews Road, next to a Chuck E Cheese.  I had mistakenly thought I’d passed it numerous times, closer to the street, but that was actually Trio (a restaurant we never had a chance to try).  Tria Terra is a generally an Italian restaurant, tapas, and bar.  However, the foods I believe are French, Spanish and Italian (tria terra = three lands).

IMG_2554 The restaurant is a good size for the general atmosphere that I assume it’s going for.  Not too small, but not big either.

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After being seated, we looked through the menu and contemplated what to have.  There was so much to choose from that looked good! IMG_2558

While we thought about it, we were brought some bread and breadsticks as well as (I think) a pesto-oil.  The thicker bread was so soft!  IMG_2561

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We decided to get a bottle of wine to split.  The Husband found a red we’d not heard of before and decided to try it – the Montepulciano D’Abruzzo.  We definitely enjoyed it.

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As a group, we decided to get two tapas to share and individual entrees.  The first one was the Pimiento Rellenos con Queso de Cabra – stuffed pepper with warm goat cheese. YUM! This was the perfect first dish and really set the standard for the food for the evening.

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Our second tapas dish was the Parrillada de Cordero – grilled lamb in rioja sauce.  This was tender and flavorful.

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The Husband and his mother each ordered salads as well.  The Husband’s was a green salad and his mother had a Caesar.  Both seemed pleased with their salad selections.

After our appetizers, we were brought out little plates of sorbet.  I love palate cleansers! Especially lemony flavors.

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Up next were our entrees.  The Husband ordered one of the specials – the Spinach Ravioli.  Lots of spinach and not tons of cheese. 

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His mother ordered the Pollo alla Fiorentina (a dish I was definitely eyeing).  It was a chicken breast stuffed with spinach, mozzarella, prosciutto and mushrooms served with roasted potato and spinach.  She said it was excellent!

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I went with the Lasagna Di Campagna – lasagne in a creamy tomato sauce.  After CLTEats’ rave review, I knew I had to try it, especially since lasagne is traditionally my favorite Italian dish.  I actually thought it was just okay – I think the creamy tomato sauce just didn’t hit the spot for this lasagne (perhaps because I’m not used to it in my lasagne dishes).

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Last but not least, my father-in-law ordered the fish special of the night.  I don’t remember what fishes there were, but it overall looked like an enjoyable dish.  I believe he did like it.

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Overall, we were glad we made it a point to get there before we moved.  The food was excellent and the service was very attentive.  The Husband also thought it was reasonably priced for the quality of the food.  If you’re looking for a good Italian, Spanish, French restaurant, make it a point to get to Tria Terra.



Tria Terra Italian Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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Romano’s – A Romantic Italian Dinner on Hamilton Island

Posted by Amanda @ The Hungry Wanderers on March 19, 2010

On the first night of our stay on Hamilton Island, when reviewing the dining options on the island, we noted a nice Italian restaurant on the water called Romano’s.  Once we decided to book a Sunset cruise, we thought that having dinner afterward at Romano’s might be a nice way to end this portion of our vacation.  We stopped by the restaurant the first night prior to dining at Manta Ray Cafe and made a booking.  We also double checked on what the attire was and learned it was “smart casual” (aka no singlets or flip flops).  We booked the table for 7:30 ensuring that we wouldn’t be late after the sunset cruise.

When the cruise ended at 7:00, we decided to check in early to see if a table might be available.  One was and we were promptly seated directly next to the water.

IMG_2100 The restaurant was quite spacious and we don’t think any of the tables would have been a bad choice, but we enjoyed being able to have a direct view over the water (even though it was quite dark and cloudy).

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Looking through the menu, we began drooling at all of the amazing options to choose from 🙂 A waitress offered us a variety of water options (we went with tap water) and we began looking at the wine list.  A second waitress came to take our order (and stayed with us the rest of the evening as our waitress).  The Husband quickly noted that her accent was different than most and asked where she was from.  We learned that she was from Canada and was on a working holiday in Australia.  She had been in the country for about 10 months and was now on Hamilton Island and working to make a bit of money to head home.  It was fun meeting a fellow North American 🙂

We asked her how patrons normally order to gauge the size of the dishes.  In traditional Italian restaurants, we had the understanding that it’s common for each individual to order a primi, a pasta, and a secondi, and with the pretty expensive prices (about $30 per item) that made us a bit nervous.  We learned, though, that the pastas and entrees were quite large so we decided to order one from each course to share.

To start, we ordered a bottle of wine.  We saw that the menu offered the Wild Oats winery wines from Mudgee, the same winery that I’d enjoyed a Chardonnay from at Manta Ray Cafe.  It was also the featured wine in our mini bar (though we didn’t have it in our room) so we decided to get the Wild Oats Cabernet Merlot to share.  Although I’ve begun to drink red wine less often as I’m starting to like the dryness less, we’ve found that we like Merlots (we are fans of the Blackstone Merlot).  This one was quite good!

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For our first course, we ordered some bread with garlic and olive oil.  The bread was thick, almost cake like but not sweet.  The garlic was clearly roasted and made the olive oil so very flavorful.  We each also spread the garlic directly on our bread. If the rest of our courses were to be this good, we were going to have an amazing meal.

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Next up, we tried the  Scampi grilled with oreganata, tomato, and baby capers.  It was quite a small appetizer and if we understand the shrimp correctly, it was only two cut in half… IMG_2110

For our entrees, we shared to amazing looking meals.  Placed in front of me first was the Risotto with confit duck, mixed mushrooms, baby spinach, and herb oil. Yum! This was perfect 🙂 And it was good size dish.

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Placed in front of the Husband was the  Gnocchi with swiss brown cream, spinach, pine nuts, and truffle oil. I believe this to be the best gnocchi I’ve ever had in my entire life. Seriously. This was so good.  The gnocchi melted in our mouths. While we ate off of each other’s plates, toward the end we switched dishes and I couldn’t be happier 🙂

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IMG_2116While expensive, this meal was amazing and worth every penny.  If you find yourself on Hamilton Island and are interested in a nice, romantic meal, immediately book a table at Romano’s and eat the gnocchi! You won’t be disappointed!

Now, totally unrelated to our meal (other than it occurred afterward and the wine may have contributed to the idea), I share with you this picture 🙂 Once we get back from Australia, you’ll get a post about signs.  There are signs everywhere and so many of them crack us up.  This one was most relevant as I have flip flops with zero traction.  Luckily I haven’t fallen yet (at least on this trip), but the Husband insisted I not wear them this night.  Instead, I wore his nicer sandals as there were more traction.  With all of the rain, certain areas of the resort are quite slippery.  Probably within 10 feet, we saw 3 of these caution signs so to end the night, I went ahead and imitated the sign.  Luckily, I didn’t fall thanks to the trusty hotel umbrella 🙂

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Hamilton Island – we’ll miss you!

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Facci

Posted by Amanda @ The Hungry Wanderers on February 8, 2010

A few weekends ago, in between two weeks of work in DC, I spent the weekend at my parents’ house in Maryland and spent Saturday night out with my girlfriends and my best friend’s husband.  My best friend Alison is a hair stylist and had recently received a recommendation for a relatively new restaurant in Laurel, Maryland called Facci.  She knew that it had pizza and wine so we knew it would be a good choice!

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When I arrived around 6:30, the rest of the group was running late.  It was okay, however, as there was about a half hour wait.  It’s important to note that Facci does not take reservations since they have so many walk ins.  The wait wasn’t bad and if my friends had been there, we may have hung out in the bar area and started on some wine.

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I enjoyed the view, though, of the restaurant from the small waiting area.

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My friend Carolyn was the first to arrive, moments after I was seated, so we decided to get drinks while we waited for Alison and her husband Chris.  I ordered a glass of Chardonnay and she had a Birra Morette (an Italian beer).

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Our waitress, Rose, let us know that they had happy hour specials until 7pm and if we ordered before then, appetizers were half off!  First, we were way impressed that there were happy hour specials even on the weekend (they have them 7 days a week)! Second, we really appreciated the notice, with only 10 minutes till 7pm.  We quickly perused the menu and found two items we thought we would like.

Shortly after we ordered the apps, Alison and Chris arrived 🙂 Alison ordered a Margarita on the rocks and Chris ordered a Sam Adams.

IMG_1831 While we waited for the appetizers, a basket of warm crusty bread and a plate of olive oil was brought out.  Yum!

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Then came the appetizers 🙂  First out was the Stuffed Eggplant.  It was stuffed with spinach, topped with marinara sauce, and a blend of three cheeses.  I can never remember if I like eggplant and I was pleased to find that I do.  This was flavorful.

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Our second appetizer was the Panzarotti. It was potato croquettes stuffed with salamino, parmigiano, and fontina cheese. So yum!

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You can find the menu online so I didn’t include it here.  However, I liked that they noted what body type of wines would go well with the different dishes.  These little glass symbols were found next to the the menu items and then the wines were divided accordingly on their menu.

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On to the entrees!  I originally planned on pizza (it was to be a pizza and wine night!) but debated having pasta as I love italian food! However, once I really looked at the options, the pizzas looked amazing.  I went with the Bianca Neve.  It was a white pizza with ricotta, fresh mozzarella, fresh tomatoes, arugula, prosciutto, and shaved Parmigiano.  So good!  The pizza was a good size for sharing so since the Husband wasn’t with me, I had leftovers to take home 🙂

IMG_1832 Alison ordered the Rizzo Flatbread. It included a lombardo marsala wine sauce, fresh mozarella, carmelized onions, mignon tips, and gorgonzola cheese.  She really enjoyed this dish.

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Carolyn ordered the Salsiccia e Rapini.  It was a white pizza with fresh mozarella, parmigiano, italian sausage, broccoli rabe, and smoked mozarella.IMG_1834 And then Chris decided to be different than us girls and went with pasta.  He ordered the lasagna.

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Overall, we were impressed and glad Alison had received the recommendation to check out Facci.  The food was good, the prices were reasonable, and the service was friendly, personable, and timely.  Although I won’t be around to check out this restaurant again any time soon, I imagine my friends will!

Facci
7530 Montpelier Road (near Rt 29 and Johns Hopkins Rd)
Laurel, MD 20723
301.604.5555





Facci Ristorante on Urbanspoon

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