After having drinks and appetizers at Luce, we headed next door to the "all grown up place", Baci. From the loud and boisterous, to the sedate and quite.....from stool around the bar to lounges, in what else, the small lounge. From tattooed staff to Servers in faux Tuxedos....
The friendly maitre'd....ok, when was the last time Ieven used the word maitre'd? The rather darkish lighting, the slightly formal but not stuffy service, the backlit sculpture of the torso of perhaps Venus de Milo in the background....there's some charm to this in our all Twitter...facebook...what's the latest fad/food truck/trend by the minute world we live in.
All of this calm was brought to you by the surroundings...and a Negroni or two....
The menu is full of old school Italian.... Linguine alle Vongole, check, Vitello Parmigiana...check, and of course Osso Bucco is a must, right?
And yet, there are some interesting items on the menu.......like the local sea urchin.
Hey, it's local uni and they didn't mess with it.......
I followed this up with the Braised Lamb Shank over Truffle Risotto ($28.95).
This was pretty much by-the-book, not heavily seasoned, the lamb wasn't over-cooked, nor tough, with that nice flavor of the pasture. The risotto had a decent texture, soft through and through. I do prefer my risotto a bit more "wet" and the "truffle" (really in quotations there) scent or flavor was really hard to make out.
Some of the other dishes I got to try. Candice's uni pasta was really garlic heavy, you really couldn't make out much of the uni taste, nor was it moist enough. Uni pasta is not my favorite thing, so take it for what it's worth. I thought the best item I tasted was JohnL's Pappardelle alla Tartuffo. The lamb ragu was full flavored and you could actually make out the flavor of truffles in this dish. The pasta was cooked perfectly as well.
While I still can't really recommend any place in San Diego for Italian cuisine, Baci was perfect for this evening with friends. It's an interesting look into what we considered fine dining when I was growing up and that doesn't get old as quickly as I am.
1955 Morena Blvd
San Diego, CA 92110
After dinner, Candice had one last surprise up her sleeve.....we went for drinks and the place we visited was packed. With folks over 60....who were just having a blast. The only seats available were at the piano bar.
Paintings of topless maidens from who knows when adorn the walls. There's a bit of a legend going around that these were paintings of actual Pan-Am Stewardesses from way back when....don't know about that, but it's a great story. I'd watch as a woman, probably in her late sixties would slowly walk up to the mic to sing at the piano bar...and my goodness, the voice! You could tell she/they were in their element as it would seem that years would slowly melt away and the clock would be turned back a bit. Friends and couples who knew each other for years, or perhaps minutes, would dance in the small area near the bar. All of this was happening while dinner service for what seemed to be tourists and visitors staying at the attached Travelodge was taking place inches away!
Then there was JohnL, who in spite of where we told him we were eating, decided to wear a v-neck t-shirt and jeans. Anyway, John is hunched over the piano bar, so naturally his shirt is hiked up...he's doing his best imitation of a plumber, if you know what I mean. So a sprightly octogenarian walks by, grabs his you-know-what, and tells him "your a$$ is sticking out!" We almost fell off our seats! Heck, JohnL could have had his hands full with...well, what's older than a Cougar? A sabretooth??? Whatever, we had a great time, it was wonderful seeing folks enjoying themselves. A bit later on in the evening, the hipsters start arriving and it gets a bit strange. Thanks to Candice, I got to see a part of San Diego I hadn't seen before. And it was a bit surprising because I've driven past here thousands of times.
This was the kind of place my Dad loved....and the kind of place where he met his third wife too....but that's a story for another day.