I’ve had a nice two-week break from blogging. Don’t get me wrong, I love sharing my food adventures. But traveling and eating and trying to write about it in a timely fashion is always fun but often frantic.
Our South Carolina trip was wonderful, but it’s always good to come back home. Home to my own bed, home to my daughter who was in Raleigh for a week, home to my kitties. And after weeks of holiday overindulging, back home to my favorite, most comfortable neighborhood restaurant, Capri.
I can’t believe I haven’t blogged about it yet. It’s so close I could (if I wanted to — but not in this frigid weather!) walk there. It’s on the small side compared to many newer dining establishments, and also, thankfully, pretty quiet. No high ceilings and hard floors and bad acoustics.
My dining companions and I, however, raised the volume in the place pretty high last night. Once again — as seems to happen fairly frequently at Capri — I was amid a group of life-loving, amazing (if I do say so myself) strong women. And whenever we get together to break bread the laughter and fervent conversation just can’t be contained!
But back to Capri. The very best things about it are 1. the food — pure, familiar, comfort and 2. the hosts: Dino, who is from Italy, and his staff. Whether you’re a first-timer or a regular, the welcome’s always warm, the atmosphere is convivial and the table is yours until you ask for the check.
We started off by sharing fantastic baked clams, which are not on the menu. (Thanks for introducing me to them, Donna.) But that’s okay — Dino’s team is willing to make anything they have the ingredients for. That goes for items that used to be on the menu or modifications of current listings. In fact, last night one of our party was wishing for a previous special and Dino was ready to run next door to the Fresh Market to grab the components so the kitchen could make it for her. (We literally had to stop him from going out the door.)
My entree was a combination/modification: penne, peas, mushrooms and broccoli with vodka sauce. Along with a tasty dark Italian beer (Moretti La Rosa) it was heart- and tummy-warming, which was exactly what my soul was begging for on such a cold January night.
(Side note: Once again, my photos were sub-par. Sorry you can’t see my entree — you’ll just have to take my word for it that it was beautiful and delectable. I present instead a flash-assisted of the last baked clam on the table, and some of my companions’ dishes before they left the kitchen. There was plenty of light in there. Today at Borders I bought yet another mini-light to keep in my purse. This time, a book light. Hopefully that’ll provide the right level of brightness for evening restaurant meals.)
What else is good at Capri? I’ve never heard anyone say anything bad about a single dish. I’ve had the following from the current menu, which have all been yummy: the funghi trifoliti, mussels and spiedino appetizers; the arancina salad; the linquine alle vongole (with white sauce); the lobster ravioli (a real standout); the sole, shrimp and grouper dishes; and the tiramisu.
If you’re not yet a patron, perhaps the best introduction to Capri would be to attend one of the wine dinners, which are held every third Wednesday of the month. (Tell ‘em Terry sent you. Or better yet, give me a heads-up and I’ll meet you there!) Five courses and five generous wine pours for $45, plus the opportunity to buy bottles of any of the featured vinos at a discount.
Capri is one of those places where I’m completely comfortable dining on my own. (Of course, you never really feel alone thanks to Dino’s kindness and conversation.) And since it’s good, affordable and so close to my home that happens sometimes.
So if you go, look for me. I’ll either be the solitary redhead lost in my thoughts and pasta, or the carrot top at the table full of boisterous women.