There are good restaurants, there are so-so restaurants, and then there are your favorites. You will know which ones are your favorites because they are the ones that you will compare all other restaurants to, the ones you take your out-of-town guests to, and the ones that make it hard to try new restaurants, even the ones that get rave reviews. The Pastaria in Los Gatos is this restaurant for me. It is teeny; teeny-tiny to be exact. It has something like 8 or 10 tables and there is a mish mash of Italian decor on the walls. Everything is simple and cozy and all the pasta is homemade. The service can be a bit spotty and there are times when there's just one server attending to the entire restaurant, but I find that it just adds to the restaurant's charm. It allows for lots of time to chat with your dinner companions and to linger over the evening's moments. I love every bit of it.
We start with the bread. Alan always skips over the table olive oil and balsamic vinegar and asks for butter. He is a complete bread and butter fiend. I secretly am too.
We have a few menu items which we routinely choose from. On this night, Alan veered away from these and tried something new. Adventure! He had the tagliatelle in a black truffle sauce with sauteed mushrooms and grilled chicken. My friends, you can never go wrong with dishes that have "truffle sauce" or "sauteed mushrooms" in their descriptions.
I chose a staple: linguine with tri-tip, sauteed mushrooms, spinach and sun-dried tomatoes. So not truffle-cream-fancy sounding, but so amazing.
Irene had another menu favorite: the seafood linguine special. Having eaten many a seafood linguine in Italy, she's been known to say that nothing she tasted there compares to this. Yes, a bold statement, indeed.
Normally, I am too stuffed to even think about the desserts, but tonight, it seemed we were celebrating the season so it seemed only right to end on a sweet note. We had tiramisu on the house to thank us for our patience throughout the night (I think there was just one server and some back-up in the kitchen) and for the non-rum fans at the table, we also had a cream puff sundae. It was a perfect way to end the crazy hectic weekend of last minute holiday shopping :)