Trinacria


On the corner of State and Capitol, tucked in by the Electric Rose Tattoo shop and the Brotherhood Tavern, is Trinacria. You can really only tell it’s open if the front window is fogged up from the heat of the kitchen and the bodies inside. It’s cheap, it’s simple, it’s luscious and kitsch, and it’s always packed. The tables, covered in blue checked table clothes are all different shapes and sizes, decorated with little candles, salt and pepper. The walls are decorated with pictures you might find at the Goodwill or your grandmother’s house. They hang lovingly, sometimes slightly lop-sided between the half-round columns of green, corrugated plastic. On the way to the restroom, you have to pass through the hot, wet kitchen where wilting drawings by Eugenio’s sons, family pictures and postcards from fans are lovingly hung.

I had my birthday there once with my friends. One is picky. “Can I have that without the tomato sauce?” She asked. “Oh, god….” I heard my other friend moan. The waitress froze. She glanced around quickly. “I can ask…” she answered in a quiet, hesitant voice. A few minutes later she returned to the table. The answer was no. When the food came my picky friend was quiet and an odd look of surprise and pleasure showed on her face. She cleaned her plate with a gleam in her eye and a tomato-blush on her cheeks.

If you are lucky you can get the kitchen table.  Yes, a table in the kitchen.  A 1950’s round retro table, tucked into a little nook.  Front row seats.  Pass through the kitchen and you come to yet another room. This is the perfect place for family get-togethers and small office parties. Lined with red-seated booths and embellished with a little electric fire place, it is comfy-casual-kitsch. The entire restaurant reeks of west-coast/international cool. If you are concerned that your reputation as a hipster maybe be in jeopardy, bring your friends here and save face.

I always recommend the spinach and raisin calzone. People usually go for the Bolognese though. The tangy-fresh and rich Ragu sauce and the thick, warm Besciamella sauce married on a bed of fresh pasta just seems like too much to resist. But the spinach calzone is an adventure for your mouth. Each bite is a surprise. Marinara, mozzarella, fresh spinach and sweet plump raisins. You never know what combination you will get in each bite. For under $20 and a bottle of wine two people can walk away from the table with complete satisfaction, until you get an uncontrollable urge for more.

Reservations are recommended. Tel: 360-352-8892

Price: $10 to $15 for entrees

Atmosphere: Casual, semi-casual

Fare: Italian. Wine and beer are available.

Pasta

Pasta only has four ingredience, flour, eggs, olive oil and salt. It is beautiful in its simplicity. Versatile, satisfying and fattening. To make homemade pasta you will need:

2 cups of white flour, 2 cups semolina flour, 1 pinch salt, 6 large eggs, 2 tablespoons olive oil. Mix your dry ingredience together first. Make a mound on a dry, clean surface. You will need a nice little nest in the center for your eggs. Add your olive oil and break the eggs into your nest and start whisking them gently with a fork, gradually working them into the flour mixture. When it becomes stiff, beginning kneading the dough with your hands. This is really the most satisfying part. Kneed for about 12 minutes before wrapping it up in plastic wrap. Allow it to sit for about 30 min at room temperature. Now is a good time to prepare the pasta toppings. Roll your dough out very thin, cut your shapes and boil the pasta in salted water for 1-8 minutes, depending on how thick it is. Don’t let it turn to mush. Drain it and yum.

A few of my own favorite quick and simple pasta recipes you can try at home:

Pasta with Basil, Pine Nuts and Paneer

Measure your ingredience based on the amount of pasta you have. This is a visual thing. Start light and add until it looks right, is my motto. Chopped Basil, minced garlic (a good guideline is 1-2 cloves), olive oil, a pinch of salt, pine nuts (generally about a handful). Toss your ingredience together beginning with the olive oil, next the garlic and salt and finish with the Basil. You can use a bit of pepper to taste, but for the piece de resistance – add -+thinly sliced strips of Paneer.

Chili-lime Cashew Pasta

Start light and add until it looks right. You will need large fresh shrimp – uncooked, Armando’s Andean garlic sauce (use this sparingly until you become accustomed to its power), Chili-lime cashews, and a small pat of butter, fresh cilantro, a pinch of sugar and some pepper. Sauté your shrimp in the butter with the sugar and pepper to taste. Chop up the chili-lime cashews and the cilantro. Drizzle the Andean garlic sauce over the pasta, add the shrimp and sprinkle the cashews and cilantro on top. For a vegetarian fare, replace the shrimp with paneer. Try with a nice buttery Chardonnay. Note: As long as you are at Trader Joe’s getting your chili-lime cashews, try picking up some Lemon Parpadelle pasta if you don’t feel like making your own. Yum Yum.

Scallop and Mushroom Pasta

Sauté heaven. Chanterelles, white mushroom, wood-ears, walnuts, butter, white wine, butter, a pinch of salt, sesame oil, chives and scallops. Sauté your mushrooms in butter with a dash of white wine. Salt to taste. Seer the scallops with a bit of butter. Drizzle your pasta with the tiniest bit of sesame oil and top with sauté, chopped walnuts, scallops and finish with long, pretty pieces of chives.

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