They Say Its Your Birthday

June 6th was my twenty-something, birthday, and unlike last year’s shenanigans…the theme was Greek! I spent my bday in Greece, swimming in the Mediterranean, feasting on vineleaves and drinking homemade wine with some of my oldest friends (and former AmericANNE Idol winners 🙂 Not too shabby.

Not one to let a birthday go unnoticed; the beau had a beautiful birthday planned for me when I got home, including dinner out a Nicola’s; an upscale Italian restaurant here in Cincinnati. I had heard wonderful things about Nicola’s from co-workers and was excited to try it for myself.

The atmosphere is definitely fine dining, and the design inside was gorgeous. Nicola’s is housed in a renovated train station and I loved the high ceilings and exposed pipework.

After perusing the menu, the beau and I opted for the four-course tasting menu with wine pairings (Nicola’s offers other tastings and pairing options as well).

As we sipped our pre-dinner drinks (martini for him, champagne for me); we were brought an amuse bouche of Tuna Pate on Crostini.

I kept the pictures to a minimum as to not harsh the swanky mellow; but I hope these iphone pics can give you a glimmer of how wonderful the meal was

The pate was smooth and briny with a little punch from the chives, we loved this…..

……but not as much as we loved the BREAD BASKET.

Oh my carbs. This was a sight to behold. Individual tomato, onion or potato tartlets, truffle focaccia, honey wheat rolls, little baby garlic knots, chewy, crunchy bread sticks…I mean this was the pinnacle of bread baskets. We exercised SERIOUS restraint by not diving headfirst into this Valhalla of semolina love. We did sample most things in the basket, and agreed that we wanted to snuggle up with the truffle focaccia and watch a movie with it, it was so tasty.

Although we had ordered a four-course tasting menu; we both wanted a salad with dinner, so we shared a simple arugula, parmesan and prosciutto salad to start.

This was just happy bites of crisp parmesan, bitter arugula and salty prosciutto. Yum.

And now on to our actual meals! (yes, this was decadence; but hey, it was my twenty-something, birthday!)

The first course was Seared diver scallops with fennel puree, grapefruit, and frisee paired with Sauvignon Blanc/Chardonnay Fumaio, 09, Toscana

Divine. I loved the acidity of the grapefruit with the creaminess of the fennel. More grapefruit in dinner, I say!

The next course was Cavatelli with crushed San Marzano tomatoes, and house made Italian sausage paired with Riecine Riserva 2007, Toscana

This dish was the beau’s favorite; he loved everything about it. I found the pasta to be too dense for my liking; but the house-made sausage was wonderful.

Our third course Crusted yellowfin tuna with cannellini beans, basil pesto, and sundried tomatoes paired with Primitivo del Salento 2008, Abruzzo

I LOVED this. I loved the seared tuna, and the smoothbeans and the herby pesto. I ate every bite, and I ain’t mad at that.

Finally (yes, we finally stopped eating); we were brought the dessert course.

Fresh Strawberries With Prosecco zabaione, chocolate and olive oil cookie paired with a glass of Moscato

(hand modeling courtesy of the beau)

By the time the (wonderfully attentive and kind) server cleared our plates, I was full to the brim with all the deliciousness. Nicola’s was a gorgeous experience; and a perfect way to celebrate my twenty-something, birthday.


One Comment Add yours

  1. Jen says:

    I want to crawl into that monster bread basket and be smothered with the doughy, carby goodness as someone rocks me to sleep with a breadstick. Mmmmmmm. Bread.

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