Ever in search of anything even remotely resembling authentic Italian cuisine (which is tough to do this side of the Atlantic), this Saturday evening found me at local favorite Garozzo’s Ristorante (the “ristorante” right there in the name let’s you know that they are not messing around). I had been there once before, but it was years ago, and I was ready to give it another try.
The setting was pretty elegant, the menu reasonably expensive, the clientele bedecked in that wealthy-casual way that is so popular around here (golf shirts and shorts with pleats and expensive-looking leather sandals) (oh, and golf tans, of course).
I opened up the menu, and there were several tempting options, but I found myself coming back to a dish suggestively named “Three Way Pasta.” I like variety, and the menu said it came with ravioli, spaghetti, and mastacioli. It sounded like a winner. It also said it came with melted cheese, and “your choice of meatball or Italian sausage” on top. How could any of that be wrong?
The server came back, and asked “are you ready?”
“Yes, I think we are.”
“What will you have, sir?”
“I will have the…um…Three Way [ahem] Pasta.” (Awkward).
“Have you ever had that before?” she asked, smiling.
“No, I haven’t” I said, blushing now, not sure if we were still talking about pasta.
“Well, it’s really big. Like you will have leftovers for a month. Some people have complained,” she said.
Now I was insulted. Admittedly, I don’t look like an NFL lineman, but I also don’t look like a guy that would be intimidated by a somewhat large plate of food. I was now more convinced than ever that I wanted the Three Way.
Salads came, and bread (both a big mistake, as it turned out). I thought about my choice.
About ten minutes later, our food was delivered. And OH-MY-GOSH! If anything, the waitress had undersold the leviathan proportions of my dish. I was picturing a little bit of spaghetti in one corner of the plate, a little bit of ravioli in another, and a little bit of mastacioli somewhere else. Oh no. Here were full and mammoth servings of each, all mixed together, swimming in sauce, and smothered in what looked to be an entire wheel of mozzarella cheese. And it was served, not so much on a plate, as in this massive bowl (see picture above (which seems smaller than it was in person; to give you some perspective, I think that’s a pizza pan dwarfed in the background)). I actually opted for the meatball (not pictured above), but it was about the size of a softball. Had I opted for the sausage (seen above), I think I would have just fled in terror.
I put up a brave fight, eating absolutely as much as I could. I didn’t even make a dent. They had a hard time finding a container big enough to hold my leftovers. We decided to walk around a little afterwards, and I carried the leftovers. I swear they weighed 25 pounds.
Eventually we got home, and I put the bag in the fridge. I ate a full plate the next day for lunch. Brought a full Tupperware container to work on Monday. Fed some of it to all three of my kids for dinner that night. Finally conceded defeat and ended up throwing at least half of it (including most of the mysterious meatball) away.
I don’t know if even this post is adequately conveying how massive it was. It was seriously like one of those Man vs. Food eating challenges. I could not hang. If any of you are ever in town and up for it, dinner’s on me.