For the past year, I have had an increased fascination with all things Italian. From Pope Francis and his ability to connect with just about everyone around the world, to my desire to drop everything and spend a few weeks vacationing through all the best cities in Italy (you know that the Island of Capri anyone has become the new Almafi Coast, right?). Fortunately, I can follow the Pope on Twitter, but impromptu vacations abroad are just not feasible for me at the moment.
One thing that may surprise you, since you know that I am a "foodie", is that Italian food is not something that I get excited about. When I go out to eat, I order things that may be hard for me to replicate at home. Steak, sushi, any seafood really, I'm terrible at making; Pasta, not so much. I hate to use this word, but I am in the Olive Garden generation, if the pasta dish costs more than 12 bucks, I'm not ordering it. But when the menu's came out for Virginia Beach Restaurant Week , I saw Mannino's Italian Bistro and I immediately ate my words. Restaurant pasta was going to become a friend that I never thought I wanted.
Myself and a few other bloggers from the Hampton Roads area decided to meet up at their Kempsville location on the 2nd night of Restaurant Week. I came prepared with full knowledge of the menu and with what choice of items that I would order from the 3 course menu.
Living in Hampton Roads/Coastal Virginia *i.e. Crab Metropolis, the term "Award Winning Crab Soup" gets used by everyone. I am a She Crab skeptic, and was hesitant to order this as a 1st course, instead of my beloved salad. My mind was made up when the bartender informed me that the crab and bisque are kept separate, and once ordered, lump crab meat is placed in the bowl and them creamy bisque is spooned over top. This was truly delightful.
The main star of my meal (and I honestly would have gone home full and happy after this) was the Pollo con Peperoni. The name is deceiving, so dont expect a slice of pizza with this entree; this is like Chicken Parmesean on steroids. Penne Pasta is topped with a marinara sauce with chunks of tomatoes, Parmesean fried chicken breast, sauteed bell peppers, onion and the "peperoni" is Italian sausage all smothered with fresh mozzarella. (I'm desperately searching for my leftovers as I type this *insert mouth drool*). Driving to Virginia Beach is a pain (as a resident of Chesapeake), but I will gladly drop everything, drive here and order this again if asked by anyone.
Don't you hate it when you go out, eat an amazing meal and don't have room for dessert? Well, I made the room to eat my 3rd course in house, and it was like icing on the cheesecake. While I came close to ordering that, as I watched as slices the size of half my face were brought out to other tables, my Tiramisu, which was spiked with Kahlua was perfect for me. The sweet mascarpone cream oozed between the layers of soft lady fingers, I believe this is what some people call...heaven.
The time spent eating, drinking and laughing with the other ladies was wonderful, so much that at the end of our meal we all looked around and we were the only ones left in the restaurant. When I said I ate my words, I really mean that I ate my words. I will now add pasta to the list of dishes that I cannot replicate at home.