The empty nest! Life’s going to be pretty different around here especially since I’m going from two to zero fledglings. Just on the food front there are all the things my youngest son loves that I no longer need to stock, like ciabatta, basil, fresh mozzarella and tomatoes for the Italian-style sandwiches that he loves. The kitchen is staying miraculously clean, I don’t need to grocery shop every day, and leftovers no longer disappear. I threw a dinner party for nine Tuesday and we’ve been living off of the leftovers for days (perhaps I shouldn’t have made quite so much chocolate budino).
While we were in Moscow, Idaho, with our youngest son, we ate at Maialina Pizzeria (twice!). We were in Moscow once to drop him off at college and again to visit him after a week in between visiting Sun Valley (aka summer skating mecca). I hope to tell you more about Sun Valley in another post but meanwhile– Maialina!
Maialina is said to be the best restaurant in Moscow and we loved it! It has a beautiful outdoor patio space strung with lights and filled with and surrounded by tubs of edibles. Tomatoes trained as if they were small fruit trees shared the tubs with herbs and ‘Alaska’ nasturtiums with their variegated leaves and flowers in bright oranges and yellows.
Our server on our first visit was knowledgeable and quite proud of his restaurant and all its little touches. He definitely sold us on the butterscotch budino with salted caramel for dessert, and it was a creamy, delicious win, topped with a cream fraiche/whipped cream topping that had just a bit of tang. Other favorites were the wood-fired pizza with fresh peaches, caramelized onions, brie, and shaved parmesan, and an olive oil cake accompanied by mascarpone ice cream that my son and husband assured me was excellent. It had orange, so I couldn’t eat it, but I’m a fan of olive oil cakes, which have a dense, moist, and fine-textured crumb.
On our second visit I had mussels (made up specially to omit the land-animal garnish and stock) which were flavorful with a nice soft texture. For my main I had a large arugula salad with roasted grapes, goat cheese, candied hazelnuts, and mustard/champagne/extra-virgin olive oil vinaigrette. I’d heard about roasted grapes in the blogging world but had never gotten around to trying them myself. They were good! I made my own version of this salad a couple of times and it will be up on Fit and Fed shortly. I always love learning from and being inspired by a special restaurant meal. My son had the Patate Arrosto pizza with thinly-sliced roasted fingerling potatoes and other goodies like garlic, capers, peppers, kalamata olives, sage leaves, and chili flakes. That would be worth trying at home, too!
Dessert was a large, moist, and really excellent tiramisu. I know photos are de rigueur for a blog post but I’ll have to save those for our next visit. We will be back, probably before the month is out! Gotta see how that fledgling is getting along.
Update: The photos are from our next visit, our third in a month. Our experienced server had no problems getting our dishes changed a bit to be vegetarian. The wood-fired crust and roasted veggies give the pizzas a lot of character as do the roasted vegetables. The Fiorellini with mozzarella, roasted cauliflower, basil, pine nuts, balsamic golden raisins was no slouch. For dessert, I loved the intact little berries in the intensely purple huckleberry ice cream, and the tiramisu was just as good as last time (seriously, don’t miss the dessert)!