Laura is a passionate devotée of pasta, and she’d happily eat it every night. If I have it twice a week (and I often do, especially when the farmer’s market is booming and I have lots of heirloom tomatoes and fresh basil goin’ on), I start to resemble a stuffed shell. I decided to order a spiral vegetable slicer so that I could make “pasta” out of zucchini and other vegetables. I was prepared to glumly shovel healthy hippie food into my mouth while Laura feasted on a Sopranos-worthy bowl of angel hair and pesto, but it was actually delicious. I think my ratio of zucchini strands to actual pasta was about 80:20, and it was so good. Like, better, in a way — because of the bit of crunch, the added texture. It didn’t hurt that the pesto (homemade) was bangin’.
I also ordered The Geometry of Pasta, which gets really geeky about different pasta shapes, and pairs them with the most appropriate sauces. Red pepper and whiskey sauce with radiatore pasta? Oh, yeah!
Rattle off those wine names properly
I hate mispronouncing anything — especially when ordering wine at a restaurant. Wine names can be so tricky! Take “Gigondas,” a French Southern Rhone wine blend (made up of a blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre). You’d think the final “s” is silent, but it’s not. Complicating matters: The first g sound is soft, the second one is hard. So it’s like, zhee-gon-dahss.
Melissa Lavrinc Smith is also a font of wine wisdom, as she’s the creator of Enotria Guide, an iPhone app for wine pronunciation.
Don’t have an iPhone? It also comes in CD format.