After many, many job applications, long periods of deep, dark silence, a handful of responses, some inspiring networking and meetings, challenging interviews, and finally an offer from the loveliest people working at a soup-er (sorry) wonderful company, we had some relieved 'I found a new job!' celebrating to do. Our initial idea was to follow our normal celebratory routine and head down the block to Rucola, but this excuse for fancier-than-normal meal out seemed too good to not pay a visit to al di la Trattoria, which has been sitting on my list of restaurants to visit for quite a while.
We walked up through Park Slope, planning, discussing, and jumping with excitement about my future life, until we reached the warm, cozy, vaguely disheveled (in a beautiful, European, curated way) restaurant. The specials were recited to us by our quietly charming waiter while we sipped on satisfyingly sizable glasses of Prosecco.
al di la was filled with a refreshing mixture of people. From local Park Slope families, to a very small birthday celebration, to one man sitting alone, quickly slurping through his giant plate of spaghetti, to couples young and old, to joyful groups of friends, everyone from all over the neighborhood was here with the joint mission of seek out some comforting Italian food, perhaps a glass (or two) of wine, and a couple of hours away from home.
We began with a grilled sardine (B is currently obsessed thanks to this tinned sardine experience in the summer) served on some fresh arugula, and a citrusy cavolo nero salad filled with giant croutons, huge shavings of Parmigiano, and a salty anchovy vinaigrette.
After being told we were over-ordering when we initially asked for two pastas, we reeled our pasta-obsession in to have only the tortelli di zucca. I love tortelli di zucca. If I could just eat one dinner for the whole of autumn, it would be this. Delicate parcels of pasta had been filled with sweet pumpkin and creamy mascarpone, and topped with crispy sage and grated parmesan. Pasta is the best.
But we weren't done yet. Next was the day's special which was genuinely all of B's favorite things on one plate. Creamy polenta formed the base, a glazed pork chop sat on top, and buttery Brussels sprouts, more Parmigiano, and a sprinkling of parsley were scattered over the whole plate. It was rich, fatty, salty, crispy here, super soft there, and a perfect example of how polenta really can be wonderful if it's made with enough butter and cheese.
We skipped on dessert (there was still funfetti cake at home), finished off the last few sips of Primitivo, and meandered home through the friendly streets of Park Slope.
al di la Trattoria, 248 5th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11215