Monday, June 16, 2008

Caffe Macaroni Sciue Sciue

This North Beach institution with the funny name was our restaurant of choice this past Saturday night, and we definitely picked a winner. The newly opened Usual Suspects Cafe - with it's vegan menu - is in the same 'hood, so it was a tough choice, but we were both craving authentic Italian and had been told that this was the best bet for hitting the spot. (Don't worry, dear readers, I'll get to the USC sometime soon, promise.)
Before we get to the food though, let's just take a minute to ponder the name. I had no idea what "sciue sciue" meant so I looked it up and found that it means something along the lines of improvised or quick and simple. If the long list of specials on Saturday was any indication of how they normally do things, I can see how the name would apply. Everything on the list sounded so...well.... improvised, that I just had to try one.
I had the salad of escarole, fennel, and apple to start. It was light and refreshing, with the perfect combination of bitter and sweet, and got my stomach ready for the main dish. I chose something from the regular menu - the Spaghetti alla Pizzaiola - which is a simple dish of spaghetti (I made sure the pasta had no egg beforehand of course!) with tomatoes, garlic, and oregano. As hard as it would be to make this dish really badly, I argue that it would be even harder to do it as well as Caffe Macaroni. It had the perfect saltiness from the tomatoes, and fruitiness of the olive oil, and just enough garlic. I was in heaven. Meanwhile, my hubby had one of the pasta specials, and even kept it veggie (thanks, babe). He claims his bucatini with peppers, garlic, and other veggies I can't remember, was the best pasta he's had in San Francisco. A successful meal all around. Of course, being an Italian joint on Columbus, there was the requisite loud Italian speaking and great people watching... but not nearly as in-your-face as some places a few blocks away.

Vegans, grab your others for some lip-smacking Italian that will have your whole party exclaiming, "Delizioso!"

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