Today Carolyn takes us on an anniversary takeout adventure, through lots and lots of pasta to Osteria Marzano in Alexandria, VA!
October’s edition of the food blog shall be known as The Anniversary Edition! This month marked eight years that I have so graciously allowed Mr. Carolyn to stick around and benefit from my awesomeness. I kid, I kid…. mostly. He’s a pretty cool dude himself; I mean, I procreated with him, and our spawn looks like his clone, so I must like him just fine, right? Ok, ok, more than fine. Alright, I admit it, I love my husband. But this is not about him! We always take a big trip over our anniversary (recent years included Vietnam, UAE, Oman, and Bahrain, where Mr. Carolyn was deployed at the time, and last year, the Baltics. However, this year, the ‘Rona got in the way. But oh well, because really, even if travel was a thing, the adorable tiny human who hasn’t let me sleep through the night in months would have limited our trip to a small one anyway. But I digress. So, anyway, here we were, coming up on an anniversary, with zero plans. Not a one. A nice dinner did cross our minds, but our anniversary was also on a Tuesday. So, like, bleh.
So, Tuesday arrived, and I’d decided I wasn’t going to cook that night, because we had plenty of leftovers. Then I remembered that it wasn’t just any Tuesday, it was ‘our’ Tuesday, and realized that we probably deserved something better than leftovers, even though I do cook some delicious food (if I do say so myself). Luckily my husband realized this too, but neither of us had any major contenders on our constantly evolving ‘restaurants to try’ list, so we both asked around for suggestions. One of his sources came through with what ended up being the winner—Osteria Marzano. It’s an Italian restaurant in Alexandria, in the Kingstowne area. We looked at their menu and decided this would fit the bill: food looked good, had lots of variety, and was of higher caliber, so even though it’d be takeout, we could still consider it ‘fancy’ enough for an anniversary dinner. Upon opening their website, a pop up appeared informing me of a Chef’s wine dinner with a live violinist that they have coming up—and the price was pretty great too! We briefly considered postponing our anniversary celebration to take advantage of that, but the timing didn’t really work out. However, that’s a pretty cool and creative thing they’ve got going, so maybe it’ll work for you!
Anyway, the menu. They have a pretty extensive menu, even for takeout, where a lot of restaurants tend to limit their selections. We began by going through and adding everything that sounded good to us to our cart—which, upon review, resulted in 12 items in our cart (not feasible for 2 people, but a good sign, right?) Ultimately, we narrowed it down to the garlic bread, bruschetta, sangria, agnolotti di magro (homemade pasta filled with spinach and ricotta in a walnut cream sauce), candied bacon mac & cheese, ravioli di short rib brasate (homemade ravioli filled with braised short rib in a porcini mushroom sauce), the white truffle butter (um, a fancy condiment I can use for days? Yes please!), and the calabrese bianca pizza (nduja, soppresata, grape tomatoes, arugula, pecorino, and fresh mozzarella. Hubby went to pick up dinner while I put the kid to bed, and then we settled down to enjoy a peaceful, kid free meal (that I didn’t have to make!!) I’ll be honest, the bruschetta wasn’t anything to write home about, but everything else? Delicious. The garlic bread was soaked with plenty of butter, so it was soft and full of flavor. The sangria was more unique, with a definite taste of red wine, but a strong note of something sweet—perhaps Amarena cherry juice? This is a total guess, but it came with one Amarena cherry, which, if you’ve had those, is reason enough to like the drink.
The pasta with the walnut cream sauce was everything you’d want it to be, and the walnut sauce gave it a slightly more unique twist from other spinach and ricotta pastas. The short rib ravioli was divine: the meat was soft and flavorful, and the mushroom sauce complimented it wonderfully. The candied bacon mac and cheese was creamy and delicious, with just a hint of sweet from the bacon—not what you’re used to tasting with mac and cheese, but definitely a version you want to try. The pizza was a white sauce pizza, so a bit creamier than red sauce, but one of the meats on it (not sure which), gave a nice punch of saltiness. Combined with the arugula, it was a superb balance of flavors. Oh, and that white truffle butter I mentioned? I used a bit of it during the meal, but we saved it and it’s been adding a nice upgrade to some Italian meat sandwiches at home for a few days. We didn’t order dessert, and that was a good thing, because after indulging in that dinner, we really didn’t have the room. Overall, we were quite content with our choice, and will definitely be eating here again! Maybe next time, in person—we’d love to try one of those Chef’s menu wine nights, maybe we’ll see you there!
Author: Carolyn Vernan is a member of our Cool Moms of Northern Virginia group, and first-time mom to an adorable yet exhausting 9-month-old named Kylen. She is also a proud dog mom of two. Fall is her favorite and her freezer is always full of desserts, which she loves to share!
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