Friday, October 21, 2011

Danielle & Joan's Hiking Adventure

This past week my mom woke me up bright and early and told me that we were going hiking and to get ready. Still half asleep I agreed to go, and twenty minutes later we were on our way. When my mom decides she wants us to do something we pretty much don't have a choice. It's just much easier to say yes because ultimately we end up giving in, and if we just agree right away we save ourselves from the Italian guilt trip that would otherwise be inevitable. She'll say things like "I guess I'll just bring the dog with me so I don't get kidnapped." Or, "I just wish my family wanted to spend time with me." So to avoid the next few hours of guilt I just agreed.

Anyway, we obviously got lost on our way there - a difficult thing to do because we own a house on the lake and go there often - I love how there's never a dull moment in the Rutherford family... keeps things exciting! So after a slightly longer ride we arrived at the mountain and began are ascent.

Clearly we got a little lost on the mountain, which probably added about another mile onto our already 3.8 mile climb, but overall it was a great hike.... minus the kind of creepy guy lurking the whole time. After our four hour climb we were dirty and starving and decided our number one priority was food.

The views were absolutely stunning

Well prepared Russian family

Less prepared Italian mother-daughter duo...

Catwalk pose at the top of Buck Mountain.. fierce. 
After realizing that our hike took longer than anticipated and therefore our original restaurant choice was already closed, we ultimately decided to go to Pasta Pane, located at 16 Park Avenue in Clifton Park. Pasta Pane is described as a "rustic Italian bistro," and is just one of several restaurants owned by Restaurateur David Zecchini (probably most well known for Chiantis in Saratoga).

All of his restaurants are Italian themed, but each offers it's own original take on Italian cuisine. Pasta Pane is described as offering homestyle Italian meals that are more moderately priced than some of his other restaurants. As we arrived at the restaurant I was skeptical at first. The outside looks a little like a tacky chain restaurant, so my hopes for a true Italian meal were crushed, but because I was so hungry I kept my mouth shut and prepared for the mediocrity. As soon as we walked inside though I was impressed - the decor was homey, inviting, and seemed to have a nice bar scene.

As we perused the menu we aggressively fought over the bread, and tried to decide what we wanted to eat. My mom ended up going with their three-course Harvest Menu, and I obviously went with a large bowl of pasta... wasn't even a question.

My mom decided that she would try the Harvest Menu, which features seasonal dishes for the shocking price of just $20.

To start, she decided to order the Rape E Formaggio, a roasted beet napoleon, goat cheese, arugula and tarragon vinaigrette with toasted sesame flat bread as her appetizer. My mom really enjoyed this appetizer, surprisingly since she didn't realize it had beets in it. Did I mention we were blinded by our hunger?

I really loved the contrasting color of the red beet with the white goat cheese, and although I'm not sure I would describe these as "napoleons," they did remind me of red velvet whoopie pies. The tang from the arugula went nicely with the earthy sweet flavor of the beets.

For her main course she ordered the Ravioli Con Zucca, butternut squash ravioli in a sage, amaretto, and fontina cream sauce.

This was very yummy, and just the right portion because the dish was on the heavier side. In fact, I could almost describe this dish as sweet not savory - it fit nicely with the "harvest menu" theme.

For my main dish I ordered the Granchio, which was capellini pasta, sauteed crabmeat and shrimp, extra virgin olive oil, garlic and fresh herbs, in a light tomato sauce.

Overall this was a decent dish, although as someone who loves pasta like I do, and someone who was at a restaurant with pasta in the name, I was slightly underwhelmed. Pasta Pane has about eight pasta dishes on the menu, half of which are penne. I was hoping for more homemade pasta, and more of a variety. Regardless, the pasta was cooked nicely, but the sauce was a little oily, and the crab didn't taste fresh. Although the shrimp was cooked properly, the tails were left on which made it more difficult to eat. All that being said, I was starving, and it still hit the spot.

Finally, for dessert, my mom ordered the Zeppole Con Miele, which is Italian sugar doughnuts served with apple cider honey.

This dessert was actually really well done. The doughnuts were warm and fresh, and the cider honey went very nicely with it. I wish I had saved more room for the dessert, but I would absolutely recommend ordering this!

Despite some of the restaurant's shortcomings, I still think I would come back. The atmosphere and service was very nice and I think if I tried some of the other entrees my opinion might change a bit.

Pasta Pane on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. we were underwhelmed the time we went. it was right after they opened, so we've been considering giving it another shot. I agree that with its name, the pasta selection is weak.