Wining and dining
 In your best Italian accents now: let's have-a risotto for-a dinner.

Also, shout out to Alex's dad, who joined us for dinner tonight and serves as our guest photographer today!

It's a really rainy day today. Pretty good day for a warm, stick-to-your-ribs plate of creamy rice. We've heard some good reviews about this place: cozy, romantic, and above all, delicious. All these things came true!

Risotteria seats about 20 people, tops. It is super "cozy"...really small...but in a way that fits with having a cute and intimate ambiance. There is a bar lined with wine bottles and other Italian imported goodies. There are some cute black and white photographs on the opposite walls. All the tables have empty wine bottles, which we later found out were labeled with the drinks list. How creative!

Chicken, olive, pepper
Although Risotteria is known for its risotto, one would hope, they also have salad, pizza, and panini on their menu...as well as gluten-free breadsticks for each table! This brings me to their gluten-free dining theme.... I imagine it's easy to have a gluten-free restaurant if you're only making rice dishes, but breadsticks! I was curious and amazed...and delighted, actually. Their breadsticks, tall and kind of greasy but with a light sheen of oil, are really chewy but retain a fresh taste and bready flavor. I'm no nutritional biologist, so I'm not sure how you can manage gluten-free bread and still have it be called bread, but I thought the breadsticks were very clever and tasty.

Sausage and spinach
I had the Italian sausage and spinach risotto. I was a little nervous about making my class on time because I've heard that a real risotto takes 40 minutes, at best, but the food came out pretty quickly and was steamy and fresh. I was glad to see an enormous portion, particularly because I was starving, but I also knew that I would be having a food coma while in my evening class (where I am typing this from. Shout out to Psych Honors I Seminar!).

The risotto was delicious! There were crumbled pieces of Italian sausage and lots of spinach interwoven between glistening puffy grains of rice. The rice looked so hearty, not like the typical white rice that I have for dinner at home. I really enjoyed the dish, but the one drawback is that it's quite salty and I am fiercely downing my water in class right now. That is to say, risotto is very flavorful and different from most other things you'd eat on a regular basis. Plus, if their extensive menu isn't enough for you, you can do-it-yourself! (risotto+toppings)

Steaming hot!
The only other time I've had risotto was in Rome (when in Rome, eh? Eh?). At that point, I was not such a fan of seafood, but the one thing that spoke to me on this menu was the seafood risotto. This was after bouncing around Italy and having my fair share of pizza and pasta, and while absolutely delicious, I sensed it was time for a change. Funny enough, at this very restaurant, Alex asked the waiter outside if they had chicken parmesan...and the waiter proceeded to laugh in his face and tell us all that chicken parmesan is an American food! Haha Alex, I outted you.

Anyway, this seafood risotto dish came out in a heaping pile of whole shrimp, mussels, and calamari. It took a lot of work to dig out the shellfish, but it was really good, and the first time I really consider myself to have broadened my food habits.

During dinner tonight, we were talking about the different types of "risotto" in global cuisines. I'd never thought about it that way, but really a lot of different cultures eat risotto! Congee, anyone? Even paella is a similar texture to risotto. I'm glad people over the years have found ways to spice up rice. Food for thought, hm?