In celebration of my favorite co-blogger's birthday, and in enjoyment of today's beautiful weather, Alex and I ventured around Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, in search of a suitable place for dinner.  We were content to slowly stroll through the peaceful, tree-lined streets of Bay Ridge, stopping in Middle Eastern bakeries to peek at the baklava and watching in curiosity at eyebrows being threaded.

Finally, Alex settled on Giacomo's, an Italian restaurant with a brick pizza oven.  The wait staff was very friendly and the ambiance was inviting and classy.  We were seated quickly and our food came in no time.

Since we were in a celebratory mood, I craved something hearty and indulgent: spaghetti carbonara.  My plate had a heaping pile of spaghetti and a puddle of carbonara cream sauce, complete with pancetta bits, onion, and black pepper.  I was a little afraid at first that the pasta would get clumpy and the sauce would form a film over it once it started to cool, but once I gave it a little mix, everything stayed really hot and maintained textural integrity.  The sauce was super creamy and rich.  I really liked the salty pancetta.  Although the pasta was a little past al dente, it was overall ridiculously delicious and indulgent indeed.  Especially great was that I was full after eating about half the plate so I saved the rest for lunch tomorrow!

Alex immediately settled on chicken parmesan with penne arrabiata.  Something you should know about Alex (it's his birthday so let's poke fun at him a little): he loves chicken parm.  A cute little anecdote I've been saving up for years...

When we were in Rome with eight other friends, we had a funny little foodventure searching for a dinner place one night.  It always happens that you have a couple of vegetarians and a couple other picky eaters so it takes upwards of an hour to decide on a restaurant; this dilemma is especially compounded in a foreign country and when you are a bunch of tourists trying to evade traps.  So Alex wants to try Italian chicken parmesan.

It was Easter Sunday or something so we decided to check out all the secular sights (e.g. Coliseum, Roman Forum; i.e. outdoor sights)...but thanks to a really unfortunate mishap, it poured all day.  After literally walking around the city of Rome, Alex and I head up the search for a dinner spot (our foodie inclinations already in place, 2010).  We came upon a restaurant that had two waiters standing outside, trying to usher in passing tourists.

"Do you have chicken parmesan?" Alex asks.

The response was a long and hearty chuckle.  Two big Roman guys laughing at us.  As if that didn't already happen that day (remember "Obama and Michelle," you guys???).

"Chicken parmesan is an American food!!" they said after catching their breath and proverbially wiping happy tears from their eyes.

Womp womp.  Now, back to the present.  Giacomo's chicken parmesan was quite good, a simple chicken cutlet with tomato sauce and cheese.  The penne arrabiata was extraordinarily mouth-tinglingly spicy, which Alex liked somehow.  He also was sufficiently full from dinner and had leftovers for lunch tomorrow, which is a "win" in our books.