Ennio’s Pasta House

The Italian Soda cocktail at Ennio’s Pasta House is a little like summer filtered into a glass. Not late summer, like what has found us now: cooler nights, turning leaves, and inescapable heat during the day, but the peak of summertime with its bright hue and Limoncello fizz – and the kick that surprises you when you rise to your feet; that, too.

Yum.

Thinking about seasons turns me maudlin and metaphorical (there’s lengthy proof of that in my other blogs) but then, the patio at Ennio’s is a good place to reflect. It’s a little noisy, what with facing King Street between University and Weber, but the high walls and central fireplace make it a comfortable space. I’d love to return and curl up on the couches that surround the fireplace, but was craving pasta, which is tricky to manage gracefully in slouchy chairs!

Instead, we headed for one of the patio tables; M snagged a glass of the Wolf Blass Cabernet Sauvignon and threatened playfully that he’d steal my Soda (but didn’t carry through, which was wise; it’d be a long walk home!)

My pasta came with a starter house salad, which I shared with M; as house salads go, its blend of iceberg and redleaf lettuces, cucumber, and a ribbon of carrot didn’t seem very exciting (though the marinated rings of red onion were a piquant, nostalgic touch) but everything was very fresh and the Italian dressing served with it tasted homemade. Also, for a starter salad, it was large – and, once the two wholegrain buns and olive oil/basil pesto dipping tray arrived for us to nibble on, I knew I’d be bringing leftovers home.

In a list of things Taryn Likes Best, leftovers hit the top thirty, safe.

M ordered the Michelangelo pizza, and happily noted that Ennio’s offers a whole wheat crust. I, on the other hand, smiled at his healthy choice and ordered a new addition to the menu: scallops, roasted red peppers, and asparagus in a saffron cream sauce with a “hint of citrus” over linguine was calling my name. It’s a lot of flavours to fit together; it was the first pasta dish I’ve seen served with a lemon wedge in a very long time as well, but the lemon worked, tying flavours together. Very decadent.

The pizza (roasted chicken, mushrooms, and fresh basil, with a tomato base; there were either roasted red peppers or sundried tomatoes as well, but my memory is failing me and a couple of Google searches have not yielded the menu) was met with a grin. The pizza is generous – M usually finishes single-serving pizzas and then is hungry two hours later, but he left a couple of pieces for a late-night snack.

Our friendly server asked about coffee or dessert, but we declined, taking our leftovers homewards. Ennio’s is one of those places that everyone knows about, and somehow feels like it; stories and lives, like some kinds of pasta, are made to be tangled up together (and for an evening, it was fun to be part of the mix.)

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