Last Friday I got my hands on a pot brownie. Not some random pot brownie that somebody’s roommate made, but a commercially packaged, legal brownie from one of Colorado’s state-run marijuana stores. Yes, Colorado. Our home state hasn't yet gotten its collective head out of its ass yet re: reefer. I split the brownie four ways with three friends. Then we went to see Interstellar. What a fucking mistake. Every second was an excruciatingly loud eternity. I think I had a stroke!
Anyway, the next day was Saturday and, still completely stoned, we went to Vespolina. We started with the antipasto misto ($11) which was delightful. A plate of mortadella was sliced as thinly as bible pages, and wouldn’t you rather swear on a 1000 page pile of mortadella instead of the boring fucking bible? Sure, mortadella is the most polarizing member of the charcuterie family; it’s the uncircumcised penis of cured meats and you either love it or hate it, but luckily for me I love it, despite the fact that mortadella is really just baloney with a master’s degree.
Along with this came a cute little pile of roasted radicchio with pine nuts and some balsamic vinegar. There was also a novel salad of cold calamari with chickpea puree and a few razor thin rounds of sliced watermelon radish. The calamari was prepared masterfully. It was very tender, which is great because if you don’t cook calamari properly it turns into a leathery cock ring that you are compelled to chew for decades. Luckily this calamari was delicate and lovely. A word of warning about the antipasto, however: the price on the menu is PER PERSON and they failed to tell us this when we ordered. Caveat emptor, or whatever.
Apple radish salad ($12) was generally inoffensive, with sliced apples and discs of watermelon radish, along with a few big curls of pecorino, and some fried leaves of arugula or dandelion greens or something. The server claimed that this was chervil but I’m calling bullshit.
Spaghetti “carbonara” ($17) was a fair interpretation of the famous Roman pasta dish, but I couldn’t understand why they put “carbonara” in quotation marks. I asked our server, and she stammered out an incoherent reply; I suppose that I wasn’t the only one still reeling from last night’s pot brownie. Still, the “carbonara” was great: supple swirls of “pasta” were tossed with a "creamy" sauce of “egg yolk”, “pecorino”, and little porky chunks of “guanciale.” See, Vespolina: “I” can misuse “quotation marks” “too.”
Squash ravioli ($22) was so fucking good that I’m breathlessly hyperventilating while reminiscing about it. The ravioli was masterful: thin pockets of pasta as delicate as an infant’s eyelids enclosed a silken and savory orange squash filling. Fried sage leaves and a few shavings of cheese on top finished this dish, and if I could eat this every single day I would. It was a symphony in orange and green and tasted like a stroll through the autumn woods. If there had been a hint of smoke in this dish I would’ve dry humped the table.
Dessert was bombolini ($7). For this price we got six fried doughnut balls, burnished a rich mahogany outside and with a mystical custard interior. The bombolini were drowned in a sticky pool of black truffle honey. I’m making no comments about the honey: I get bitched at no matter what I say about truffle flavor, so fuck you. But the bombolini were crusty outside and soft inside and being completely drenched in honey, like a group of medieval princesses bathing decadently together, didn’t hurt either.
Vespolina is pretty solid. The service leaves something to be desired, but in Vespolina’s defense I was as high as a fucking kite so my questions probably sounded like a poorly translated DVD player instruction manual. The dining room is gorgeous and the pasta will inspire serious Proust moments so go there now. Don’t do drugs though. Or if you do drugs, make sure you go to see a fucking mild-mannered Merchant-Ivory film.
Rating: 8.5 drugs out of 10
Vespolina is located at 96 Union St.
For reservations call 206-682-3590