Daniel’s birthday, Bellanico Oakland, March 7, 2010

Last night to help Daniel take his mind off his 30th birthday we all went to an Italian restaurant in Oakland that has been open for under two years. The tough economic times and the fact that Bellanico is still there suggest that the restaurant is doing something right. I think the food and the way we were treated took us all a little by surprise, it was that good.

The appetizers were great, and I was too busy memorizing their names (mondeghili, farro) to photograph them. Or maybe they disappeared before I could get the camera out. 
The main dishes stayed long enough to afford a few shots.

My personal favorite was the malfatti, Italian for "poorly made." The idea is that they're like pasta but not nicely cut. You can also sense some Italian irony, since they are heavenly. These didn't seem to have any noticeable pasta in them at all–just Swiss chard and Parmesan cheese. They were truly miraculous. 
The shot on the left didn't show enough of Martha, but when I tried to get a closer view of her my hand must have slipped because instead I got a closeup of the malfatti.
After a bunch of desserts, pictured below, we staggered out and made a date for the next birthday.
During the meal I remembered recently waiting for a Web page from Italy to load onto my computer. The message displayed on my screen was "caricando," Italian for 'loading,' I suppose. How beautiful! Whether it's eating or waiting for a screen to come up, I'll take the Italian way any day. 

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