Michelle on Lavagna

While I’m in St Louis and notblogging, Michelle’s dining in New York and finding time to write foodblogs. Here’s her first:

Right! So my nose has been in Bill Buford’s new book for over a month. My reading is incredibly slow, but I have been savoring every moment. Mr Buford’s writing on cooking in a kitchen, eating, sussing out Italian food gurus, and constantly injuring himself in the kitchen, has got me under his spell.

After texting my friend and making a plan for the evening — I carefully avoided the refrigerator. I was waiting for what I thought was going to be dinner out. My nose in the book, I continued to salivate. PASTA. FRESH PASTA MADE WITH THE PERFECT EGG. PERFECT EGG. Then I really started day dreaming: quails’ eggs, truffles, truffle oil, pasta, eggs… AAAGH!

This is bikini season! I am meant to be hustling my ass on a cardio machine — but all I could think about is the tender, light, lovliness of ribbony “00” flour mixed with egg and water to create the ultimate in carbs… it made me want to pee from excitement.

My date cancelled last minute. My disappointment was so intense that I decided to continue on with my plans regardless. This was totally unlike me, but my cravings lead to the original restaurant I had in mind:

Restaurant: Lavanga

Meal ordered:

Glass of Rioja Crianza 2001

Artichoke heart with white bean puree and cremini mushrooms

Paparadelle with braised rabbit, thyme and moroccan olives

I walked into the restaurant and panicked. It had been so long since dining by myself that I immediately placed myself at the bar. The host was pleasant and set up my dining area. The waitress handed me my menu and seemed uninspired. I reviewed it and asked the waitress if they had any specials, she said no.


The artichoke was slightly tough — not tender. The beans and mushrooms were delicious, but there was too much to accompany the artichoke, so what I was left with was a rather large plate of bean puree and mushrooms which I sopped up with bread. It was tasty but there was too much on the plate — all that was needed was simple tastes with a tender artichoke heart. Less is more!


The rabbit paparadelle came and I asked the waitress if every pasta on the menu is fresh — she said no, except for the ravioli and paparadelle. I noticed the pasta was light, thin, and beautifully made. It spriraled around my tongue and snapped off my fork at just the right moment — telling me: “I’m fresh!” Again, there was too much rabbit in my dish, and the Morrocan olives overpowered the food. That said, the flavor of the rabbit was wonderful, partly due to being cooked with the olives. I left a pile of olives after finishing my plate. My host said, “I suppose you don’t like olives.” I confidently said, “they added to the rabbit — it was good, but the olives were too salty to eat.” This was true (I was served a bowl of olives while ordering and ate 3… seeing them for a second time during my meal turned me off, my palate sufficiently salted).

Drinking the rest of my wine, I made a promise to myself: if I went to the gym every morning this week — I would treat myself to a local Italian restaurant and find my favorite one. My logic is that I certainy won’t lose any weight — but I won’t gain a pound, and finally suss out a local Italian up to my standards where I could become a regular.

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2 Responses to Michelle on Lavagna

  1. geoff says:

    i am so sorry to leave you high and dry on italian night. but once you find yourself in the beer garden in astoria, things start to get a little abstract. and distant! it would have been easier to catch a flight to ohio than it would have been to get back into the city.

    too bad about lavagna and it’s sub par food. i have always found the place reliable, yet certainly not transcendant.

    that said… the room always has a warm homey feel to it which can make up for much.

    let me know when the next italian eveing is… i promise to be there.

  2. Michelle Vaughan says:

    that’s OK, you’ll get roped into another night of pasta eating!

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