My partner Paul and I celebrated our eight-year anniversary Friday night with a semi-fancy dinner at Ciao Bella, a vegan-friendly Italian joint. So tonight's post is all about that.
But first, I need to announce the winner of the Healthy Surprise giveaway. There were crap tons of comments, but random.org selected one lucky lady —Lesley of Lesley Eats! Lesley, who happens to live just a few hours down the road in Nashville, takes beautabulous photos of all sorts of vegetarian goodness. If you're not familiar with her blog, you should check it out. Congrats Lesley!
Now on to the dinner date. Paul's an omni, and he's a picky, picky eater. When we have dinner dates, we pretty much have to stick with Asian or Italian. Most Italian places around here have a few vegan options, but Ciao Bella totally deserves the title of "Most Vegan-Friendly Italian Joint." Chef Jonathan Steenerson is always happy to whip up something special for a vegan, even though there isn't much in the way of vegan offerings on the menu. He usually keeps vegan cheese on hand to make a grilled mozzarella appetizer, and he does vegan pasta right.
Chef Jonathan was out when Paul and I were there on Friday night, but whoever was cooking didn't disappoint. We started the meal with Bread and Garlic Olive Oil and Side Salads:
For my entree, I decided on pasta since I'm a carb queen. The server asked what veggies I'd like in my primavera, and I said "I like all vegetables. Just throw everything in!" And they did just that with this super veg-heavy Pasta with White Wine Sauce and Veggies:
I think I had more veggies than pasta! Score! There were artichoke hearts, kalamata olives, red bell peppers, spinach, mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, and probably more stuff that I've forgotten.
Of course, I washed it all down with a glass of merlot:
And Paul chose a New Belgium Somersault. Don't let the Yazoo glass fool ya:
We had a lovely meal and stuffed ourselves silly (so much so that I had to skip the vegan sorbetto that's usually offered for dessert). Our server was nice enough to snap a quick pic of the both of us with Paul's phone: