Let’s call it The Chianti Effect. It’s that little bit of Italy you experience when you truly savor a decent glass of Chianti and some good pasta. With just the tiniest amount of imagination you are transported to Tuscany where you can live la dolce vita for the duration of your meal.
For the record, I am just about the furthest thing from an oenophile you could ever find. I would be unlikely to discern the difference between a Two Buck Chuck and a Chateau Lafite Rothschild (although, admittedly, I’ve never been offered the latter). But for some unknown reason, the chianti-pasta connection clicked with me the very first time I tried it.
My favorite spot for immersing myself in The Chianti Effect right here in Portland is Pastini Pastaria. Here are five fantastico (!) reasons to give it a try:
1. A GLASS OF THE HOUSE RED AND SOME BRUSCHETTA
On a recent sunny afternoon, my husband and I sat outdoors at Pastini’s NE Broadway location (adding that European sidewalk cafe ambience bonus to the equation) and feasted on bruschetta with glasses of house red. According to the Pastini website the house red – Pastini Rosso – “is a Chianti in everything but the name” and is made for Pastini in Tuscany’s Chianti region with Sangiovese grapes that are sustainably farmed and hand-picked. The Pastini version of Bruschetta Classico highlights thick, grilled, slices of country style bread brushed with olive oil and served with roasted eggplant spread and tomatoes marinated with garlic and fresh basil. Very tasty! Very filling! We savored every bite and sip. For less than $12 per person we sailed off on our mini-Italian escape.
2. MEATBALL MONDAYS
Each Monday, you can dine on spaghetti with meatballs for only $7.95. Add a glass of the house red and you’re out about $16 per person – the ultimate frugal chianti fix. Go nuts and get a bottle of the house red, the bruschetta and bowls of spaghetti. Linger. Indulge (and then walk or uber home). You’ll still only spend about $25 per person.
3. 10 LUNCHES FOR $8.50 EACH
Monday through Friday until 2 pm, you can choose from 10 lunch dishes for just $8.50. Options include pasta and salad combinations like spaghetti siciliano, ziti with grilled eggplant alla napoletano and linguini al gorgonzola to sandwich and soup choices or ziti and chicken salad.
4. LOCAL, SUSTAINABLE, FRESH – AND SOOO PORTLAND
Pastini is based in Portland and is dedicated to the Portland mantra of fresh, local, handcrafted food. Many offerings – think pasta, sauces, soups, dressings and desserts – are made from scratch; others are locally sourced, like the artisanal breads from Pearl Bakery, the meats from Carlton Farms and the cheeses, balsamic vinegars, olives and oils from Classic Foods.
5. FIVE PORTLAND LOCATIONS
I’m able to walk to the NE Broadway Pastini, a nice perk if you’re going to be indulging in more than one glass of chianti. Fortunately, you’ll find four more locations around the metro area: downtown, SE Division, Cedar HIlls and Bridgeport Village (as well as Corvallis and Bend).
If you really need a break today, skip Mickey D’s and opt for a micro-Italian-escape at Pastini Pastaria. No budget-busting itineraries or jet lag required. :)
- 1426 NE Broadway
- 911 SW Taylor
- 2027 SE Division
- 3487 SW Cedar Hills Blvd.
- 7307 SW Bridgeport Rd.
Pastini.com for hours, menu and specials.