Wednesday, October 19, 2011

NIAF's 36th Anniversary Gala Convention Weekend!

Listen to CiaoDC's exclusive interview with NIAF's Executive Vice President, Dr. John Rosa - get the highlights of NIAF's 36th Anniversary Gala Convention Weekend.

Visit at NIAF's Expo Italia on Friday, October 28 and Saturday, October 29 and enter to win Chef/TV Host/Author, Mary Ann Esposito's latest cookbook release, Ciao Italia Family Classics.

Don't miss this star-studded Italian event right here in our Nation's Capitol!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Pure Authentic Italian Cuisine at Acqua al 2

Recently, CiaoDC had the pleasure of dining for a second time at Eastern Market/Capitol Hill's Acqua al 2.  Acqua al 2 is a restaurant that has its original roots in Florence, Italy, in the heart of Tuscany.  DC's location is only the second international location for the Florence favorite, after San Diego.  As someone who spent several months living in Tuscany, with frequent visits to Firenze, I promise this is one of the few places in the area that does not disappoint on the authenticity front.

Ok, enough with talk, now onto the real reason why you're all reading this - the food and the wine.  We began our meal with an item that is not on the menu - the Burrata - which was a "thank-you" from the chef because we waited a bit beyond our reservation time for our table.  I was so pleasantly surprised that I forgot to take a picture!  But for those of you who are unfamiliar with the creamy deliciousness that is Burrata, check out this picture and description from BelGioioso.

Because no authentic Tuscan dinner could be better without a solid Tuscan wine, we went with a 2006 Brunello di Montalcino from the estate of Casanova di Neri.  Brunellos are unparalleled in both their taste and the precise science involved in making them.  Not surprisingly, they go best with food from the same region where they're produced.  This information should satisfy those steak-lovers out there, especially those who have tasted the famous Bistecca a la Fiorentina!

Next came the Cannelloni Ricotta e Spinaci which the menu aptly describes as: "Spinach and ricotta rolled in fresh pasta, baked in a bowl with our house-made tomato sauce, topped with bechamel and Parmesan cheese."  It was heavenly, my friends!  You could tell that the pasta was freshly made, the sauce has never even been near a jar, and the filling was the perfect balance of spinach and ricotta, not overpowering on either. 

CiaoDC's always-willing dining partner ordered the Tagliata alla Rucola - a grilled, sliced New York steak, served on a bed of arugula with cherry tomatoes, topped with shaved Parmesan and olive oil.  Although probably sacrilege to admit, this steak rivaled the Bistecca a la Fiorentina that we had in Tuscany last month!  It was cooked to perfection and exemplifies the elegant simplicity of the Italian cuisine.

For dolci, it had to be the Tiramisu.  You can see that Acqua al 2 takes great pride in their tiramisu - look at those layers!  They were also appropriately soaked in espresso and amaretto, and topped with that light fresh whipped cream and chocolate powder.  Perfetto!

On top of the exceptional food, the service was wonderful, and we will certainly be dining there again in the near future.   

Grazie mille, Acqua al 2!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Festa Italiana - A Winning Day!

Congratulations to Christina Tufaro! She is the winner of CiaoDC's Festa Italiana giveaway: NIAF Gala Weekend Package including two (2) tickets to Friday Night's Salute to the Martini Cocktail Event and two (2) tickets to Saturday's Celebrity Auction and Luncheon featuring Festa Italiana's Master of Ceremonies Elio Scaccio. Welcome to CiaoDC and enjoy your gift for subscribing!

Thank you and welcome to all of those new subscribers of It was a pleasure meeting you at Festa Italiana - and what a great day!! Did you try the gelato popsicles? What about the juicy porchetta? And that stilt walker oh my! Special "Ciao" to six-year old Ashlyn Holtzapple and her Mommy, Lauren (photographed above) for representing Kensington Parkwood Elementary's Italian language program in Kensington, Maryland sponsored by the Italian Cultural Institute. Ashlyn sported the "Fratelli d'Italia" tee shirt, spoke some Italian and ate the yummy gelato made and scooped by our friends of Dolci Gelati. We took great pride in being the media sponsor of this fabulous annual event and can't wait for next year!

Didn't get a chance to come out to Festa or just need a quick CiaoDC and all things Italian fix? Visit us at the end of the month at the National Italian American Foundation's Expo Italia on Friday, October 28 and Saturday, October 29 at the Washington Hilton and Towers. More here.