Another Eventful Day: UC Davis and Lunch at Caffe Italia

19 Jul

I never really get a break now do I? School ends and I somehow always figure out how to stay busy. Such is life :)

Today I left my house at 9 am to meet a friend at U.C. Davis. It was a long drive and the hot weather was daunting, but I’m so glad that I went.

My friend toured me around her school wanting to show off all the great hang outs places, the dorms, and the cafes and little restaurants. It was all fun and exciting, but the heat just got the better of us. After walking around for about 2 hours – yes, we were crazy enough to walk around in 108 degree weather – , we decided that this was enough. By 2 pm I think even my friend was getting tired of her school so she decided to finally take me to the restaurant that she and her other friends go to to relax and chill. “Besides the food,” she confided, “which is very good, it has air conditioning.” At that point, that was all I cared about. I could have just been happy going into a McDonalds as long as there was air conditioning.

Boy, was I going to take that back once we had eaten there.

She ended up taking me to this Italian restaurant called Caffe Italia about a 3 minute car ride from the campus.

The ambiance was cozy and home-like. Definitely perfect for friends, family, and even dinner dates. The seating was wooden booths like Outback’s Steak House, but they had another room full of tables and picnic blankets over them. There were little “witty character signs” like this one:

Note for above: not my picture; from yelp.

I know it's a crappy photo. But it was dark in that room and I was looking through glass. I figure that they open this room during dinner time when it gets really busy.

What was really cool was that you can draw on the tables. Well, actually, the white paper that covers the table. You can be a kid here. In fact, the server writes their name on the white table-paper. Kinda cool though by the time I had gotten there I was basically a sweating city pig with a sunburned nose and raccoon eyes. I was in no shape to draw.

Note: This is not my photo, but instead, a photo I got from the yelp photo album.

So when we finally got to ordering,
we decided to share their Chicken Strips and Garlic Bread.

This is the only picture that I could take before the chicken strips were gone. It’s another bad photo (I’m sorry! But when you’re hungry and the heat is ever present, you do some funny things). The chicken strips were so gone. The batter was homemade and the seasonings/spices were unique.

The garlic bread was made out of french bread that had a slightly crunchy crust and a soft middle. They toasted/grilled the top with olive oil and garlic so that it was it crusty as well. My rating: 3.75/5 I only give it this much because I’ve tired so many other different garlic breads. Nothing was wrong, but it wasn’t anything spectacular.

For my main meal, I settled on their large Spinach Salad. It came with fresh spinach, crumbled boiled eggs, bacon bits, white mushrooms, black olives, and rotisserie-styled chicken. (The chicken was an extra $2).

The before…

The After…er…Midway…

The Spinach Salad was good. I rate this a 4.5/5. I usually go to Pasta Pomodoro in the city when I can because I love their spinach salad. However, this salad beats it. I’m not a very big fan of sauces (especially since I found out how much calories they pack into sauces. Why waste precious calories of those when I can save room for dessert or something better? But anway,) Caffe Italia’s Spinach Salad had a light vinaigrette dressing, which I love. The spinach leaves were crisp, fresh, and slightly cold (to my delight)!

I also ended up ordering their Half-Size Spinach and Cheese Ravolli. Guess what I’m into lately?)

Came with about 6 raviolis for $6. Not too bad, I guess.

The Inside. As you can see, it was quite thin.

Another inside view. Kinda messy by now, but just as delicious.

And, well, it just didn’t last long. :)
My rating: 4/5. After my friend pointed it out, the actual ravioli was not that great tasting; it was their sauce. The sauce had so much flavor that I eagerly ate the entire thing.

Now for the dessert…

I was told by my friend that I couldn’t miss out on their signiature dessert. In fact, I think it’s their only dessert.

Introducing… THE CHOCOLATE LASAGNA SUPREME!
Featuring: Whipped Cream, Chocolate Shavings, Chocolate Syrup, Vanilla Ice Cream, Toasted Coconut Walnut Brownie-Cookie

A beauty, isn’t she?


Looking back now, I realized that we didn’t get our chocolate shavings, but believe me, there’s enough chocolate in this thing that you don’t even need it.

We’re all taking our “second-wind”. The advertisement on the table is what got us. :)

(By the way, that’s my friend’s boyfriend across the table, in case you were wondering who that was).

Yumm….

Oh, the delicious, mess. :D

The Chocolate Lasagna Supreme gets a 5/5 because of the taste, originality, and presentation. The toasted coconut on the brownie/cookie gave it a great taste and the walnuts complimented it wonderfully. The ice cream was not high quality. I could tell it was the French Vanilla Ice Cream from Safeway, but it was pretty good. It would have been better with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream. The whipped cream and chocolate sauce were just added bonuses. :)

The ending result for Caffe Italia? The price is reasonable, service is great, and the ambiance is quirky (in a good way!). Go there if you live near by or are ever in the area. I hear they have a superb breakfast menu (I saw it and there is quite a lot of variety) and the dinner is even better than the lunch. In fact, based on some reviews, the lunch is ‘disappointing’ compared to the dinner. The next time I visit my friend we are definitely going there for dinner because we were impressed with their ‘disappointing’ lunch.

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