Friday, January 18, 2013

garlic-y winters

Erik and I went on a date night for our 1.5 year anniversary (are they anniversaries if they're not annual?). This past November.

So I'm not good at blogging on time whatsoever. I still reallyreallyreally wanted to share these photos because it was a really great night with some amazing food! 

Our 1.5 is actually at the end of October, but I believe we went in early November, most likely because of Halloween and other busyness. I had Erik choose the place because I always feel like I'm choosing where go to. He chose a tapas restaurant called Ficelle based on the Yelp reviews. We had been wanting to go on a date night in Winters, a small sleepy town about 20 minutes from Davis, ever since one of my TAs suggested it in class. 

 Excited about our date night!!

My outfit. I was planning on dressing up more but it was rainy and dreary. I figured I'd rather be warm than pretty.

It was extremely rainy and dark that night, which was a little scary since the way to Winters is using these old country roads surrounded by farms and lots of nothingness--pitch black. Luckily Ficelle is located on the east-most side of Winters, so it was soon after we got to Winters in their little downtown area. 

Ficelle is a tiny, tiny place, first of all. We arrived at 7 pm and it was jam packed with people. I think normally the space is widened by the restaurant's plentiful outdoor seating. However, since it was raining and the outdoor area has no ceiling, everyone was huddled inside this bustling, little area. It was a little awkward having to stand around for 20 minutes while bus boys, ladies with their wine, and the owner ran back and forth. Luckily, they have an extensive menu, being a tapas place, so we decided what dishes we should order during our wait.

One of the things I really loved about this place is that it is very casual and the workers are extremely friendly, in a very cozy small business style. You order your food and then snag the table as fast as you can right after the people sitting there leave, since there is no real wait list or waiters save the lady who hints that you might be next. It is truly different from any restaurant I've been to, but I liked the informal nature of it all.

Also, the food is so so sooooo good. And not that expensive, not even a little bit. Erik and I have tried a few local expensive restaurants using Groupon to afford them, and this restaurant far surpassed all of them save maybe Magpie in Sacramento (where we went for our 1 year!).

Bread and garlic aioli

This comes free for every table, and there are endless bread and aioli refills. The aioli is unfortunately hidden in the picture above, but it is hands down the signature item of the restaurant. All the Yelp reviews mentioned the aioli, and I understood why as soon as I tried it. It is a garlic explosion. It's almost like biting into a clove. It's intense and flavorful and so great with their bread. Maybe not for you if you don't like garlic or spiciness, but I like both so I loved it. It looked like everyone else did too.

These dishes were shared between us to celebrate the tapas fashion. I loved tasting a little of everything and wish I could have tried everything on the menu! There were so many choices that looked yummy.

Bruschetta with tomato, herbs, and cheese and a mixed salad

Bean and cheese empanada with dipping sauce

Creamy polenta with cherry tomatoes and asparagus

Sangria (sorry, forgot to take a picture until it was all gone!)

The sangria was the other thing all the Yelpers mentioned, and it really is something else. It had oranges and apples, was refreshing, and was sweet without being too sweet. Every table there had ordered the sangria. 

The restaurant ended up being a success! We were both was pleasantly surprised. And the best part is that it was 25 dollars to completely fill both of us and have a drink, which is not a bad price for such fantastic food. After we had eaten we walked around downtown and even ran into a park ranger I used to work with who lives in Winters. However, it started to drizzle so we hurried home and watched episodes of Parks and Recreation on Netflix. It was a pleasant and low-key date night, and I loved it!

What restaurant have you been to recently that has exceeded your expectations?

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