Charisma + Nicole P. = Impassioned Italian

Meet Nicole P. yet again. A sophisticated dear possessing the finest qualities of any woman, she makes faces with her food...often...always..

Every week this year on my other blog, Project See Life, I’ve set a goal and have attempted to achieve it in some way.  A couple weeks ago, it was to do something artistically minded, so Nicole and I hit up the San Diego Museum of Art for a lecture on how Salome is represented in visual art and the opera (awesome, by the way).  After, we headed out for some eats, and we ended up at Charisma, an Italian place on University I had heard about but had yet to try.  Note: yes, this is a departure from super healthy eating, but I had an awesome workout that day, so I didn’t feel too bad about it, and you know, it wasn’t the worst food ever.

Charisma is a small hole in the wall, but it’s modern and chic…and dimly-lit for the most romantic of dates (on which I seem to go with my girlfriends often…).  Actually, one couple was having themselves an uncomfortably (for me, as they were in my direct line of vision) romantic time while there.  Charisma is family-owned and operated, as in someone from the Miranda family will greet you, serve you, entertain you, allow you to take a picture of him when he mistakes you asking him to take a picture of you and your friend for asking to take a picture of him (pose and all)…  In all seriousness, charming and excellent service.

So let’s start with the starter – bread, of course, which should be brought out at any Italian restaurant!  This was not ordinary bread and balsamic, though.  This bread was served with lentils drenched in garlic infused olive oil.  Maybe because I wasn’t expecting it or maybe because it was just really good, but holy delightful.

Nicole and I shared an arugola salad, which was composed of wild arugola, strawberries, goat cheese, pine nuts, and truffle oil.  Yes, fancy.  It was a great way to start the meal – fresh and light.  I only wished for more strawberries.

Moving on, for the entrees there are only a few vegetarian options, but the ones they have all look great.  I went with a fusilli pasta with a tomato-based sauce.  It was absolutely divine with a slightly smokey flavor, as Nicole put it.  I know why this place has been well reviewed.  The food is delicious.  My pasta was perfectly cooked and evenly coated with plenty of sauce.  Is there anything worse than getting lightly sauced pasta?  I’ve already ruined the diet with my heaping plate of fusilli –

I know, the color is off here. Curse you sexy dim lights!

give me some sauce!  With some fresh parmesan and black pepper, I went ahead and enjoyed the whole plate.  The portion is substantial, but you will not feel sick after you eat.  Comfort food to the max, but there’s something kind of luscious and sophisticated about it as well.

For your meat-eating friends, Nicole said her food was quite good as well.  Cost-wise, it’s middle of the road.  I drank water, and my food, with tip was $19.75 – really, not bad at all.

They always say you can taste the difference in food cooked with love, which I will agree with, but I will neither confirm nor deny if the romantic mood transferred from the dining area to the kitchen, which one has to walk through to get to bathroom and where there may or may not have been some smooth Boyz II Men playing.

Charisma is located in Hillcrest at 142 West University.

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3 Responses to Charisma + Nicole P. = Impassioned Italian

  1. William says:

    While Greek and Thai are my two favorite cuisines, a nicely made Italian meal is equal to them in my opinion 🙂 That bread appetizer is a new one to me and sounds delicious!

    • bar says:

      Mmmmmm…I love Italian.

      I have yet to find a really good Greek place here. There’s seriously a place down the street, like 30 seconds away, and in the 18 years I’ve lived here, I’ve never tried it. I’m going this week. Decided.

  2. William says:

    Oh, good luck with that! I have found lots of mediocre Greek restaurants, finding a good one can be a challenge 🙂

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