Salute to the wonderful people at La Traviata for making my birthday dinner extra special.  I have been a bit overwhelmed as of late (thus the lack of posts) so my birthday planning this year gets a C-.  Fortunately, our lack of reservations did not stand in the way of us popping in to this Austin Italian gem.

There was a decent wait for a table but we were able to find a spot at the bar which, truth be told, is preferable when I am in a social mood. I love chatting with fellow patrons, with the bartender, and the casual feel of dining at the bar.   The menu has many classics, some with a twist, and it is not terribly expansive.  This, in my opinion, is a good sign.  Do a few things well. Oh, do they.

We started with the Beef Carpaccio.  It was the best I can remember having.  Arugula, pine nuts, shaved parmesan, and truffle oil.  The surprise?  Fried radicchio wedge.  Crazy, I know, but it was silly good.  The bitter crunch of the radicchio really put an amazing dish over the top.  Yum.  It paired wonderfully with an ’09 Valmorena Barbera d’Asti.  We also shared a salad with beets, orange segments, and goat cheese.  Tasty, straight forward, no surprises.  Then, we asked both Ryan, our gracious server, and Marion, the super charming owner, to recommend a pasta.  Both said the Carbonara was a must have.  It is something I would never let myself order normally, but it was, after all, my day to spoil myself.

Great presentation: a nest of spaghetti tossed with pancetta, onion, cream, lemon, and served with a locally farmed egg yolk on top.  So decadent. So delicious.  So glad we split it.  Marion shared that the dish is traditionally a hangover cure.  Um, pretty sure it could cure anything.

We finished the meal with a cantaloupe champagne granita and tiramisu.  Any plans to stay out were put to rest with the Carbonara, but I was not complaining.  We so enjoyed our time at La Traviata.  Thank you to Ryan and Marion for making it extra special!  Happy belly, Happy Mama, Happy Birthday.

Wine-  ’09 Valmorena Barbera d’Asti -Medium Bodied,Yummy, fruity, peppery delicious

Paired with Beef Carpaccio-A

Paired with Carbonara-B I might not have selected it to go together but it worked.  Or maybe I so focused on the pasta that I didn’t even taste the wine at that point.