Vigilucci's Cucina Italiana - Carlsbad
I drive down to San Diego more than I drive up to L.A., namely for the Zoo and the Wild Animal Park. And I've eaten at just as many restaurants there as in the City of Angels. Yet I think I've only written about less than a handful of them. I'm even less chatty about Italian restaurants.
So here's to killing two birds with one stone: A San Diego County Italian restaurant.
Vigilucci's is part of a local chain, which grew out of the success of a single restaurant about decade ago. There are now seven other Vigilucci spin offs in the county, each one different than the next.
So why did I choose this one? Well, that's simple. I had a restaurant gift card and this was the closest to the Carlsbad Premium Outlets off of Palomar Airport Rd., which is the other reason I visit San Diego County if I'm not there to watch captive animals.
But in finding the place in downtown Carlsbad, I discovered that this beach-side burg has more than the outlet mall. Steps from the restaurant, there was a store actually called "Guy Stuff" that sold mostly antique weapons like swords and muskets. A few doors down, there was an all Irish store that sold mostly, well, Irish stuff.
Back to the restaurant. The place was nearly deserted save for a few people dining outside sipping ice teas with lemon and mimosas in fluted glasses. And halfway through our meal, a couple sat down, got served water and a few minutes later, they left without ordering. Weird, because the food was excellent.
Another quirk? Our waiter had a charming habit of ending each sentence with the word "beautiful", which he pronounced ""byoo-di-fool". It was his own brand of punctuation.
"We'll have the calamari to start."
"May we have some more water please?"
"Of course! There you go! Beautiful!"
Upon seeing our pasta plate was practically licked clean, "Ah you enjoyed! Beautiful!"
And we did enjoy the food. The warm sliced loaf that starts the meal had a crusty but tender exterior with a fluffy moist crumb almost as white as Wonder Bread. The fried calamari was, well, fried calamari ($11.50). It was a touch greasy, but included were fried rock shrimp covered in the same batter as its platemates, some of them caught up like prey in the cephalopod's tentacles' death grip.
We requested to add sausage ($2.75) to our capellini alla checca ($10.50) and it came from an actual tube of meat, cut up into healthy sections with the natural casing attached, and browned on the skillet before it was introduced to the pasta. The noodles were exceptionally silken and slurp-able, every strand glazed by the juices from the chunks of fresh tomato, flecked by basil, and amped up by cloves of garlic sauce you can actually see.
But what of the manicotti ($11.00) you spy in the picture? I've no idea...yet. After sharing and destroying the capellini, we were stuffed and had to leave the manicotti untouched. It waits in the fridge as tonight's dinner.
Not having to cook? Beautiful!
2943 State Street
Carlsbad, CA 92008-2337
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