food

Restaurant Review: Travinia Italian Kitchen and Wine Bar

Last weekend, I got together with a few friends for lunch. It’s been a few months since our last get-together, so I was ready for some time with the ‘gang’.

We decided on Travinia Italian Kitchen and Wine Bar, since they appeared to have a little something for everyone. The restaurant is conveniently located right off of Interstate 64 West in Henrico County, Virginia. I’m glad that this one is so close to my home because, while the chain has a few other locations, most of them are over one hour from my home.

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The restaurant describes itself as contemporary Italian food, and I’d have to agree. There wasn’t an abundance of traditional Italian dishes on the menu, but what I did notice was a focus on giving a fresh take on an otherwise simple dish. I ended up trying the zucchini frite (fried zucchini slices) and the shrimp messina with a side of Brussels sprouts.

Travinia’s Shrimp Messina

Both dishes were tasty albeit not strikingly unique. The flavors were good and, while the restaurant puts a new spin on traditional Italian cuisine, they don’t stray so far away from the standard seasonings and flavors that the food doesn’t fit the Italian flavor profile. I appreciate the adherence to tradition while still injecting creativity into the dishes. Good job, Travinia, for walking a thin line and doing it well!

I would return to the restaurant, though I’d probably choose to go in the evening as opposed to lunchtime. I’m curious about the wine list and I generally prefer pairing wine with dinner over pairing it with lunches. It’ll be nice to see how the after-five crowd differs from the lunch crew.

That’s all for my quick review of Travinia. I have to get back to my writing (NaNoWriMo calls!) so that’s it for today. Talk to you all tomorrow.

food · travel

Review: Al Forno Pizzeria

Have you ever had plans to be great – truly great – and life sat you down like, “Maybe next time you’ll be great, but today? Today you need to chill.” That’s precisely what happened to me when I planned to go out and enjoy some of the local eats in Philadelphia. I was too tired from my grueling morning commute and subsequent travel into the City of Brotherly Love.

So instead of going super-luxe, I did a low-key meal delivered to my hotel room. Unfortunately, the delivery options available for visitors staying near the Philadelphia International Airport are truly pathetic (unless you opt for Uber Eats, which was an absolute savior when I decided to use it). I was blown away by how few options were available for delivery to the airport area, especially since Philadelphia is such a large city. Anyway, I kept it simple and ordered Italian food.

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Funny, I don’t mention Italian food on this blog much, because I don’t eat much of it. I love authentic Italian food so most stateside Italian restaurants don’t pass muster.But I decided to take a chance on Al Forno Pizzeria, located in Darby, PA. I ordered the shrimp basket and the ravioli with lobster (I obviously ventured away from my vegetarian preferences), a couple of juices and a slice of strawberry cheesecake.

For starters, the food was good. Now, I wasn’t expecting blow-my-mind deliciousness, but I was pleasantly surprised at how well executed the lobster ravioli was. The dishes definitely didn’t disappoint, and I’m glad I tried this restaurant.

Fried shrimp with a big of ravioli sauce spilledon the outside (takeout isn’t always pretty)

The shrimp basket was your standard fried shrimp and French fries. Bonus points to the restaurant for providing a BIG container of cocktail sauce. The shrimp were tasty and reasonably priced considering the amount of food that I got ($8.50). I wish I could have gotten the fries fresh out of the fryer: even when lukewarm, they were really good. I can only imagine how outstanding they would have been if eaten while piping hot.

The biggest problem with takeout food? Presentation generally stinks LOL!

The lobster ravioli was savory, creamy and satisfying. The portion was huge and the fact that this entree came with a salad made it an excellent choice for the price ($11.95). I ate a bit of this on the first night and finished it the next day in lieu of a traditional breakfast.

The strawberry cheesecake was good: not unique but a solid dessert option. I would have gladly eaten two of them. The price was right for the size ($3). The juices were bottled (by EverMade) so there’s nothing to say about them, other than I enjoyed them like I always do.

My final impression of Al Forno’s Pizzeria is that it’s worth a try. The delivery was fast, the food was good, and the price was right. I was very pleased my meal and I would certainly try another meal from there when I return to the area.