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By Steven Li on 2007-01-23

January 23, 2007

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Today, I took myself out to lunch at Aruffo’s in the Claremont Village. I had such a painful and demanding craving for pasta, bread, and cheese since late last night. Why? How did this craving come about? Well, like most of my cravings, it is completely self inflicted. The menu from Onjin’s in Hawaii is posted on my dorm wall which is a very bad idea because I like to read it over and over again and it makes me terribly hungry. Last night I was even reading the menu to my mom over the phone, spewing words of Crispy Calamari and Linguine with Wild Mushrooms, Soy Braised Oxtail. It was no good for my mental state. Even my roommate got mad at me for making her hungry!

So I went to bed, but I did not sleep well. My stomach cried for hearty, cold weather food. A breakfast of Cheerios and yogurt was lame and I could not focus in Accounting Theory. So to cure myself, I did what all normal people do and went a restaurant.

I frequent the Claremont Village often, but usually for baked goods, ice cream, sandwiches, Starbucks and lunch to go. There are but a few “fancy” places in the area, Aruffo’s being one of them. I was the first guest of the day at right past 11am and had cozy seat in the corner of the restaurant facing the street. Today, I said to myself, I’m going to eat everything I want. Which meant starting off an appetizer of Fonduta de Formaggio ($11.95).

What arrived was a massive plate with a attractive arrangement of bread, hot and steamy with just a thin crust dusted in garlic, paprika and parmesan. In the center, a warm pot of fontina based fondue, rich velvety and begging to be dipped. I think I could have just eaten this as an entree given the size and seemingly endless and generous cuts of bread. I went on and on, man it was good, till I reached the bottom of the pot. I felt warm inside already.

Soup or salad comes with every entree. Soup of the day was a Potato Cream, but given all the cream I just had in the fondue, I opted for the salad. A wide range of greens came completed with croutons, shredded parmesan, tomatoes and pasta. The house raspberry vinaigrette was far too sweet for my tastes, overtaking all the simple and fresh elements of the salad. Aside from that, it was fairly composed dish, and as with all simple dishes, ingredient quality plays key.

So you can probably guess that after a indulgently delicious fondue and well made salad, I was expecting quite a lot from the entree. Still happily basking in the delight of the Risotto Bolognese from Cafe Sistina back home, I ordered the Bolognese over
Boccolotti pasta ($9.95). I was full by this point but still eager to try the pasta. Unfortunately, it was a slighty let down and I only ate a third. If I was presented this dish at another, perhaps more casual restaurant, it would have been fine, but given how they teased me with excellent bread and a perfectly smooth fondue, I was hoping for a bit more. The sauce wasn’t truly meaty, what you would call hearty, but was almost like a thick tomato sauce with bits of beef. The pasta was fine, but in appearance, the dish was lacking overall. On the other hand, how much can you ask for, this dish was only $9.95, and it included a salad that was suitable in size for an entree.

My goal is to visit all the restaurant in the Claremont Village before I graduate. It’s just my way of summing up the college experience – visit all restaurants within walking distance :) I’ll be back again and when I come, I’ll try another dish I was eying, pumpkin ravioli in marscapone.

Man, I shoulda just ordered that today!

Aruffos Italian Cuisine
126 Yale Ave Ste 1508
Claremont, CA 91711
(909) 624-9624



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