Years ago, when we first moved to Davis, I was disappointed in the lack of good restaurants. This is a small town, but we have a major university here, so I always thought we should have a wider variety of places to eat. But, things have changed and now our town has Nepalese, Korean, Vietnamese, Japanese, Afghan, Czech, Greek, Mexican, Italian, and Austrian restaurants to choose from. And most of them are quite good. One of my favorite places to eat in Sacramento is a wonderful Spanish restaurant named Aioli, so I was extremely happy to see they recently opened a branch in Downtown Davis, at the site formerly occupied by Cafe California. Yesterday, Roxie and I went there to eat lunch and I was pleased to see that the Davis Aioli is just as good as the one in Sacramento.
The official name of the restaurant is Aioli Bodega Espanola. I prefer the atmosphere in the Davis restaurant to the Sacramento location. The decor here is elegant but cozy, with earth tones of deep orange, plum and olive, creating a calm and soothing dining experience. I particularly liked the way the tables are covered in burlap, with long pieces of brown paper on top.
The restaurant offers a wide variety of tapas. Not wanting to stuff ourself as we had in our visit to Mustards Grill, we started out by sharing a plate of judias blancas con atun fresco. This was white beans, tossed in a sherry vinaigrette with finely chopped black olives, diced red onion and two strips of seared, raw-in-the-middle tuna. It was a wonderful dish, tart and flavorful.
We both chose the same entree, a fabulous "sandwich" of roasted leg of lamb, eggplant puree, and tomato confit all rolled together in soft coca bread. The sandwich was accompanied by a mixture of very fresh salad greens with hot shoestring potatoes sprinkled on top. The menu said the sandwich came with fries, which disappointed me because it seemed very predictable. I was also leery of them because I love fries, but didn't want to deal with the calories in a big mound of them covering my plate. And I'm genetically incapable of practising restraignt with fries. Here, the amount of the shoestring fries was reasonable and tasted great on top of the cold lettuce.
The meal was a very nice way to spend my last lunch with Roxie, who flew back to Texas this morning. She leaves behind a very unhappy Upsie who adored her and all the attention she got from Auntie Roxie. Every night Upsie sat in Roxie's lap and basked in double the affection she usually gets. Roxie threatened to take Upsie back to Texas and turn her into a Baptist and a Republican. And Upsie said, "Hey, I'm a Unitarian and a Democrat, so I can see problems with that!"
And I will miss Roxie too. But, now I'm going to go on a 30 day water fast. Well, maybe not that long..............