July 28, 2011
Botto's Italian Line Restaurant
1411 Kings Highway, Swedesboro, NJ 08085
Everyone knows, when someone in an Irish family passes away, they have a wake, and before, during and after the funeral, there are always drinks flowing. Well, the same goes for Italians, except we don't call it a wake, and we exchange the libations, for food -- which I, personally, have no qualms with!
My beloved Nonna (grandmother, in Italian), passed away earlier this month, and besides me having a few regrets about not being able to ask her every single detail I wanted to know about food, I'm content knowing she's looking down on me while I'm in the kitchen!
After the hearse got a flat tire on the way to the cemetery, after having to watch the casket be carried across a busy road in the middle of the day and put in a van, and after the water-gun fight we had with the casket right before saying our final goodbyes (all things that lightened the mood on this sad day), we ended up at Botto's Italian Line Kitchen. The Botto's have been friends of the family since I can even remember, and watching their family business grow to what it has become in recent years, has been inspiring, especially for someone who wants to own their own restaurant.
Anyway, let's get to the good stuff! When we arrived, we were escorted into their Banquet Room, a room in which they use for additional dining room seating, as well as special events. When everyone settled in, crisp house salads were passed around to each place setting. The salad, complete with Botto's house vinaigrette, was a fresh start to what was about to be a delicious meal. About 15 minutes later, our salad plates were cleared, and we were able to start the buffet line.
When I got up to the line, I was excited to see Sausage and Peppers. You see, Botto's is known nationwide for their delicious homemade Italian sausage. If you are reading this, and you own a restaurant, manage a supermarket, or use sausage in any type of food industry - get it from Botto's! So, as I was saying... the buffet line. It was filled with all my favorite Botto's items. My sister's favorite, the Penne alla Vodka, was top-notch, as usual. It was complete with sun-dried tomatoes, basil, parmesan cheese, and a touch of cream and vodka. The Chicken Marsala, which is my favorite, also had sun-dried tomatoes, and fresh mushrooms, finished with a delicious marsala wine sauce. My favorite part of any wine sauce is-- you guessed it-- the wine. I'm not fond of sauces where all the acidic wine flavors have been cooked out too fast. The sauce has to be the perfect consistency, too. I don't want to feel as though I'm eating stew with my chicken, but I also don't want the sauce to be too thin, making it too difficult to "sop up" with anything remaining on my plate! Botto's chefs have got it down, though. Great consistency, great flavor, and an all around great dish. Among the buffet was also roasted potatoes and fresh vegetables, which were both cooked to perfection, with just the right amount of garlic, herbs, and olive oil.
After lunch was over, we packed up the remainder of the food we didn't finish, and we made our way home to relax on the couch. After we put away all the food, my sister, my friend Kerry, my mom, and I, all laid down and took much needed naps.
Around 7 o'clock that evening, my sister, Kerry, and I made our way to the refrigerator, and began round two with Botto's. My mom and dad came into the kitchen and laughed at us for continuing to eat, but they jumped on the bandwagon and made themselves a plate as well. Let me say, just as delicious as lunch that day!