A Bike Ride to Festa Italia

DSC03291Last Friday night, we were racking our brains for something to do that would incorporate a bike ride and dinner. For inspiration, I turned to Isthmus’ “critic’s choice” event listing, always included in the middle of the weekly newspaper. Of the Friday options, Festa Italia in Fitchburg stood out to me because a) I’d never been before, b) the event’s location was very close to one of our regular bike routes, and c) the advertised spaghetti dinner with meatballs.

So we took a leisurely ride out the Seminole bike path toward Paoli, and turned back toward Festa Italia just as soon as our stomachs started to grumble. Upon arriving, we locked up our bikes and Larry asked a few men in newsboy-style caps smoking stogies and holding court at the entrance (clearly the old guard of the Italian Workmen’s Club) where we could find the spaghetti dinner. They pointed toward the back of the park near the shelter and said, “Oh, you’ll see the line.”

Needless to say, we found the line for the spaghetti dinner. I think we stuck out a littleĀ  in our spandex bike kits—I noticed a few stares. But more than anything, I was focused on our progress in line. Eventually, we were rewarded with heaping styrofoam plates of spaghetti with marinara sauce, meatballs, and salad. All for $7. We plopped down in a patch of grass and began feasting. With the Italian Workmen’s Club involved, I had high expectations for the meal. The marinara sauce was especially flavorful, and despite its appearance, the iceberg lettuce salad was tasty. I also really enjoyed the meatballs. They were nearly the size of baseballs. And of course, we needed dessert afterward. It’s been way too long since I’ve had cannoli. I savored every bite of the crunchy, fried pastry dough exterior and the rich, smooth ricotta cheese punctuated by mini chocolate chips. Not too sweet, just right.

And with bellies full of Italian goodness, we got back on our bikes and rode home. DSC03289

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