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Restaurants near FoBo: Grandma’s House with a Trendy Twist

I am extremely out of the loop when it comes to politics. It is true that I’d rather add on a few extra hours of sleep than watch the State of the Union. And yes, I do go to the George Washington University!
            Although it is undoubtedly special to liv
e a few blocks away from Barack and Michelle, the primary reason behind my choice of attending G-Dub is its location: a city! During my junior year of high school, my mother, our Nissan Murano, and I journeyed great lengths throughout the east coast on a seemingly never-ending college hunt. Stop number eight: Carlisle, Pennsylvania, home to Dickinson College.  I had heard great things about Dickinson and could even picture myself lying in a courtyard, chatting with my new college companions, relishing in the beautiful PA breeze. That is until we were approaching campus and I heard a few “moooo”s coming from the side of the road: our welcome committee, a group of cows. I knew that unless cow tipping was my idea of a good time, I needed to find a place with more action! I asked my mom to please turn the car around.
            The beauty of GW is that we are constantly surrounded by things to do and, for a foody like myself, great places to eat! In cold times like these, however, a dilemma does exist for the group of friends searching for a vibrant venue with a delicious menu: the treacherous tundra! When ice is falling from the sky and winds are lifting skirts, it can be quite difficult to muster up the motivation to head over to the up and coming U Street or Adams Morgan for a good bite out. And although a great place to study, Foggy Bottom is definitely not the restaurant goers’ hotspot. So where to go that’s close and provides a tasty escape from our one and only J Street Café? My friends and I stumbled on one option last Thursday night: Casa Nonna!
            Casa Nonna has taken the food out of your Italian grandmother’s rustic kitchen and merged it with a hip, lively atmosphere in the spacious what-used-to-be CPK (California Pizza Kitchen.) Upon entering through a revolving door, you will spot a hopping bar to your left, stocked with charming bartenders, and straight ahead of you an elegant wrap around marble countertop (one of many seating options), enclosing the chef’s open workspace and mosaic wood burning pizza oven.  Shortly after being seated in one of the dining rooms, separated, but not hidden, by bright shelves of green bottles of Lurisia water and red boxes of Amaretto cookies, you can expect a basket of warm garlic bread smothered in parseley-and-shallot butter! Post garlic-bread consumption do not be shocked when your eyes graze over the menu only to find that pasta and main course dishes average a whopping $32: this is supposed to be a fam-style dining experience!
            What’s good on the menu? It seems as though everything! Because of the restaurant’s emphasis on fresh ingredients, it is unlikely that any dish will leave you with that heavy feeling. To start, my girlfriends and I went for the Caprese salad, an amazingly refreshing blend of Buffalo Mozzarella, citrus beet tomato salad, and pesto vinaigrette. Next, we ordered the Spaghetti Pomodoro, a simple, yet heartwarming spaghetti with cherry tomato sauce and basil, a Neapolitan style Margherita Pizza, and the homemade Ravioli di Ricotta, also in a light tomato-basil sauce. Our dessert: a chocolate-hazelnut semifreddo with chocolate-hazelnut mousse, vanilla ice cream, and caramel sauce. We left nothing for the dishwasher!
            If you and your friends are in hearty Italian fare craving-mode, head over tCasa Nonna. It will not disappoint!
            Casa Nonna- 1250 Connecticut Ave, NW (Dupont Circle Area)
            Reservations- 202.629.2505, or Opentable.com 

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