Everytime I come around the corner of 18th and Columbia and see that line outside Pasta Mia I chuckle to my misanthropic self and mutter, "morons." I'm not knocking Pasta Mia, but I can't justify lining up an hour before a restaurant opens just so I can get a bowl of noodles and sauce. Well, maybe I could, if there weren't an excellent Italian restaurant a few blocks away on 18th and Kalorama named San Marco. It's hard to pick a favorite dish there, but I can tell you my top three are the linguine alle vongole, the gnocchi al pesto, and the fettucine con crema e funghi. After a long day at work, on a warm summer night, there's no excuse not to get the mozzarella pomodoro basilico, which consists of generous slices of fresh mozzarella and fresh tomatoes topped with sprigs of basil and drizzled in olive oil.
I've tried to duplicate the pesto at home a few times, but I can't get it right. Unfortunately, store-bought basil is too expensive for much experimentation and I'm waiting for my new plants to mature.