restaurant: al di la, charleston, sc

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Ricotta and mascarpone gnocchi, shrimp, grape tomatoes & basil at Al Di La in Charleston

Every morning for the past few weeks Ge Ge has started his morning with the same plaintive whine: “I miss Charleston, Mama.”

“I miss it too, Peanut. What do you miss the most?”


Audible sigh. “Everything.”

Usually I try to make him break it down a little bit more. His unfortunate lot in life is that he’s inherited my flair for the dramatic and my tendency to emote everything (hence, why I eat. Because I just feel so much.)

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Wood-fired pizette with an egg on top – yes, please

At first blush, Ge Ge’s list of grievances as to why Falls Church does not hold a candle to Charleston has largely to do with the people in his life and his old routine. He misses his grandparents (understandably). He misses his friends and his old preschool (also understandable). But then things tend to get a little hazy after that. He starts listing very specific memories, like “the way the old house smelled,” “the honey butter on the cornbread at Glass Onion” and “trout with ginger and scallions.”  Sometimes I wonder if I’m raising a 4 year-old or an elderly man who lost touch with his one true love back in the war. Oh, and the elderly man is hungry, to boot.

By nightfall, Ge Ge usually forgets about his homesickness, mainly because he’s spent hours outside running around with his new neighbor friends.  On several occasions his standard greeting to them is “I LOVE FALLS CHURCH!!!” as he races down our driveway to catch up with them. By the next morning, however, it’s like we’ve rolled over and hit the snooze button on Sonny and Cher, except that our Groundhog Day is having to hear him list the reasons why he misses Charleston all over again. This is what happens when you move with sensitive kids, apparently.

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Tagliatelle with duck confit, cremini mushrooms and truffle oil

One of the places Ge Ge has mentioned in his laundry list is a place we used to enjoy dining called Al Di La, a little neighborhood Italian restaurant not far from our home. On sunny days, the slightly shaded patio was the perfect place to keep the kids entertained and for us to feel like we were having a “date night” with them. Their pastas and pizette kept everyone happy, and their wine specials (particularly the nights when wine would be half-price) made this mom and dad very happy.

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See? Proof.

(Please excuse Mei Mei’s hair. This was her Nick Nolte phase.)

Al Di La | 25 Magnolia Road | Charleston, SC

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About me

I’m Ann, a mom / wife / lawyer / certified culinary enthusiast. I share recipes, travel guides and home life tips while living overseas. Currently based in São Paulo, Brazil.

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