A spaghetti noodle, much like a swimming-pool noodle, maintains its shape until it's exposed to boiling water or sat on by children. Savor pasta's forced flexibility with today's Groupon: for $10, you get $20 worth of Italian lunch cuisine at Piccola Roma Restaurant and its outdoor companion, the Piccola Roma Portico at the State House Inn, both located in Annapolis.
The Zagat-rated Piccola Roma Restaurant decorates white tablecloths with artfully arranged fresh Italian dishes. In Piccola's lunch menu, fresh crabmeat huddles within a cozy mountain of spaghetti and tomatoes ($14), hiding from the basil-laced tentacles of grilled calamari ($9). As grilled chicken breast and goat cheese snuggle on a bed of warm, wild greens doused in homemade dijon vinaigrette ($10), wine auctioneers proffer rare vintage labels and rookie corks from Piccola's extensive wine list.
Whereas Piccola Roma Restaurant's windows look out on the red bricks of Main Street, the nearby companion restaurant, Piccola Roma Portico, adapts its menu for an outdoor veranda overlooking the historic Maryland State House. Bits of salmon swim in zigzags through tides of penne and vodka cream sauce ($14), and toasted focaccia bread topped with sautéed artichokes and melted mozzarella whet the appetite for other sophisticated flavors ($7). Wash down bites with Portico's specialty margarita, a blend of lime, Patrón Citrónge, and Cuervo Gold, great for quenching thirsts and fueling spontaneous handstand competitions ($10).