Tuesday, October 6, 2009

South Coast Plaza Food Extravaganza III: Pinot Provence & Pasta Demo at Pizzeria Ortica

After a night of food-ing around the South Coast Plaza mall, we spent Saturday morning and afternoon exploring the other side of SCP across the street.
We spent the night in a hotel room, courtesy of Westin South Coast Plaza, so breakfast was a simple trip down the elevator to Pinot Provence, a Patina Group restaurant, headed by Chef Lulu deRouen.

Pinot Provence is a lovely restaurant with this rustic old-world charm to it. I felt like I was at a French countryside mansion.
Us bloggers were then escorted into their private dining room area, where a white tablecloth setting was already prepared for us.
A continental breakfast was spread out for us to start our morning, including toasted bagels, lox and cream cheese, yogurt and granola, fruits, muffins, and croissants.
I served myself a plate of croissant and some lox, yogurt, granola, and fruits.

The warm croissant was nicely buttery and flakey. It's been a while since I had a good croissant. Since we only had continental breakfast, I can't say much else about the food at Pinot Provence. We did, however, have a nice and long conversation with the chef, Lulu deRouen, a pupil of Florent Marneau from Marche Moderne.

She's a very animated and outgoing person and we had a lot of fun listening to her stories about her time at the Culinary Olympics (in Germany, was it?), her take on the ethnic restaurants around Costa Mesa, and more. Having gotten to know her, it sure would be fun to try her cuisine next time.

Pinot Provence
686 Anton Blvd
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
(714) 444-5900

With food and coffee in our system, we were ready to learn about pasta from Pizzeria Ortica's executive chef Steve Samson and his sous chef Zack.
Among some of the things we learned about dough making and kneading: 1)you need more yolk when using US eggs because they're just not as good as the ones in Italy, 2) after kneading the dough you should let it sit for 20-30 minutes, and 3) if you're making spinach pasta, you can use more whole eggs instead of yolk and you can get by with less eggs in general!

And here's a step-by-step-in-photos on how to make ravioli:
We learned to make all kinds of pasta shapes including ravioli, garganelli, tortillo, agnolotti, pappardelle, tagliatelle, tortellini, etc. Can you tell which one is which?
Apparently our visit did not end there and soon we had a tasting of their pastas in front of us. Small bites, though, luckily :)

First up was the Pear & Pecorino tortilla with butter & sage.
This recipe was one of Zack's creation and was the favorite of every one else on my table. It's lightly sweet and buttery. The light sweetness is actually rather weird for me. It did grow on me, but unlike everyone else, my favorite turned out to be the Spinach Tagliatelle with Bolognese.
A simple classic that's well executed. The al dente pasta had a nice depth of flavor from the spinach and the bolognese is light and not overwhelming - a perfect complement.

The other pasta we had was the burrata ravioli with tomato & basil sauce.
A good ravioli, though compared to the other two pasta this one did not stand out.

We also had a margherita pizza.
The crust here is quite nice although very thin. The thinness reminded me of the pizza that Riva used to have - it makes it hard to hold up the pizza and eat it with your hands though, which I thought was part of the pizza-eating experience. Still, good chewy crust with good sauce and cheese here.

As we were leaving, we got a goodie bag containing a Pizzeria Ortica t-shirt, a small bottle of wine, and a bag of long white beans.

Pizzeria Ortica
650 Anton Blvd
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
(714) 445-4900
Pizzeria Ortica on Urbanspoon


Ravenous Couple

a hotel stay too??? wow! what a grand time!


I love the ravioli pics!

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