Showing posts with label firenze osteria. Show all posts
Showing posts with label firenze osteria. Show all posts

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Italian Wines and Lunch at Firenze Osteria with Fabio Viviani

Escolar with Puttanesca Sauce
I confess, I actually don't really watch much TV, including Iron Chef, Top Chef and all that, but I do hear about the contestants and winners. Most Angelenos probably know of Fabio Viviani, a Top Chef contestant and now cookbook author and celebrity chef, who then opened up Firenze Osteria in Toluca Lake and Cafe Firenze in Moorpark. I went for the first time for a hosted wine paired lunch with Santa Margherita wines. Fabio was there to prepare our lunch and talk to us, and with his travel schedule, this was a chance hard to pass up.

The reviews seemed mixed. LA Times' SIV went in 2009 and didn't like it, but my friend Weezer Monkey went recently and loved it. My Last Bite also says it's one of her favorites in the area. It turns out based on this lunch I'm loving it too. Now, I can't tell you if S Virbila's dislike of this place came from the fact that she went when they had just opened, or because Fabio is actually here taking care of our meals, or because I rarely agree with her in the first place. All I can tell you is that we had a great lunch and that this is what this restaurant can be.
Fabio Viviani at his restaurant.
Now, a bit of background on how this lunch came to be. Antonio Terlato, founder of Terlato Wines, was the first one to introduce Pinot Grigio to the US. Fabio Viviani's partnership with Terlato (and thus Santa Margherita) began when he won a trip to Napa in one of the Top Chef challenges. He did a tasting with Terlato and they fell in love with him. He says he grew up drinking Chianti and enjoy cooking with them.

The main dining room.
Unexpectedly, this was to be a seven course lunch! And Fabio warned us that the portions will not be small, either. He's Italian, he exclaims. He also says in an Italian home, if a guest doesn't finish his/her food, s/he won't be invited back. Uh oh.

Bracing for the courses ahead, we started with some Crostino di Pancetta (toasted bread, burrata, grilled pancetta, crispy sage, brown butter)

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