The flavors of summer are in full swing at Piatti!
Andy and I dined there just last night, so in this blog post I wanted to give you a quick peek at some of the items on the menu for the season.
It’s always a great evening on the patio at Piatti with my favorite person by my side and a starter glass of Prosecco.
The beef carpaccio is something we ALWAYS order. Every. Single. Time. We love it’s transformation in summer from a more traditional carpaccio with capers and dressing to a lighter style with blistered tomatoes and green olives. You’ll spot it on the appetizer menu, but next time I might order two of them for my actual dinner!
It happened to be Wine Wednesday, and at Piatti they celebrate by giving customers 50% OFF selected bottles of wine. (They’ll give you a menu with their selected bottles on it.) We chose the Winemaker’s Blend (a red mix of Syrah, Zinfandel, Petite Sirah and Merlot from 3 different California AVAs) made by Schmitz 24 Brix Wines.
For my main course, I chose a duo of plates. First was the ultra-stunning heirloom tomato salad that was so in-my-face-farm-to-fork it almost gouged my eyes! 😉 Definitely one of the prettiest plates I have seen in a while, and it tasted just as phenomenal as it looks. I know you might be thinking, “Get a grip, it’s just an heirloom tomato salad,” but the special touches are that tomatoes and basil are REALLY in season right now and the mozzarella is made in house, cranking up the volume on flavor.
My other plate was this trio of pork and ricotta meatballs (on the appetizer section of the menu). Reappearing in this dish was the lovely house-made mozzarella and a crushed tomato sauce. I guess I must really like tomatoes. The sauce was very flavorful and the mozzarella cheese finds a way to steal the show again, this time melted over the meatballs.
Andy ordered the grilled rib eye (rare!) with romano beans and whipped potatoes, topped with blue cheese, mint and roasted figs. He was kind enough to pass over a few bites of his dish, and I was most delighted by the creative mint and blue cheese combination and the sweet touch of the roasted figs. If you didn’t think Piatti was the place to try a steak, think again. This dish was a knockout and the plating was almost as sexy as my date. 😉
Thanks to our server, Alden, Chef Lance, and to Piatti for such an enjoyable meal.
You can find Piatti on Facebook here and follow them on twitter here.
It was a very hectic weekend over at cavegrrl.com headquarters, so I apologize for no gift idea yesterday. I will make up for this with two blog posts today and two gift ideas (day eight and day nine of my 12 Days of Christmas Picks for the Food and Wine Lover).
I’ll begin with Day eight’s idea: eGiftcards from Piatti Ristorante and Bar. The best thing about this gift idea is that you don’t even have to get in your car to buy one. You can complete your transaction entirely online and the eGiftcard is delivered immediately into the recipient’s email inbox. You can personalize it and choose your own design like this:
The eGiftcard is the easiest and most convenient way to treat friends and family with the gift of dining at all Piatti locations:
Northern California: Mill Valley, Danville, Sacramento, & Santa Clara
Southern California: La Jolla
Texas: San Antonio: The Quarry
You can purchase a Piatti eGiftcard here.
Farm to Fork Wine Dinner Series: Piatti Presents Matchbook Wines, Spectacular from Beginning to End!
If you missed Piatti’s last wine dinner for the year featuring Matchbook Wines, I feel really bad for you! It was even more than I thought it would be––even though I knew it would be amazing. Piatti is one of my long time advertisers, and I have always been a fan of their food, but I never knew it could be pulled off like this. This dinner was probably one of the best meals I have eaten there. I think it’s mostly due to Chef Lance Carlini who combines his take on Italian cuisine with Farm to Fork/seasonal and brings it to a whole new level.
And then there were my wonderful table mates. So, at the Piatti wine dinners, patrons are sat 6 to a table, so you prepare to make new fellow loving wine friends–at least for the night! I was lucky enough to sit with Sharon, Tamara, Eduardo, and James and be a fifth wheel. 🙂
We were sat fountain side with illuminated trees surrounding us. We had been welcomed with an opening glass of Matchbook’s Rosé of Tempranillo as John and Lane Giguiere (owners of the winery) were making the rounds and introducing themselves to each table.
Then it was onto the opening dish: A wood fired spot prawn with Grass Valley polenta and a hatch chili chimichurri. It was paired with the wine we were already enjoying: Matchbook’s 2013 Rose of Tempranillo, Dunnigan Hills.
As you can see. the plating was flawless on this dish. My favorite element was the chimichurri (a green sauce made of chopped parsley, minced garlic, olive oil, oregano, and white or red wine vinegar) which I love on anything from seafood to chicken to beef or pork.
The second course presented to us was a Riverdog Farm Potato Gnocchi served with fall squash, Apple Hill apples, lacinato kale and cream. It was served with the 2012 ‘Arsonist’ Chardonnay, Dunnigan Hills. The upfront nose on the wine revealed aromas of toasty oak, caramel apple and crème brûlée. It was an automatic match with the plump buttery gnocchi and apples in the cream sauce. Gnocchi is the only pasta I even missed post-Paleo, so this was like eating dessert for me! Also, lots of wonderful comments from my table mates––they also loved the squash and apples in the dish. It was the essence of fall! Great pairing, Chef Carlini! 🙂
Then it was time to get serious. The third course presented to us was a Tinto Rey Red Braised Short Rib with Thyme Toasted Mushrooms and fresh Horseradish paired with the 2009 Tinto Rey Red Blend, California. The Tinto Rey is a red wine blend of Tempranillo, Syrah, Graciano, Tannat and Cabernet.
So, if you didn’t gather from the course description, the short rib was actually braised in the wine with which it was paired. We didn’t even really need a knife on this one, just a fork to pull apart the meat. Again, the plating was gorgeous and the pairing was genius.
Dessert came soon after that: A Milk Chocolate Mousse with Chocolate Cake, Sea Salt Caramel and Hazelnut––topped with Pomegranate arils. It was paired with the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, Lake County. I boxed up the dessert to take home to Andy, but took full advantage of the Cabernet. 🙂 The Matchbook Cabernet Sauvignon has vibrant ripe red fruit characteristics followed by layers of spice and earth and chocolate and that’s enough dessert for me!
I was completely wowed by this wine dinner and I was seated with the best company! Thanks to the marketing and management at Piatti for the great partnership we have had over the years. And thank you, Chef Lance Carlini! Amazing job. 🙂
As of October 25 this year, Matchbook now has a tasting room located in Zamora here. GO VISIT THEM! 🙂
I am very excited to share this event with you put on by my long time advertiser, Piatti Sacramento.
I’ll be attending the dinner and writing about it afterwards. I am really looking forward to the pairing of some of my very favorite wines with food by one of Sacramento’s best chefs, Lance Carlini! If you want to attend, call 916-649-8885. Hurry, space is limited and will sell out!
Hello, Sweethearts! I have compiled a few Valentine-themed events & gift ideas that l find lovely and delightful, and I would like to pass them on to you!
Casque Wines and Cupid have teamed up to create the perfect gift for your special someone. They teamed up with Chef Joe at the Flower Farm Cafe who is busy baking and decorating these delicious (and beautiful) Cake-Pops. They paired them with some of our favorite wines and added a couple of stemmed glasses for the perfect gift!This Friday, Saturday and Sunday (February 8-10), they will be offering the following special: 2 Cake-Pops, 2 Stemmed Casque Glasses, and Bottle of your Choice ~ Sauvignon Blanc, Calotte Blanc or Vermentino for only $28. The Cake-Pops will also be available individually for $1.50 each. Stop by this weekend for some Cake-Pops and Casque!
With the perfect mix of scrumptious, decadent flavor, SMIRNOFF Kissed Caramel Flavored Vodka possesses a seductive aroma to complement its smooth caramel flavor while its counterpart, SMIRNOFF Iced Cake Flavored Vodka, offers a light, sweet aroma met with a refreshing, smooth iced cake flavor.These luscious and tastefully satisfying new flavors from the world’s #1 premium vodka are sure to add a nice touch of sweet romance to anyone’s Valentine’s Day.
CUPID’S KISS: ½ oz. Smirnoff Iced Cake, ½ oz. Godiva White Chocolate Liqueur, ½ oz. Chambord. Directions: Add ingredient in a shaker with ice, shake and pour into martini
glass. Add white chocolate to rim.
He loves me, he loves me not…It’s complicated. If your relationship is dark, yet spicy and complex with many layers, then Sobon Zinfandel Fiddletown is the wine for you! If you thought your relationship was complicated, this full-bodied red will have your palette changing its relationship status.
A stunning multi-faceted wine featuring intriguing aromas and flavors of spice, black currant, plum, smoky oak and a dusty-cherry component typical of the Fiddletown area. Massive and full-bodied, with an impressive, complex finish. Sustainably farmed. Thanks to Total Wine & More for the feature!
Nugget Market is pretty much a one-stop Valentine’s shop! You can pick up these truffles made my Truffle Gateau. Handmade locally, these chocolates are made with fresh ingredients and are designed to be paired with a variety of wines and cheeses.
Natural Vines are made from all natural ingredients and contain no artificial flavors or preservatives and no high fructose corn syrup — the licorice is naturally sweetened with cane sugar. Available in two flavors, Black and Strawberry. They were a big hit amongst my coworkers!
FOR THE COOK
I really dug this recipe for a Chocolate Almond Flour Beet Cake on my friend Julia’s site, The Roasted Root, so I am sharing the link with you. I encourage you to check it out here! If you need a taste tester, I’d be happy to help!
Happy Valentine’s Day to all and thanks to all the product sponsors and advertisers in this post!
Sunday evening, Andy and I had dinner at the newly remodeled Piatti Ristorante on Fair Oaks Boulevard in Sacramento. The restaurant (which had been closed for 4 months) has just reopened after a replacement of the flooring, ceiling, lighting, bar top and furniture.
Piatti has been a long time advertiser of cakegrrl.com and cavegrrl.com, but the staff did not know I was going to visit this time around. I say this because I want you to know we were delighted with a wonderful meal and greeted with fantastic service by our server, Chris.
Andy and I shared a 1/2 liter of chardonnay from the restaurant’s “Barrel to Table” system of wines on tap. Through “Barrel to Table” wines are served through a custom tap and barrel system which eliminates oxidation and brings the freshest, highest-quality wine to the table using the most environmentally sustainable technology – no corks, foils or bottles.
A few weekends ago, Running Bum and I took a little trip to Mill Valley to poke around at some property he is interested in buying. I tagged along with him to run a race the next day. The race, the Marin Memorial 10K, is one of the fastest 10K courses in the area, but it’s still a really tough course. No PR, and I was definitely not running with “fun runners” that day.
For our pre-race meal, we dined at Piatti. And we kept it Primal. Since Piatti is one of my sponsors on cakegrrl.com and will be migrating to this site at the end of the month, I wanted to show my audience on this site what we had for dinner that evening–without touching wheat/pasta/grains/rice.
Our appetizer was the Kobe steak crudo, secret sauce, capers, and tiny arugula. The dish comes with crostini, but we politely asked the server to see if he could swap it out for something else. Instead of telling every server in the world we are Paleo, I simply just say, “we are gluten-free”, or “we are wheat-free”. Our appetizer was served, honoring our special request, with a small side Caesar salad. Perfect.
Next up, we split a chopped romaine salad with salami, chickpeas, olive, peppers, artichokes, and two cheeses. I don’t freak out about chickpeas, and enjoy them about once a month, so I love them on this salad. I ordered the dressing on the side, but to be honest, this salad has so many goodies on it, I didn’t even need dressing or my typical balsamic and olive oil blend.
For the entreés, he went for the cioppino and I the espresso crusted filet, served with bloomsdale savoy spinach, extra vegetables instead of the mashed potatoes, Pt. Reyes blue cheese, and aged balsamic. We ate everything family style, as I love to get RB’s input on things I plan to write about. (Sometimes he even writes for me!)
The cioppino is probably the best I have ever had. The chef did something magical with his addition of a small amount of sambuca to the broth. The stew was heavy on seafood and once again by request we were able to get some extra vegetables on the plate instead of the bread that is typically served with cioppino.
The espresso filet is something I liked so much, I am going to try and replicate it at home. The execution was flawless both presenation and cooking-wise (medium rare!!). I tried to share it with RB, but I think I downed most of it. 🙂
By the way, this meal is going down as one of the best since we have been together. Of course, the meal at Place Pigalle still ranks supreme, but this one rates top notch on service and food quality. It just doesn’t feel or look like a chain restaurant.
Another win was the wine we drank with our meal. Piatti has a selection of wines available on tap called Barrel-to-Table (Piatti’s revolutionary barrel-to-table wine program pours these wines through a custom tap and barrel system which eliminates oxidation and brings the wine directly to the table using the most environmentally sustainable technology – no corks, foils or bottles.) So, yes, I will take the wine hose for $1,000, Alex.
Indeed, I was intrigued, so we tried the Kemiji Pinot Noir (a Barrel-to-Table selection), because we both thought it would be the best compromise for a pairing between the cioppino and the filet–and it was! Instead of playing around with a mere glass or a 1/2 Liter, we went for the Big Gulp–a whole liter for $55. 😉
That evening, we stayed at Marin Hotel and Suites. We took advantage of an Amazon sale from a couple of weeks prior and got the room at a very steep discount. RB and I just love steep discounts. 🙂 It was a pretty good room for the price, equipped with a mini kitchen: a coffee pot, microwave, full-sized refrigerator, sink, and dining area. A bonus for me was that the room had a clock radio by the bed with an iPod dock and speakers…I took advantage of it, and plugged in my iPhone so I could blast Born and Raised. 😉
You can find Piatti Mill Valley on twitter here and the Sacramento location here. The Sacramento menu changes around, but you can typically find my favorite salad (the salad pictured above) on it. 🙂 You can find Piatti on Facebook here.
PS: At the Sacramento location, don’t miss the summer music series every Friday night (hello, live music on the patio!) and the $10 wine list on Saturdays. 🙂