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Monday, June 9, 2014

Happy Birthday Artusi!

This weekend Artusi celebrated their 3rd Birthday.  Artusi  focuses on the Italian palette, and is owned by Chef Jason Stratton.  The chef also owns Spinasse, which is right next door to Artusi and is the place to go if you want some of the best pasta you have ever had in your life. Renee Erickson was quoted that "she dreams of Spinasse pasta". so do, I Renee, so do I. Chef also owns  Aragona (which was one of of my first blog posts).

To celebrate, Artusi offered a 6 course tasting menu with a wine paring.  When I received the email about this, I immediately went and made a reservation.

Now I have never been to Italy before, so I am not as familiar with the regional cuisines other than what I have eaten the United States.  However, from a little food reading I have done, I would say that the menu derives more from Northern Italy cuisine and taste.  Which if this how the people of Northern Italy eat, then I will be more than happy to visit them and eat their food anytime.  The Piedmont Region seems to be a Foodie a destination, and I will be added to my Foodie Bucket List.

Let the tasting begin!!

The first course was Shaved porcini and egg salad with salsa Apicius served with a 2012 Gavi di Gavi
Brut, Broglia, Piedmont,
  I have to admit I had no ideas what the Salsa Apicius was.  It was very tasty, but I had to Google later to find out what it was.  I just happened to locate the recipe for the entire dish on the Artusi Blog.  The porcini mushroom were earthy, the egg and smooth and slight creamy texture, and then the salsa just gave it that pow, wow taste in your mouth. The salsa just complimented both the mushrooms and egg perfectly.  However, if just given the salsa in a bowl, I would have just had been as happy with that.

Second Course Pappa alla fragole: Tuscan Style chilled soup tomato, strawberry, and bread soup
served with 2013 Il Rose di Casonova, La Spinneta Tuscany
  We received the wine before the soup came out.  It is a Sangiovese Rose.  On its own it is very light and does not have alot of flavor to it.  Then the soup arrived, a vibrant, beautiful, red soup topped with fresh basil and olive oil.  It may have looked simple, but the taste was not.  It packed so much flavor, you could taste the tomato and strawberries just like you just plucked them from the garden. The soup just had a bit of a kick of spice which was really unexpected.  Then you take a sip of the wine, and it gives your mouth a nice cleansing, crisp flavor.  At that time you know why this wine was paired with this soup.

Third Course Tonnarelli with local crawfish, pistachio and lemon  served with 2012 Gruner Veltliner, Abbazia di Novacella, Alto Adige
  This dish looks like a typical Italian spaghetti dish that you might find at Anywhere USA, but it sure in the heck does not taste like it. The first thing you notice and taste is the pasta.  This not your boxed pasta your mom made you (unless i guess your mother is Italian, which my mother is not).  This is the that fresh, homemade, made with love, the pasta you will be dreaming about pasta that you find get at Spinasse  and that I mentioned earlier. The sauce was flavorful, but not overpowering.  The craw\fish, a little small and lacking (it is a tasting menu after small, and smaller portions, so I can understand this).  However, the most interesting part of the dish for me were the pistachios. I m not much of a pistachio person, and quite unsure of their use in a pasta dish, but it works.   They seemed to be lightly toasted, with just a little seasoning. It just give the dish a nice texture and crunch.

Fourth Course Duck capunet with figs and hazelnuts served with 2009 Barbaresco Produttori del
Barbaresco, Piedmont.
  When the dish came out it reminded me of a cabbage rolls that I had growing up in Oklahoma (which I never had one I liked very much, because it usually lacked in flavor). So again I had to Google my food, this time Capunet.  Capunet is a Tuscan stuffed cabbage roll.  My people from Oklahoma could have used a little Italian influence in the cabbage roll department, because this was the best cabbage roll I have ever eaten! Now having the roll stuffed with duck, delicious, tender, succulent duck, also kind of helps in making this dish so wonderful.  The figs and hazelnuts were a nice accompaniment, but seriously it was about the duck.  Hands down, best dish of the nitght.  If I could have had 6 tastings of this I would have been one happy girl.  This is what I am dreaming about now.

Fifth course  Quadrello di bufala with local baby lettuce and chestnut honey served with 2012
Moscato , Giorgio Pelissero, Piedmont
  Now when it comes to cheese course as a dessert, I am not going to sign up for that. (I apologize to any French people who I might have just offended with that statement). I want my little chocolate, sweet after a delicious meal.  However, since I knew this would be next, I accepted the cheese. The cheese alone, was a strong, bold cheese.  However, if you took a  little bite of cheese with a little lettuce with that barely sweet honey, and then followed that with the sweet Moscato, then my thoughts of cheese as dessert begin to change, but just a little.  This girls still wants just a little more sweet and a little taste of chocolate.

Sixth course Panna cotta with mascarpone, Marsala, chocolate and espresso served with NV Cocchi Baralo Chinato
  Artusi took 3 of my favorite things and served them up on a plate for me.  For a second I thought it was my birthday.  Needless to say it was delicious.

Thank you Artusi for celebrating your birthday with me.  I hope there are many more celebrations to come and taste.

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