Friday, May 8, 2009



Il Fornaio's monthly regional menu featured the Campania region (southern Italy) this month and was too temping to pass up. So, Wednesday night, Jim and I headed off to the Walnut Creek Il Fornaio.

We started with the Tegamino e Cozze, Fresh mussels on the half shell, baked with white wine, garlic, lemon, olive oil and bread crumbs. The serving of a dozen mussels was perfect to share...we sopped up all the juices with Il Fornaio's always-delicious bread. Unfortunately, I got so caught up in the meal that I forgot to take a picture of this yummy dish..I'd consider having it with a side salad as a meal.

But, the best was yet to come and I did remember to take pictures.

We both ordered the Scaluppine a Caprese, Thinly sliced veal with tomato fillets and fresh mozzarella. The vegetables were roasted Yukon Gold potatoes and Peas with Prosciutto. We both ate every bite of this dish.

Along with a few glasses of Chianti, this was a wonderful dinner.

Il Fornaio's special regional dinner menus are featured the first two weeks of each month, in addition to the regular menu, at all the Il Fornaio restaurants. Once you are on their mailing list, they send you a special passport twice a year. Each month, for 6 months, if you order from the Regional Menu, they stamp your passport and give you a special gift. This month the gift was a small bottle of lemon-infused olive oil.


The next day, I met my friend Mary for lunch at the relatively-new Esin in Danville. Esin has been in Contra Costa County for many years and has many followers, but this location is far larger than the previous one.

The weather was warm enough for us to sit on the outdoor patio.

Mary had the Salmon Salad, one of the day's specials.

I chose the Grilled Chicken Salad.

While we did not "need" nor were really hungry for dessert, it is a high crime to not have one of Esin's freshly baked desserts when one dines here. So, we shared a generous slice of the day's Brown Butter Tart which was made with fresh apricots...the first of the season in this area. Unfortunately, we were so caught up in conversation and oohing and ahing over the tart that I forgot to take a picture. Trust me, you must eat dessert at Esin.

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