Via Napoli

October 2015 Trip Review

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After checking in at the outside podium, I was offered a glass of white wine sangria or a glass of ice water to drink while I waited outside with the other lunch guests.

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I chose the sangria and it was very good…light, fruity, cold and refreshing.

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Once they called out my name, I was escorted through the side door and directly into the sun room where I was seated at a large table for 8 in the back. There was a group of three from Texas (a couple plus a friend) already seated there and the remaining four seats remained empty throughout the lunch.

This time there would be only four courses (instead of the five served at the Tutto Gusto luncheon) so my place setting included 4 wine glasses plus a water glass…

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There were two kinds of bread plus olive oil for dipping on the table…

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I liked the presentation of the bread sticks in a glass vase…

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Both the Italian bread and the crispy, thin bread sticks were good, but not as good as the foccaccia we were served at the Tutto Gusto luncheon…

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Then our first course was served…

 

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Cavolfiori e Peperoni Piccanti with roasted cauliflower and spicy Italian peppers

 

Initially when I saw the name of our first course on the menu, I was expecting the salad to include pepperoni (as in the cured, dry sausage meat that we call pepperoni). Once the salad was served though I remembered that “Peperoni” is actually the Italian word for large peppers, as in bell peppers, and there is no Italian salami called by that name. In other words, if you travel to Italy and ask for a pepperoni pizza you will probably get a pizza topped with peppers. ;)

The salad was paired with a red wine, a chianti from a Tuscany winery..
[IMG]We were told by our presenter at this time that we would be taking a tour of Italy during our lunch with the four wine pairings we would be served…

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So overall I felt the first course was rather underwhelming. The salad was good, but there was nothing really special about it. And for me, the Calposado chianti didn’t really pair well with the salad.

Next came the second course, which was by far my favorite course…

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Pizza Margherita with San Marzano tomatoes, mozzarella di bufala, and basil

This was served with a white wine, a pinot grigio from the far north province of Trentino…

 

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I was quite pleased with this course. The pizza was delicious and the pinot grigio wine paired well with it. While I’ve enjoyed the pizza at Via Napoli at least a dozen times, I’d never before had their margherita pizza. Now that I know how good it is I might consider ordering it whenever I do return to Via Napoli…although I wouldn’t mind having a few slices of pepperoni on it (the American version of pepperoni, not the Italian). :laughing: Another thing about the pizza that I’d like to mention is that this was about an 8″ size, the perfect size for one person. I so wish they would offer this size on their regular menu at Via Napoli. What they call their individual size pizza (the smallest one that they offer) is probably about 12″ in size and can be easily shared between two (or more) people…especially if you want to save room for dessert! ;)

Ok, now on to the third course, which was the main course of this lunch…

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Tagliatelle di Verdure – Homemade pasta, wood oven-roasted vegetables, and bechamel sauce

This was paired with another dry white wine, Le Marne Gavi from the Piedmont region of Italy.

 

In my opinion this pasta dish would have been fine if it had not been considered the main course of this lunch. It was good but like the first course salad, rather unremarkable. The predominant flavor of the dish was of the roasted peppers (both red and green). While I happen to like peppers, I think this pasta would have benefited from some meat or seafood. The Gavi wine (made 100% from cortese grapes) that was paired with the pasta was one that I was previously unfamiliar with. It was dry but fruity so drinkable for me and it went fine with the pasta.

And that just leaves my least favorite course of this lunch (much to my surprise), the dessert…

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Torta di Farina di Grano Saraceno & Gelato de Castagna – Buckwheat cake and chestnut gelato

This was paired with a glass of bubbly prosecco…

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So two firsts for me with this dessert, as I had never before had anything made from buckwheat flour nor had I ever had chestnut flavored gelato. And now that I’ve tasted both, I’m in no hurry to have either of them again. If I was wanting (or needing) a gluten-free dessert, this cake would have been satisfactory I suppose. However, with no dietary restrictions, I would have preferred something else for dessert. I enjoyed all three of the desserts served at the Tutto Gusto lunch, I love the zeppole served at Via Napoli, and I had no problem eating the 3 day old Narcoossee’s cheesecake. :laughing: When it comes to dessert I’m really not all that picky…but I did not like this one very much. :sad2:

Overall this meal was not really worth the $83 price (plus tax) for me, especially since it was void of any meat or seafood. Plus the fact that only one of the four courses (the pizza) was outstanding in my opinion. However, since the menus for these special F & W event lunches change not only from year to year but even from week to week, I would be willing to give this one another try next year. But then again, I might just do only the Italian Regional Lunch at Tutto Gusto and skip this one. I guess I have more than 5 months to decide. :scratchin

Want to know what I did next on this trip or just want to share a comment on this review? Click here to go to this trip’s blog post!

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