I have not updated my blog with food and travel in a while, looking back I see how far behind I am! As I’m writing right now, it’s halloween and I just spent an evening out people watching and counting how many people are dressed up at Harley Quinn (and sonic) this year.
But of all things, I’m craving a glass (or five glasses) of wine and something yummy paired perfectly with it. Any guesses on where I want to go? My favorite go to local restaurant, Villa Capri.
I’m looking back at the scribbles and notes that I tried to write and let’s see if I can still translate that! Can I just have an espresso now too?
Unfortunately I’ve missed the last 2 most recent wine dinners and have only heard how amazing the food was and I am waiting for the November wine dinner and looking back and sharing my July and August 2016 dinner!
There is something about not needing to look at a menu and still knowing (sort of) what to expect but it’s never the same. Here is the Villa Capri wine dinner formula, I have noticed.
The appetizer and dessert
The appetizer is always listed on the menu in the same way.
Stuzzichi dello Chef
Chef Antonio & Chef Dario’s own creation of mini bites
The desserts as well.
Sorpresa dello Chef
Dessert surprise of the Chef’s
That basically means, we don’t know what we will be eating until it’s served. And after coming to these wine dinners I’ve learned that it’s always a slightly different combination of bites.
So far, a few of favorites include the pate, pizza,smoked salmon, and cheese bread. And thank you Elena for modeling our appetizer platter.
These bites are so hard to resist! After making it through traffic after work to Villa Capri Poway, I’m always ready for these little things to prepare myself with the next 4 course (and 3 hours) that follow. And of course lets grab a cold glass of wine with that.
And in August, our friend Jen joined us for appetizers and a glass of wine before heading to to the airport for her flight back to Phoenix.
July and August ended both dinners with a chocolate cake with a caramel cream sauce. And as you can see in the pictures above, I didn’t even bother to take a picture of my cake in August because I knew exactly what I was served and just started to eat. But Elena reminded me…about pictures of my food.
And I’ve never really enjoyed dessert wines but I have to admit, did you know that dessert with dessert wine is really good? We also tried a Petite Sirah with that chocolate cake, and I think I prefer it that way much better.
And that is how I am slowly, learning more and more about wine. Our wine teacher always brings fun facts and stories to the table. And sometimes, he gets to join us at our table and have dinner with us (though he barely gets to eat as he makes his rounds answering all of our wine questions).
2nd Course – salad
And of course, it’s time for the second wine of the night. And with that we would have finished our first glass of wine to make room for our next wine.
I guess the ‘salad’ course is another starter? But this is where I find some quality ingredients. And it’s just a preview of what we get to eat for the night.
And in particular July and August had some amazing ‘salads’ on the menu (although I did see that I missed Frisee salad with cherry tomatoes and fresh main lobster?! in October.
July was “Under the Tuscan Sun” meaning interesting Italian wine. “Vitiano Rose” paired with a fresh salmon cured in frappa served with micro arugula and topped with onions, capers, extra virgin olive oil and lemon.
That salmon was amazing. The acidity of the salmon, lemon and capers went really well with the rose.
And when I didn’t think we could top that salmon, came an amazing and perfectly cooked scallop in August.
Quinoa salad served with seared bay scallop tossed in lemon dressing paired with Oberon’s Isabel Mondavi Carneros Chardonnay.
3rd course – pasta / carbs
When it comes to pasta, there really a big difference between fresh (well made) pasta and the pasta we can easily buy at the grocery store. A friend once said that Italian food is actually his least favorite type of food because the same dish can range from $ to $$$$; which to him means he is simply getting ripped off.
I don’t agree with his statement, because it all comes down to the ingredients used and the quality. And with fresh made pasta cooked perfectly; i’m sold!
One pasta dish that always throws me off is ravioli. Have you ever ordered ravioli and get just a tad bit sad when you only get a few on your plate? I almost always do, but I also find myself being greedy. The stuff inside the ravioli really is filling!
I also learned that rich creamy foods or in this case ravioli with a rich creamy sauce needs a yummy red wine. That suddenly makes so much sense.
Homemade fava beans ravioli served in a savory light cream sage sauce with parmesan drizzled with truffle oil.
With only 2 on the plate, this was a perfect portion considering this is a 5 course meal. The fava bean filling was
Ravioli stuffed with anjou pear and parmesan in a gorgonzola cream sauce topped with roasted walnuts.
For a July wine dinner, I was excited for something something refreshing! Who says we always have to have meat ravioli? Plus the 4th course IS the meat course.
4th course – meat
After 3 full courses, I’m always thankful for a little break. At least I’ve always felt as though the wait for this course always takes more time compared to all of the other courses. But it is a much needed break.
Though, Elena caught me on my phone in the middle of our wine lesson while she went off around the restaurant taking pictures. After scheduling my monthly girls night out with Elena every month, we’ve started to recognize quite a few familiar faces.
Center cut filet mignon topped with pate and a port wine truffle sauce served with gratin potatoes and seasonal root vegetable.
It’s a beautiful cut of steak topped with more meat on top? What?
Veal scaloppine stuffed with fontana cheese and prosciutto in a porcini mushroom sauce served with asparagus, baby carrots and purple potatoes.
I am always amazed that we are pretty much being served a full meal here on the plate. Did you forget that we just had 3 courses of food before this? Anyways, I have surprised myself and somehow managed to empty my plate here too!
And at the end of the night, it’s a wine dinner! And we’ve had 5 usually very different glasses of wine.
In July they were Italian wines (and those usually make me more confused with their names), and I’ve learned that there are so many different types of wines created by mixing different types of grapes.
In August, we were back in Napa Valley California enjoying Oberon wines. With names that sound much more familiar to me. But did you know those can have other types of grapes mixed in as well?
I’m surprised at how many random facts about wine and wine making I’ve learned. But of course for me, I enjoy the story behind some of these wines and the stories from my friends as we enjoy stories from each other.
And my wine collection may or may not be growing. But do note, bring a few friends to share wine. I always find myself sharing cases of wine with several friends since I don’t quite have a budget to start a full on wine collection yet.
And as I’ve mentioned all of the familiar faces, the Villa Capri Poway team has slowly become our friends as well.
There are so many restaurants in San Diego that keeps expanding my list (or bookmarks on yelp) of restaurants I want to try, I find myself constantly going to new restaurants and rarely repeating. But I guess this is what it’s like to be a regular at a restaurant. You walk in, it it feels like home!
August was as usual a girls night out for me and Elena (and our friend Jen) to catch up, but July was a special one for us as we enjoyed a Tuscan themed dinner.
Dinner starts at 6pm and ends at about 9pm. How often do we actually sit down for 3 hours to simply enjoy each others company and catch up in-person. That is what I look forward to each month. There is a formula to what we eat and it’s starting to be comforting to see familiar faces and yet there is something new out of each dinner as well.
By the way, if you were wondering…BH and I went out to downtown San Diego with some friends and decided to each choose a character/costume and count how many of each we spot. Congrats to BH for finally spotting 1 person dressed as sonic but I spotted 9 people dressed up as Harley Quinn. I win!