A new La [email protected] wine class starts up today, September 15, led by Jim Kennedy and devoted to the luscious wines from Piemonte, Basilicata, Vallee d’Aosta and Abruzzo. So much to taste and learn about, all from the comfort of your own home! In each class, participants will sample one fantastic bottle of wine while hearing all about it—producer history, sensory review, label breakdown, appellation overview, and regional context. There will be lots of discussion. Also exciting is the current menu, which gave us an excuse to meet an old friend for al fresco dinner at the spacious yet intimate outdoor dining garden behind the main restaurant. While I still miss the gorgeous chickens that used to hold forth along the back fence, I have to admit that the spacious dining patio, strung with little lights and generously spaced tables, is irresistible. Very Italian. For the occasion, a celebration of sorts, we each selected something from the red wines by the glass listing. La Posta’s Italian wine bench is deep and worth working through, dinner by dinner.
Venus was just rising in the pale pink twilight as we scoped out the menu. For our dinner partner who couldn’t resist the seasonal caprese salad, a glass of the Vallana Spanna, Piedmonte 2017 ($15.25). Spanna is the regional name for Nebbiolo, a light complex wine bearing a cargo of spice that was perfect with the burrata, exactly ripe local tomatoes and fresh basil. Simply dressed with olive oil and salt ($15), this was an enchanting dish.
Saltimbocca, Roman-style, proved to be a very thinly cut pork tenderloin scallop wrapped with prosciutto and sage leaves, served with ultra-comforting roast potatoes and fragrant red Jimmy Nardello peppers ($28). I joined my order of this hearty Italian classic with a glass of velvety Barbera d’Alba from Cascina Fontana ($14.50). Our companion also ordered the Saltimbocca, and joined his with a glass of gorgeous Bellafonte Sagrantino-Sangiovese blend 2017 ($12.75).
Before we began with our main dishes, we all sipped wine and worked through a plate of Fritto Misto ($15), a featherlight but indulgent gathering of lightly battered shrimp, halibut, maitakes, fennel and zucchini in chili aioli with lemon. The dinner was close to perfect, especially when laced with the incredible house sourdough and barely salted butter. Finished off with a scoop of almond caramel gelato ($3.50).
And yes, you can register (very quickly!) for the La [email protected] Italian Wine series, and pick up at the restaurant your wines for the first meeting. 538 Seabright Avenue, Santa Cruz 95060 La [email protected], Series 8, $170 for the series. lapostarestaurant.com.
Lulu Carpenter’s, one of our top independent coffee establishments, has opened a new location at the Santa Cruz County Building. A gleaming modernist counter bar loaded with state-of-the-art hardware, Lulu’s in the Atrium sits between the courthouse and the county building, so next time you’re brought up on charges—or have to report for jury duty—you’ll know where to get bracing and utterly correct espresso drinks. The menu also offers yummy pastries and breakfast items involving eggs, so you can add something healthy to that croissant you crave. The new Lulu’s is open Monday-Friday, 7:30am-3:30pm.
More HonorsThe mighty Michelin has just awarded Mentone and Alderwood a “Plate” award in its 2021 guidebook to Central Coast restaurants. The Michelin Plate is the symbol for those restaurants serving “very good food.” Next step would be the Bib Gourmand, which designates high quality and good value. Congratulations!