June 4, 2010

La Dolce Vita

There's always something awesome in LA Times' Daily Dish blog. And I came across this gem last week.

Dinner + movie: "La Dolce Vita" with your sweet corn agnolotti? Drago Centro kicks off its "Dinner and a Movie" summer series with the Fellini classic next Thursday, June 3. Chef de cuisine Ian Gresik prepares a four-course menu to go with the film: heirloom tomato salad with burrata and crostini; sweet corn agnolotti with pancetta and lemon brown butter foam; New York steak with crispy potatoes, maitake mushrooms and salsa verde; and strawberry torta with balsamic crème and mascarpone. Thursday, June 3, 7 p.m. $40 per person.

I called Drago Centro the moment I saw the post. I mean, $40 for a 4-course at Drago Centro? That's a crazy good deal, yo! I even managed to talk Brandon to come up to town for it.

The first hurdle was that the hostess didn't know what was going on. But she took my reservation anyway. But of course, Betty at the Times was awesome as you can see on the thread, and I clarified my reservation.

And then the Lakers got to the finals. Bless their hearts, Lakers fans Annette and Hank still came to dinner with Brandon and I anyway. Unlike others who canceled their reservations. The Vault would accommodate 20-25 but there were only 8-10 of us in there last night.

La Dolce Vita? Okay, I sort of get the message of the movie. As a USC film minor graduate, I *should* be falling all over myself for a Fellini film, but all I could do was admire the belly of the film as it flew over my head.

I was kept glued for a bit to see if I could understand any of the Italian. I picked up 4 words/phrases out of the whole movie. LOL.

And holy crap, it was LONG. It lost Brandon somewhere at the haunted house. It lost me after the break up, ("Get in the car! No! Get out of the car! No!")

But the food. My GOD the FOOD! And the wine pairing ($20 for 4 wines for the 4 courses)! Mamma mia!

Heirloom tomato salad with burrata and crostini + Prosecco di Valdobbiadene: Principe, Silver Emotion 2008

Fresh, fresh, fresh! The tomatoes were lovely and the burrata creamy. I could eat this all day. The prosecco was flowery and absolutely sublime. I can also drink that all day. :)

Sweet corn agnolotti with pancetta and lemon brown butter foam + Gavi di Gavi, Villa Sparina, Piemonte 2007.

We w
ere all very close to licking the bowl on this one. Perfection in every bite. The corn was already sweet but somehow manage to not overpower the Gavi di Gavi. Just divine.

New York steak with crispy potatoes, maitake mushrooms and salsa verde + Sangiovese, Brancaia, Tre, Toscana 2006.

I had to swap my steak with Brandon because he likes his well cooked, but even then, the beef was tender. The potatoes and the mushrooms were on the saltier side but once you eat it with deceptively under-seasoned steak, the symphony in your mouth went off. With the Sangiovese, I didn't want this plate to end.

Strawberry torta with balsamic crème and mascarpone + Maculan, Dindarello 2007

The dessert didn't stand a chance to begin with and we were looking for ANY distraction from the movie at this point. A blink and everyone had inhaled their creamy and refreshing treat. The Maculan was a bit of a wake-up call on the sweetness at first sip but once again, everything was alright once it mingled with dessert.

What a meal! What an experience! I know I'll be there in a heart beat at the next one.

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