Afternoon Delight (Italian Style!)

Italian Luncheon, Beverly HillsLunch in posh Beverly Hills is not something I do regularly, and attending food media events (where the meal is usually comped) is something I’ve only recently started to enjoy. It’s not that I had any issues with eating for free in the past, or writing a blog post about it (if I liked it). Mostly, I just didn’t want to schlep myself across town to eat with complete strangers.

Last week I received an email from Bread & Butter PR regarding an upcoming Italian lunch event titled, Learn To Speak Italian, One Bite At A Time: From June 5 through June 20, the Italian Trade Commission in Los Angeles, in collaboration with the Italy-America Chamber of Commerce West, invites Angelenos to experience Italian cuisine at its most authentic.  With the goal of raising awareness of the use of authentic Italian ingredients in America, the Italian Trade Commission and Italy-America Chamber of Commerce West selected the restaurants based on a series of parameters including quality and authenticity of Italian products used in the kitchen, the presence of Italian chefs and sommeliers, and the presentation of an Italian-centric wine list. Each restaurant will be offering special prix fixe menus at lunch and dinner using only the finest ingredients Italy has to offer.

The afternoon soiree featured a sample of prix fixe menus from some of L.A.’s top Italian restaurants (Drago, Caffe’ Roma, Il Grano, Il Moro, Locanda del Lago and Valentino), which included several that I hadn’t visited before.

I had also never been to the Peninsula Hotel (where the luncheon was to take place) and was frustrated that I got lost and was going to be late. After driving around the block a few times, I finally made my way inside and was seated at a table… with complete strangers.

When I looked to the right of the room though, I was thrilled to see a whole table full of familiar faces! Many of them were friends I’d made over the past year including (using Twitter names): @FoodGPS, @Glutster, @EstarLA, @Mattatouille, @PleasurePalate and @GastronomyBlog.

Luckily for me, besides an incredible afternoon of eating and drinking all things Italian (the grilled octopus was my favorite), I also made some new friends at my own table! It was such a pleasure sharing a meal and a few laughs with @Lilliamr from and @DarthSinatra from, as well as Bread & Butter’s Stefani and Katie!

Thanks so much to all the staff at Bread & Butter PR for the kind invitation! Delizioso!

Italian Luncheon, Beverly Hills

Italian Luncheon, Beverly Hills
Antipasto from Il Grano Restaurant: Pannacotta alle Fave con Insalata di Granchio, Fave, Piselli ed Asparagi – Fava Pannacotta, Dungeness Crab, English Peas, Favas and Sacramento Delta Asparagus. Paired with Rami Sicilia 2007, Azienda Agricola COS.

Italian Luncheon, Beverly Hills
Antipasto from Caffe Roma: Polipo e patate – Grilled Octopus with Fingerling Potatoes. Paired with Vermentino Bolgheri Tenuta Guado al Tasso.

Italian Luncheon, Beverly Hills
Primo from Drago: Cecaluccoli con pomodorini di Salina, melanzane e pecorino: Homemade Pasta, Cherry Tomatoes, Eggplant and Pecorino Cheese. Paired with 2008 Schiava “Tenuta St. Peter” Alto Adige.

Italian Luncheon, Beverly Hills
Primo from Locanda Del Lago: Risotto di Barbabietole del mercato: Risotto with Market Red and Gold Beets. Paired with Bonarda “Carlino,” Castello di Luzzano, 2007.

Italian Luncheon, Beverly Hills
Secondo from Il Moro Restaurant: Filetto D’Agnello Farcito, Filet of Lamb rolled with Spinach, Baked Tomatoes and Olives, Pan Roasted and served with a Potato Cake and Rapini. Paired with Zonin, Nero d’Avola 2008, Sicilia.

Italian Luncheon, Beverly Hills
Dessert from Valentino Restaurant: La cassatina di ricotta Siciliana con il sorbetto di fichi d’India: Sicilian Ricotta Cassata w/ Prickly Pear Sorbet. Paired with Beni di Batasiolo, Bosc DLA REI Moscato d’Asti 2008.

Italian Luncheon, Beverly Hills
The legend… Chef Celestino Drago (left) with Javiar aka the Glutster with camera. Top right photo: Italian Consul General Nicola Faganello.

All my photos from this event

Drago Restaurant Empire

Caffe’ Roma

Il Grano

Il Moro

Locanda del Lago


For links to these special Prix Fixe Menus, please visit FoodGPS!

Note: These special menus end on June 20!

Peninsula Hotel

Italian Trade Commission (link via FoodGPS)

BBPR Website

Follow BBPR on Twitter


Filed under Food Events (festivals, classes, etc.)

4 responses to “Afternoon Delight (Italian Style!)

  1. wow… everything looks amazing!

  2. I’m so bummed I had to miss this! Not only does the food look incredible, but so many of the good friends I’m made this year were there too! What a great event – thanks for sharing!

  3. wow everything looks soooo good… i would love to attend similar events… i’m jealous haha!

  4. Ground beef pastel looks amazing.. (well it all looks amazing actually…. )

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