Encinitas has been embracing the Italian style wine and food of Alice’s Italian Gourmet, now the big buzz for quick and delicious Italian on El Camino Real. Alice (pronounced Ah-leechee) and Carlo Paoletti bring bold new menu dynamics to tempt and feed the fast casual lunch and dinner bunch. They’re from Milan, so you’ll see and enjoy upscale touches you’ll love, with flavors and dine and wine prices you’ll love even more.
You’ve seen some of this concept at street-fests, food truck mobile dining, fairs and other special events. But Alice’s is a whole new level of artisan Italian, an indoor-outdoor
atmosphere. The Paolettis’ dream was to take their experience from culturally rich Milan, where the art of eating and drinking is shared mostly at sidewalk cafes and trattorias, and a seat might be the diner’s Vespa scooter, introduce it to coastal Encinitas.
Before I get to the super Italian menu and “wow” Chianti Classico wine from legendary Castello Banfi in Tuscany, Carlo wanted me to make sure I pointed out that his magnificent chef is Julio Bolano, who orchestrates the fresh flavor in this delicious, wide-ranging Italian menu. Bolano was with Roberto Vigilucci and his restaurants for more than 10 years and mastered the patience and experience, necessary for memorable Mediterranean menus.
My taste-test for any new Italian menu format is its lasagna, the texture of the home-made pasta layers, the Bolognese style sauce and meat and the three cheeses, Parma style, baked in ($13). All passed with flying colors. For an extra taste triumph, I had the Palermo meat & cheese board ($12.75). It’s a portrait of small Italian bites, stitched together with Italian baquette bread. The mini feast continues with hot salame, soppressata, mortadella and coppacola meats. Cheeses include sweet provolone with red onion, peperoncini, olives and Italian vinaigrette.
OK, now to the vino that gets to wash all this food joy down, the Banfi Centine Rosso Toscana($23/bottle). Banfi is the standard bearer for world-renowned Italian wines. From its central property of 700 acres in Tuscany Italy, it produces the legendary Brunello ($70) and many other whites, reds and red blends.
Centine soaks in all this masterful wine making in a bottle that is as delicious as any, for a “StrEAT” food and wine experience that will have you coming back for much more because there is so much more in this Italian Nation street menu.
Hours are Monday through Thursday 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and closed on Sunday. For more, call (760) 632-6933.
- PAON Restaurant in the Village of Carlsbad presents a Tablas Creek Wine Dinner May 23 with a reception at 5:45 p.m. Special guest is Jason Haas, winemaker of this premier Paso Robles winery. Cost is $125 per person, club members $105. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or call (760) 729-7377.
- It’s the grand opening of a beautiful new urban winery in San Marcos, La Fleur’s Winery from 2 to 6 p.m. May 19, on S. Pacific St. Dave and Dana La Fleur will have wine tasting, free giveaways, a winery tour, live music and wine club discounts. For the full story on this first urban winery in San Marcos, go to lafleurswinery.com. or call (760) 315-8053.
- Parc Bistro-Brasserie downtown San Diego has a Laird Napa Valley wine dinner at 6:30 p.m. May 23. It’s a five-course wine pairing event for $99 each. Call in an RSVP at (619) 795-1501.
- Oak +elixir wine, beer & eatery on State St. Carlsbad is having a One Year Anniversary party from 7 to 11 p.m. June 2. Cost is $15 for wine tasting, live music and $1 raffle giveaways. Call (509) 209-6116 or oakandelixir.com for details.
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