• TASTE OF UMBRIA FEB 4-17 01.23.13

    While taking a trip to Italy might be out of reach for some, you can still experience the food, wine and culture right here in Seattle. Il Fornaio recreates the flavors of Italy’s most beloved regions and coming up Feb 4-17, Seattle Chef Franz Junga will present a robust, flavorful and earthy menu from the “green heart of Italy,” Umbria!

    The landlocked, rolling countryside region of Umbria is famous for its olives; cold-pressed to make green, fruity olive oils, including Il Fornaio’s own signature olive oil. Umbria is also noted for its sheep’s milk cheese including tangy pecorino, as well as hearty lentils and grains, porcinis and handmade pasta such as frascarelli. Umbria is home to Valnerina where forty-five percent of Italy’s black truffles are found. Influenced by its northern neighbors, Umbrian dishes also utilize root vegetables and hearty leafy greens, including beets, Swiss chard and black kale.

    Chef Franz Junga has created the menu based on his trips to Italy, his research of the country, its cuisine and culture, as well as more than 17 years cooking authentic Italian dishes. This special menu is available per item or can be enjoyed as a three-course tasting menu for $32.99.

    Zuppa di Porcini con Frascarelli – Porcini mushroom soup with potatoes, celery, onion and garlic; served with housemade frascarelli and Grana Padano and drizzled with Umbrian extra-virgin olive oil (vegetarian; vegan without cheese) $5.99/6.99.

    Insalata di Finocchi e Pecorino Pepato – Fennel salad with farro, Belgian endive, watercress, celery, carrots and pecorino pepato cheese, with red wine vinaigrette $9.99.

    Crostini con Uova e Tartufo Nero – Toasted focaccia croutons topped with scrambled eggs, black truffles, and Grana Padano $11.99.


    Gnocchi di Bietole e Spinaci – Spinach and beet dumplings with porcini mushroom cream sauce and crispy sage (vegetarian)

    Cuore di Raviolo con Rancetto – Heart-shaped butternut squash ravioli filled with guinea hen, carrots, celery, and herbs, served in a crispy pancetta sauce with tomato coulis and Grana Padano $17.99.

    Cannelloni alla Ternana – Fresh pasta filled with pecorino, gruyere and fresh ricotta, Swiss chard, potatoes, pine nuts and onions; baked with béchamel and sliced black truffles (vegetarian) $18.99.

    Risotto Umbro – Carnaroli rice, Italian sausage, porcini mushrooms, Grana Padano, tomato, marinara, thyme and basil $18.79.


    Anatra alla Perugina – Wood-fired rotisserie duck with citrus sauce; served with sautéed spinach and roasted Yukon Gold potatoes $26.99.

    Salmone Tartufato – Salmon filet sautéed with artichokes and topped with black truffles; served with sliced potato cake $27.99.

    Agnello in Crosta di Pecorino – Roasted rack of lamb in Umbrian pecorino cheese crust; served with roasted Yukon Gold potatoes and sautéed seasonal vegetables $28.99. (pictured above)

    Sogliola al Grecchetto – Petrale sole sautéed with Grecchetto wine served with roasted shiitake mushrooms and green olive gremolata $28.99.


    Semifreddo di Tozzetti – Semi-frozen Vin Santo custard with Umbrian cookies, topped with chocolate sauce and candied orange peel $6.99.

    If you’re paying attention you’ll also notice that this menu is offered on Valentine’s Day so make your reservation and grab your date for an impressive night out! You’ll also receive a heart-shaped bottle of Il Forniao’s own extra-virgin olive oil for enjoying this menu anytime between Feb 4-17. Learn more about Festa Regionale here.

    We’ll have more exciting announcements about the Umbrian wines that go with this menu, interactive cooking classes (save the date for the Umbria cooking class Feb. 9), upcoming Festa Regionale dates and more!

    Pop into Il Fornaio in Pacific Place, 600 Pine Street in downtown Seattle. Call for dining reservations at (206) 264-0994 and find onlineFacebook and Twitter.

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  • Agrodolce Opens Today 12.21.12

    The highly anticipated third restaurant from James Beard Award-winning chef Maria Hines opens in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood today! The quick turnaround of the space to Agrodolce, a Southern Italian and Sicilian trattoria, has kept the food community a buzz with eager cravings on what Maria is up to now!

    After the announcement of Agrodolce, Maria traveled to Italy (Read all about it in Food & Wine) to research the food and culture in order to properly represent Southern Italy at her new, certified organic Seattle restaurant. Three weeks after getting the keys, Maria gave Eater, Seattle Met and Thrillist a visual sneak peek and even the Puget Sound Business Journal proclaimed it “ready for liftoff” after indulging in the preview menu.

    So, if the Mayan’s are wrong and the world doesn’t actually end today, be sure to join the rest of the area’s food enthusiasts at Agrodolce tonight for a special prix-fixe menu. You’re also encouraged to embrace the Mayan predicted end of the world by dressing as your spirit animal. Points for interpretation on this one as even Maria said “I saw a bumper sticker that said ’My spirit animal is whiskey.’”

    Tonight’s four-course prix-fixe menu, below, will also be offered on New Year’s Eve. View the regular dinner and dessert menu online and make your reservations! We’ve had our first tastes of Agrodolce and we are chomping at the bit for seconds!

    Housemade Focaccia – extra virgin olive oil, Italian sea sal

    First Course

    Wild Arugula Salad – blood orange, ricotta salata, thumbelina carrot

    Arancini – Skagit River Ranch beef, tomato, carnaroli rice

    Housemade Burrata – cylindrical beet, citrus honey gastrique, mint

    Second Course

    Bucatini – pine nut, sardine, fennel, golden raisin

    Ricotta Cavetelli – black truffle butter, marjoram, garlic

    Spaghetti – Skagit River Ranch sugo, hot pepper, red wine

    Third Course

    Hand Cut Tagliarini – Sicilian pistachio, sweet myrtle, pecorino

    St. Jude’s Albacore Tuna – controne bean, lacinato kale, caper

    Lamb Meatballs – grilled treviso, onion marmalade, saffron potatoes


    Theo Chocolate Budino – Italian chestnut, whipped cream, mint

    Orange Cannoli – sheep’s milk ricotta, shaved chocolate, holmquist hazelnut

    Limoncello Sorbetto – lemon-thyme, candied fennel, almond

    ($65; wine pairing additional $30)

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  • Foodie-lovers, Seattle Restaurant Week is back! 04.04.12

    March brought us the anticipated arrival of top chart movie the Hunger Games and captured the attention of many here in the Pacific Northwest. Now April has arrived and is ready to give last month a run for its money in rolling out a more exciting and satisfying way to enchant diners’ hunger and get those taste buds dancing. That’s right, it’s time for food and wine fanatics to kick off the start of spring with Seattle Restaurant Week here in the Puget Sound.

    From April 8-12 and 15-19 (excluding each Friday and Saturday), over 150 of Seattle’s most talked about restaurants will offer a specially prepared three-course dinner for $28 per person, with specific restaurants offering an additional three-course lunch for $15. Each prix-fixe menu will feature an appetizer, entrée and dessert, with at least three options under each course. And yes, to all of you dessert ditchers out there, this leaves you no excuse to pass up the delectable desserts that you’ve secretly been waiting to dive into post dinner!

    With over 150 restaurants participating this season, odds are you won’t have to get lucky to discover a new favorite place to dine in Seattle’s sea of culinary expertise. We highly recommend trying a few of our favorites including Cafe Flora (pictured above), Tilth, Golden Beetle, and Crush. Seattle Restaurant Cooperative and the media partner, The Seattle Times, have given this season’s one-of-a-kind celebration a special touch by adding 25 NEW restaurants to partake in the list. Restaurants will now cover more of King County, making it easier to find a restaurant near you.

    Invite all your foodie-loving friends, call and make a reservation (not required but highly encouraged) and learn to become your own food critic from an array of delectable dishes in store for you. We’d love to read comments from our readers about the hottest spots you’re finding this year and the best dishes that are making this week a memorable dining celebration!

    Be sure to keep up with the action through Facebook and Twitter for upcoming news and some seriously unbeatable giveaways.

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