Four Ways to Truffle at our Dinner

Tuber magnatum pico and Tuber aestivum

Truffle Dinners Start Next Tuesday

November 14th – 18th, 2017


Four Ways to Truffle at our Dinner

  1. Shaving Whites: We all know about shaving – classic and exquisite, shaving is a fine way to go. There’s nothing like white truffles shaved on our tajarin (hand cut noodles, 32 egg yolks per kilo of flour). White truffles (Tuber magnatum pico) will be shaved at the table.
  2. Mortar & Slather: A truffle hunter’s favorite. White truffles mortared in fresh pressed oil and then slathered on a meat – excellent with beef or pork. We’ll have a Olio Nuovo pressed the day before that will be super peppery.
  3. Black Truffles: Burgundian Truffles (Tuber aestivum) are common during white truffle season in Tuscany and have a simple but really delicious flavor. Usually Burgundian truffles are prepared in the dish so the heat of cooking releases the flavor. Black Périgord truffles (Tuber melanosporum) come later in the season
  4. Truffles for the Table: During the dinners, people will be given a chance to buy a white truffle for the table, to be used for the dinner. You may also buy more than you need to take home.

 

We’ve always tried to make it a fun evening, and make it as inexpensive as possible. This year the truffles are expensive, and we’ll do everything we can to bring people the best truffles at the best price.

View Chef Jonah’s menu here.

Reserve Online or Call 510.547.5356

Dinners for Truffles 2017

The niece of our favorite truffle hunter Georgio from earlier days

Dinners for the Italian White Truffle:
Tuber Magnatum Pico über alles

November 14th – 18th, 2017

The week before Thanksgiving, we will celebrate, as we have done for the past twenty-two years, perhaps the most evocative event in our series of dinners: that for truffles and wild mushrooms. The darkness of the dining room as we approach winter solstice, the aromas from the kitchen and wood-fired grill and rotisserie, not to mention that indescribable scent of the most expensive food of them all (a simple tree-root parasite which looks like a small, troubled potato) characterize fall at Oliveto.

Chef Jonah Rhodehamel has devised this year’s à la carte menu:

Antipasti
 Cold: Antipasto of roast autumn fruits and vegetables with malted barley
and black truffle vinaigrette

Salad of shaved Brussels sprouts with bagna cauda, lemon, and white truffle

Crudo of local halibut and artichokes with fried Black Trumpet mushrooms with
celery leaf pesto, and truffled egg yolk

Dungeness crab salad with Hachiya persimmon, fennel, and orange

Warm: Poached farm egg with crispy potato-duck confit hash and truffled hollandaise

Roast octopus with Tuscan sausage, Butter beans, and black truffle

Soup:  tba

Primi
Acquerello Carnaroli risotto of Black Trumpet mushrooms and Castelmagno cheese

Stinging nettle gnocchi with Chanterelle mushrooms and ricotta salata

Tortelloni of Fontina Val d’Aosta cheese with brown butter, sage, and candied walnuts

Tajarin al burro

Farm egg raviolo with house-made ricotta and duck sugo

Cappelletti of bone marrow with black truffle and fried shallots

Whole grain pasta with wild mushrooms Vallesana

Secondi
Pan-roasted Liberty duck breast with Kabocha squash, Lacinato kale, and spiced sugo

Sformatino of Lobster mushrooms with chestnuts, ricotta salata cheese, and Delicata squash

Fontina-stuffed chicken breast with wilted radicchio, parsnip crema, and Morel mushroomsugo

Black sea bass with cardoons, salsify, roast sunchoke crema, and Barolo spumante

Beef tournedo alla Rossini with Hudson Valley foie gras, Swiss chard, Yellow Finn potatoes, and black truffle sugo

Truffled boudin blanc with celeriac crema, escarole, and hazelnut salsa

Dolci (tba)

Reserve Online or Call 510.547.5356

We’re in the Hunt for Truffles!

It’s Almost Time for Truffles!

2017 Truffle Dinners
Tuesday November 14th – Saturday the 18th

À la carte menu showcasing wild mushrooms and
white and black truffles

We are on the hunt for good truffles and as always will bring you the best available at the best price. Updates to come on the menu and whether we’ll have any extra truffles to sell.

Be sure to reserve a table in advance. We’ve seen some really nice black truffles so far, as well as wild mushrooms, and the menu will be exciting!

There are just a few spots left for the Brunello Dinner next Saturday November 4th. It is a prix fixe dinner in the private dining room so please call to reserve. See the wine list and take a peek at the menu here.

Reserve Online or Call 510.547.5356

Dinner for Well-Aged Brunellos

Canaliccio di Sopra Vineyard below Montalcino

Dinner for Well-Aged Brunellos

Saturday November 4th at 6:30pm

Prix Fixe Menu in Private Dining Room

In preparation for our Brunello dinner next month, we paid a visit to our offsite wine storage area. The 1982 Pertimali Brunello Reserva by the Sassetti family has been our focus. We had 5 bottles, we opened one to see what it would be like for the dinner. I don’t know whether you can say it’s exciting, to wait for a 35-year-old wine to open up after pulling the cork, but after letting it breathe for two hours, when the wine comes alive, it’s pretty neat. Even with ’82 being a great year, Pertimali being a great producer, you just can’t know what a 35-year-old wine is going to be like, but we think you’ll be happy.

We’ll also be breaking into more current vintages that are just coming into their prime from another one of our favorite estates, Canaliccio di Sopra (featured above). This is a small family estate, started by Primo Pacenti, who was a sharecropper, essentially a serf, in the Montalcino region. Historically, Brunello has been associated with very wealthy wine families but in the 50’s Primo was enabled to buy an estate due to the abject poverty of the area and government programs that sought to revitalize it. He was able to acquire the property, which he knew to be good land, and started a Brunello winery.

Possibly the greatness of any wine resides in the integrity of the producer. Brunellos especially have been victim to large producers and scandal*. The Sassetti and Pacenti families make truly excellent wine despite simple beginnings because they focus on their land and vineyards. Hear from Primo’s grandson in the video below.

We’ll also be pouring a really fine Sangiovese from Chianti (just north of the Montalcino region in Tuscany). 1985 San Guisto Retennano, another great vintage. We came across this winery back when Maggie was researching olive oil and we ended up staying with the Cigala family. Big muscly sons, big muscly wines.

*In 2002 the Italian government took a look at the amount of Brunello being sold, looked at the acreage growing it, and realized that there was a lot of Brunello being sold that wasn’t truly Brunello. It was a big scandal and they confiscated vintages from a number of wineries. Ever since there has been a level of mistrust around all Brunellos.

Wine included:Brunello di Montalcino, Pertimali, 1982

Brunello di Montalcino, Canalicchio di Sopra, 2004

Brunello di Montalcino, Canalicchio di Sopra, 2006

Chianti Classico Riserva, San Giusto a Rentennano, 1985

Rosso di Montalcino, Caprili, 2014

Chef Jonah’s meal will include:
Antipasto of Winter Vegetables, Fruits, and Grains
with Gorgonzola DolceTajarin with Paine Farms Pigeon Ragu

Wood-Fired Grilled Magruder Beef with Brown Butter Squash Crema,
Bianco di Maggio Onions, and Brunello Beef Sugo

Prix Fixe Dinner with Wine – $195
(Tax and service charge not included)
Reserve Online or Call 510.547.5356

Menu Announced for Barbaresco Dinner with Aldo Vacca

barbaresco-sign-web-courtesy-of-produttori

Dinner with Aldo Vacca
Thursday, March 24, 7pm

Call to reserve (510) 547-5356

Elusive, feminine Barbaresco is meant to be savored with food, and in the case of our upcoming dinner with friend and mentor Aldo Vacca of Produttori del Barbaresco, the food will be as eloquent, and as outrageously good, as the wine.

While we compare two Barbaresco vineyards over the course of four vintages, chef Jonah will be treating us to food from the region – of which the cotechino is eagerly anticipated. A new addition to chef Jonah’s repertoire, it will be similar to the one he created for our recent Whole Hog Dinners, in which the muscles were removed from a pig’s shank, stuffed back into its skin, and braised in wine.

Menu

Warm salad of roasted vegetables with bagna cauda classica
Vitello tonnato classic Northern Italian cold veal with tuna sauce
Tajarin with pigeon ragù
Cotechino al Barolo with de Puy lentils and salsa verde
Crema di latticello with poached rhubarb, elderflower granita, juniper-rhubarb reduction and meringue crumb

Wine

1982 Asili
2001 Asili vs Ovello
2004 Asili vs Ovello
2009 Asili vs Ovello

 

This intimate four-course prix-fixe dinner will take place in the Siena room.

150/person
not including tax and service charge
March 24th, 7p
Call to Reserve
2017-09-12T15:46:39+00:00 March 17th, 2016|Coming up..., Italy, Piedmont, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Winemaker Dinner with Aldo Vacca

 

Photo courtesy of Produttori del Barbaresco.

Photo courtesy of Produttori del Barbaresco.

March 24, 2016 at 7pm
Call to Reserve (510) 547-5356

We’re endlessly fond of our longtime friend Aldo Vacca, a gentle, highly intelligent soul whose light hand, as the director of world-renowned Produttori del Barbaresco, persuades the Nebbiolo grape to express what seems inexpressible – the essence of a place.

His skill has made his wine cooperative world-renowned, and he’s done much to shape our own cellar and ideas about wine.

Our list of single-vineyard Barbarescos from the Produttori is extensive, going back to 1979. Made without care to trends, focused exclusively on place, they are elusive, delicate, untamed, and made to age, which they do in surprising ways. We sent Aldo the full list and he’s selected seven for our comparison – four different vintages that represent two very different vineyards in the area.

2009 Asili vs Ovello
2004 Asili vs Ovello
2001 Asili vs Ovello
1982 Asili

It will be a fascinating evening with a master craftsman. Aldo is an inspiring teacher of terroir – in fact we made a video in tribute to what he’s taught us. The four-course prix-fixe dinner will be intimate, taking place in the Siena room. Be sure to call, instead of making an online reservation, to be certain of booking.

150/person
not including tax and service charge
March 24th, 2016 at 7pm

Call to Reserve!
(510) 547-5356

Think Big — Go Ahead.

IMG_1614

There are only two days left of Randall Grahm’s (Bonny Doon Vineyard) crowdfunding campaign for his new, incredible, vineyard Popelouchum. Several great perks remain, including the unique opportunity to sit at the table and dine with Randall and New York Times food writer Mark Bittman as they discuss Randall’s most audacious plan yet – to create a true California terroir-driven wine.

It will surely be an amazing meeting of the minds. Over the years, we’ve never missed an opportunity to hear Randall’s intellectually rigorous flights of fancy. We’re equally eager to spend time with our newer friend, the immensely insightful and knowledgeable journalist Mark Bittman. And we’re thrilled to host an intimate dinner with both of them at Oliveto.

Popelouchum is a vineyard in San Juan Bautista that’s trying to take California terroir-driven winemaking into its next phase. To listen to Grahm speak about it- or write about it,  as he does, prodigiously, on his blog – the undertaking is immense, with wide-ranging considerations that are at once terrestrial and poetic.

With Popelouchum, he hopes to breed new grape varieties by planting them by seed (as opposed to cloning). The goals of his breeding plan are many. We’ve teased out a few for you:

  • To discover new grape varieties that reveal the unique characteristics of his land. Instead of mimicking Burgundy in its traditions and its grapes, Grahm hopes to discover a uniquely Californian wine – just as haunting as the Burgundies, and with its own character, nuances, and enchantments.
  • To discover new varieties that are “less needful of heroic levels of intervention”, and that require less water. (Such grapes could have “greater utility in a warmer, drier world”.)

To be privy to Grahm’s dreams makes one’s head swim in the most pleasant way. And to be able to help in making the dreams a reality, will make such swimming an even greater delight.

We think Popelouchum is a profoundly worthwhile endeavor, and we hope many will get into it. In support, we are also offering a free pizza downstairs in the Cafe if you bring us a receipt of your contribution of $25 or more to Randall’s extraordinary project.

To take part, read more here.

2017-09-12T15:46:53+00:00 August 20th, 2015|California, Coming up...|0 Comments

Randall Grahm’s Visionary Project

RandallGrahm1

Grahm planting some of the first grapes at Popelouchum.

 

Visit Randall Grahm’s Restaurant Row and make something happen.

Our friend Randall Grahm of Bonny Doon Vineyard has launched a project, a “life’s work” kind of project, to create an original vineyard that in every way mines the attributes of place.

Hearing a winemaker speak of terroir has become meaningless. But that doesn’t mean that terroir is without meaning.  Randall’s search for terroir is brilliant, far-reaching, and though hard to imagine, makes you want to imagine.  The vineyard is being built at his new property in San Juan Bautista, and is called Popelouchum.

Read about it here, and consider supporting it.  It is so rare to have the opportunity to support something actually original. There are perks involved.  Note Randall’s very fine Restaurant Row.

 

Restaurant_Row_Grid 8.3.15 FOUR ONLY (1)

 

2017-09-12T15:46:53+00:00 August 5th, 2015|California, Coming up..., Events|0 Comments

A Tasting with Alto Piemonte’s Brilliant Young Winemaker Cristiano Garella

We are great admirers of young winemaker Cristiano Garella. Considered a “whiz kid” by Wine Spectator, he quickly made his mark with outrageously good wines in the emerging region of Northern Piedmont. At the age of 23, he was made the winemaker of Tenute Sella, the most prominent winery in the region at that time, and manager of the whole estate a year later. Now 30, he is a consulting winemaker for a number of small producers in Northern Piedmont, and one in the Oltrepò Pavese.

“Cristiano is my kind of enologist,” says wine importer Oliver McCrum, “very technologically savvy but committed to making wines that express terroir through largely traditional techniques. He’s an amazing taster, too.”

This area is considered up-and-coming, but actually the area was producing Nebbiolo far before Barolo and Barbaresco became fashionable — in fact it is the original home of Nebbiolo, and these new wines are a reconnection to the area’s past and its long-held traditions, which are capable of producing beautiful, age-worthy reds with character.

We will be tasting four wines based on the delicate and complex Nebbiolo grape, coming from three different growing areas in Northern Piedmont — Bramaterra, Fara, and Lessona, all with varying soil types and terrain. These wines come from small, young wineries for which Garella consults: Le Pianelle, Boniperti, and La Prevostura. Garella makes wine organically, favoring a low-intervention approach with natural yeasts.

After the tasting, our menu upstairs will feature Garella’s wines by the glass and Piedmontese dishes, and Garella will be present to discuss his wines.
August 16th, 5:30 pm to 6:15 pm

$40.

 

REGISTER
2017-09-12T15:46:54+00:00 July 30th, 2015|Commons Past Events, Events, Happened already..., Italy, Piedmont, Wine Events|Comments Off on A Tasting with Alto Piemonte’s Brilliant Young Winemaker Cristiano Garella

Visitors from Sicily

CiroandStef

Monday, June 15th

We’re huge fans of Ciro and Stef Biondi. They are smart, generous, and full of life. Their wines are too. While their vineyards have been producing wine for centuries on Mt. Etna, Ciro hit the restart button less than two decades ago, trying to make a great wine, taking full advantage of the extraordinary gifts of Mt. Etna — its young volcanic soil, its altitude high above the sea, and warm days.

We’re pleased to introduce you to them. Ciro and Stef will be in the Oliveto dining room, pouring their wines (some older vintages too) this coming Monday, and Chef Jonah will be offering some appropriate dishes to go with these wines:

  • Fritto of house made ricotta-stuffed squash blossoms
  • Crudo of swordfish with oregano, currants, pine nuts, and lemon
  • Rigatoni alla trapanese
  • Spaghetti with fresh anchovies, saffron, pine nuts, and raisins
  • Charcoal-grilled pork porterhouse with eggplant, artichoke, and salmoriglio

There are also a few places still available in the 6:15 to 7 PM tasting that Ciro will offering in our private dining room.

  • 2014 Biondi ‘Outis’ Etna Bianco
  • 2013 Biondi ‘Outis’ Etna Rosso
  • 2011 ‘Cisterna Fuori’
  • 2008 Biondi ‘Outis’ Etna Rosso
  • 2007 Biondi ‘Monte Ilice’ Etna Rosso

The tasting is $40. Register here.
After the tasting, stay for dinner.