I got an invite to a five-course Tuscan wine dinner and was impressed with the set up. We were all seated at a giant white table in a private room overlooking the patio. It was very reminiscent of a wedding (maybe I've got it on my mind?) or the Mad Hatter's tea party. We got right down to business sampling wines and appetizers, some of which aren't on the menu - yet. The mushroom bruschetta was a big hit, and I loved the goat cheese with pink peppercorns.
Next up was a salad featuring a fried soft-shell crab and garlic aioli. While they look weird, these crabs sure are tasty. They were quite succulent, and the wait staff said they were delivered live earlier in the day. And you can't have dinner at an Italian restaurant without a pasta course. This dish was homemade, complete with bolognese sauce.
It only made me more hungry for the main course, which was a rather unconventional highlight. We dined on monkfish wrapped in pancetta and served with green lentils and a spicy broccoli slaw. It was my favorite dish of the night by far, and I was surprised how tender and flavorful the monkfish was. The slaw was a great complement to the unexpectedly creamy lentil accouterments.
I always leave room for dessert, and you better believe I polished this off. It was a creamy goat cheese panna cotta topped with roasted figs and a touch of honey. It was an ideal balance of sour and sweet. I would've never considered a savory and pungent ingredient like goat cheese as a dessert option, but it cut through the sweetness of the roasted figs.
A huge thanks to Carlucci's for the invite!