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Calabrian Tasting Menu at L'Amante 

Last Thursday, D. and I went to the first of L'Amante's special regional dinners. Here's a snippet about these dinners from my Side Dishes column:

"It's a good time for lovers of Italian cuisine. For the fifth year in a row, the well-traveled folks at L'Amantewill help diners survive the coldest weeks of winter by offering themsamples of food from sunnier climes. Each week, from January 14 throughFebruary 21, Chef Kevin Cleary will create a three-course menuto showcase the specialties of a particular Italian region. This yearhe's featuring Calabria, Trentino, Emilia-Romagna, Piedmont andTuscany. Dinners are $35 a person, with optional wine pairing, and areonly available on week nights. Valentine's Day week is an exception:L'Amante will revert to its regular menu for the occasion."

The meal began with a trio of crisp, deep-fried eggplant balls in a spicy tomato sauce (tomatoes are used in many Calabrian dishes). The sauce was an excellent accompaniment, and the whole was lovely and flavorful.

Next up: orecchiette with broccoli rabe. Bitter foods are tough for me to handle, and broccoli rabe is pretty bitter. However, the pasta had a great texture and the rabe was a fetching bright green. And I still managed to eat the whole thing.

Our final dish was roast pork with fennel stuffing served with mashed potatoes and spinach. The pork was perfect: amazingly brown and crisp on the outside but cooked just right in the middle. The sides were delicious, too. This one definitely blew us away!

Can't wait 'til the next one!

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Suzanne Podhaizer

Suzanne Podhaizer

Bio:
Contributor Suzanne Podhaizer is an award-winning food writer (and the former Seven Days food editor) as well as a chef, farmer, and food-systems consultant. She has given talks at the Stone Barns Center for Agriculture's "Poultry School" and its flagship "Young Farmers' Conference." She can slaughter a goose,... more

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