Thursday, March 24, 2011


My birthday started with someone cooking breakfast for me and ended with someone cooking dinner for me - a Vinogirl could get used to that.
For dinner, Vinomaker had made reservations at Oenotri an Italian restaurant in downtown Napa. The restaurant's website boasts;
"We celebrate culinary traditions rarely seen elsewhere in California - the specialities of Sicily, Campania, Calabria, Basilicata, and Puglia...and our pasta is made fresh daily...As part of our goal to serve quality artisinal pizza, we imported a wood-fueled Acino oven from Naples to bake authentic pizza Napoletana."
So, Vinomaker and I braced ourselves for a gastronomic tour of all things Italian...oh yum!
The food was pretty good, although the portions were quite paltry (definitely a culinary tradition rarely seen elsewhere in California). The wine list was extensive, but we opted to undertake a self guided virtual-vino-tour of Italy by choosing wines from Oenotri's by the glass list. Vinomaker enjoyed a Collestefano Verdicchio with his quail salad, so much so that he paired a second glass with his main course of scallops. I had a Sartori Roccolo Grassi Soave with my mixed greens salad and a glass of Reversanti Barabresco with my main course, Bucatini all'Amatriciana. Finally, we shared a glass of Fama Fiororange, a dessert wine made from Orange muscat, to wash down a ricotta, pear and pistachio tart.
All in all, it was a pleasant evening. However, I did find it a tad curious that no bread was served with dinner. Now, coming from Liverpool, the city that invented the butty, I felt it my duty to ask the waitress why no bread had been offered. To paraphrase, the waitress told me that there were two reasons for the bread-drought; firstly, the chef apparently believes that to give patrons bread would overload them with too many carbohydrates and secondly, well darn it, people are simply just too wasteful. Okay then!
I'm not sure if I will be visiting Oenotri again, but if nutritional nannyism along with food rationing is your thing, then perhaps Oenotri is just the restaurant for you!


Cesar Valverde said...

Ouch! No bread!? Pandering to the adderall crowd methinks.

Thud said...

No bread...then no dough from me!...and thank you!

Do Bianchi said...

the butty! ha! sorry your birthday dinner was a little disappointing... beware of folks who sell authenticity!

Vinogirl said...

Cesar: No bread!!!

Thud: Remember the Silver Grill in Totnes? Customers had to pay for their bread and butter (to make chip butties) but at least it was offered.
Oenotri isn't exactly a cheap restaurant, you'd think they could offer their customers a morsel of bread to mop up their tomato sauce!

2B: Yes, the venerable butty - the sixth food group :)
Authenticity, a much maligned concept!

Thomas said...

Authenticity: hah!

To truly be authentic, the restaurant would have to be run by "mama," the wines would have to be poured as house wines in all kinds of glasses, and the prices would have to make you look twice to be sure you aren't robbing the restaurant rather than the other way round. And the bread: that would have to be all over the table...although, bread is the one thing that often disappoints me in Italy; too soft.

Vinogirl said...

Thomas, I'm thinking that you would not have enjoyed Oenotri at all.

Ron Combo said...

I drank some Collestefano Verdicchio in Urbino, lovely stuff!
Ah, The Silver Grill in Totnes - I went out with the chemist's daughter from Totnes but it all ended in tears. It always did.

Vinogirl said...

Ron, the Verdicchio was lovely, the kind of wine that makes you smile...pity your memories of Totnes don't do the same :)