May 21, 2010

Meeting Rocco: An Intimate Dinner, Wine Tasting & Small Bite Pairing

Into the Heart of LA | My Trip to Beverly Hills via Bertolli!
Photo via Briana

The grand finale of our “Into the Heart of LA” culinary experience with Bertolli was a private, intimate meet and greet with celebrity chef Rocco DiSpirito. After a whirlwind day full of pampering, limos, celebrity treatment, meeting new friends, tasting new foods, exploring LA’s unique culinary scene and uncovering its passion for food, Bertolli saved the best for last.

Into the Heart of LA | My Trip to Beverly Hills via Bertolli!

We were taken to Culina, the newly opened Italian restaurant at the Four Seasons’ Beverly Wilshire, and escorted to a private back dining room where we all waited anxiously for Rocco to arrive.

Into the Heart of LA | My Trip to Beverly Hills via Bertolli!
Photo via Briana

Into the Heart of LA | My Trip to Beverly Hills via Bertolli!

We were in for a treat with the special small bites tasting menu designed especially for us.

Into the Heart of LA | My Trip to Beverly Hills via Bertolli!

And then came Rocco. He sat down, and I was within wine glass clinking distance!

Into the Heart of LA | My Trip to Beverly Hills via Bertolli!

Rocco asked us about ourselves, our blogs, and our day in LA.

Into the Heart of LA | My Trip to Beverly Hills via Bertolli!

He told us about his recent trip to Italy with Bertolli, his passion for fresh, local ingredients, and where he finds inspiration.

Into the Heart of LA | My Trip to Beverly Hills via Bertolli!

Deep in conversation with Jenny from Picky Palate about food, family, and flavor.

Into the Heart of LA | My Trip to Beverly Hills via Bertolli!

Culina’s sommelier, Brick, explains our wine pairings with each course. Lucky for you, Briana gently explained to me what a “sommelier” was. I was just gonna call him “Brick the Wine Guy”. *blush*

Into the Heart of LA | My Trip to Beverly Hills via Bertolli!

Into the Heart of LA | My Trip to Beverly Hills via Bertolli!

Culina’s new modern Italian chef, Victor Casanova (love his name!), came out to greet us and tell us about our courses.

Into the Heart of LA | My Trip to Beverly Hills via Bertolli!

Plate One

Involitini Di Manzo
Kobe A-5. Delta Asparagus. Enoki Mushrooms. Parmigiano Reggiano.

Wine: Nebbiolo d’Alba. giacosa fratelli. 2007 piedmont.

Into the Heart of LA | My Trip to Beverly Hills via Bertolli!
Photo via Jenny

Melt-in-your-mouth, buttery Kobe beef wrapped around a spring of asparagus, tiny enoki mushrooms, and Parmigiano Reggiano.

Into the Heart of LA | My Trip to Beverly Hills via Bertolli!

Rocco asked Chef Victor to show us his prized Kobe beef, a delicacy cut from cows that are massaged daily to produce this highest quality of flavor, tenderness, and marbled texture.

Into the Heart of LA | My Trip to Beverly Hills via Bertolli!
Photo via Shelisa

Into the Heart of LA | My Trip to Beverly Hills via Bertolli!

Plate Two

Caponata Di Carciofi
Baby Artichokes. Castelvetrano Green Olives. San Marzano Tomato.

Wine: Pinot Bianco. haberle. alois lageder. alto adige 2007.

Into the Heart of LA | My Trip to Beverly Hills via Bertolli!

Plate Three

Suppli Al Telefono
Saffron Risotto Croquette. Mozzarella Di Bufala. Tomato Sugo.

Wine: Mamertino. cru timpanara. vasari. sicily 2006.

Into the Heart of LA | My Trip to Beverly Hills via Bertolli!
Photo via Jenny

Gorgeous photo of our third plate by Jenny. It was as incredible as it looks.

Into the Heart of LA | My Trip to Beverly Hills via Bertolli!

After our dinner with Rocco (it lasted about an hour!) we each got to sit down and chat with him, have our pictures made, and get our books signed. Bertolli had given us all copies of his newest book, Now Eat This, in our welcome gift bags.

Into the Heart of LA | My Trip to Beverly Hills via Bertolli!

Into the Heart of LA | My Trip to Beverly Hills via Bertolli!

Into the Heart of LA | My Trip to Beverly Hills via Bertolli!

Into the Heart of LA | My Trip to Beverly Hills via Bertolli!

Apparently Rocco was quite charming. Do I look smitten? *blush*

Into the Heart of LA | My Trip to Beverly Hills via Bertolli!

I also brought along an extra book for Rocco to sign… Can you tell what it says? I’ll give you a hint…

“To a fellow Kevin and Amanda fan. Congratulations! Rocco XO”

Into the Heart of LA | My Trip to Beverly Hills via Bertolli!

Rocco asked if my readers were mostly female, and when I said yes, he added the XO. ;)

Into the Heart of LA | My Trip to Beverly Hills via Bertolli!
Photo via Pat

Giveaway!

If you’d like this copy of Rocco’s new book, Now Eat This, dedicated to a special Kevin & Amanda reader, just leave me a comment on this post by 7pm, Saturday, May 22nd. :) I’ll announce the randomly chosen winner on Monday. :)

Winner!

Congrats to #416 Becky! “Thanks for sharing your amazing pics. I would love love love to win his book. He’s a cutie.

Into the Heart of LA | My Trip to Beverly Hills via Bertolli!

There’s more…

My trip to LA didn’t end here… I stayed an extra 3 days in California and took in the gorgeous beaches of Santa Monica, Malibu, and Venice, the glitz of Hollywood, Sunset Blvd, & Melrose, and even drove down to the OC to bake with Jenny in the Picky Palate kitchen. :) Stay tuned… :)



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1
Tina May 21, 2010 at 7:14 am

Oh, Amanda, what an absolutely fabulous trip! It looks like you had an absolutely incredible time. Thanks for letting us participate vicariously through your wonderful pictures!

2
KT May 21, 2010 at 2:43 pm

WoW!!! What an amazing trip! Too bad you didn’t make it up my way-Wine Country!

3
Kelly M May 21, 2010 at 7:17 am

OMG he is totally gorgeous! You are so lucky to have met him and I’ve enjoyed your blog this week!

4
Maggie May 21, 2010 at 7:18 am

Thanks for the opportunity to win Rocco’s book! What a fabulous trip. Thanks for sharing.

5
Lauren | Pegasus Photography May 21, 2010 at 7:18 am

What a fun trip!! I love your dress and little shrug – it’s so adorable. Can I ask where you got it? :) Would love the book and would die to taste that kobe beef! ♥

6
Chris W May 21, 2010 at 7:19 am

Amanda, what a “dream come true” experience for you! Thank you so very much for sharing your adventure with us! The photos are wonderful and the eye candy is not bad too! Thank you for also sharing this opporunity with us. Owning an autographed copy would be totally awesome! Enjoy your blog, thanks so very much!

7
Leigh Anne Lindsey May 21, 2010 at 7:19 am

I’m a new fan of Kevin & Amanda and I love your site! So glad I got to see pictures of your trip!! Looks like you had a fabulous time!

8
Lynette May 21, 2010 at 7:20 am

Wow Amanda it looks like you had a wonderful time in LA. Meeting Rocco looked like a lot of fun, and would LOVE to get this book, I need to lose weight and it looks like this would help so much. thanks for this opportunity.
Lynette~

9
Angie Barrett May 21, 2010 at 7:21 am

looks like you had an awesome trip!!!!!!!!! All of the food and all of the pictures from your trip so far look amazing!!!!!!! I’d Love to win that book!!

10
Valerie P. May 21, 2010 at 7:21 am

It looks like you guys had such a wonderful time. Rocco is so cute! I would love to win his book.

Valerie

11
Annette Bowers May 21, 2010 at 7:21 am

Wow! I am so jealous. You got to hug him!!!!! You are so very lucky!

12
jenna May 21, 2010 at 7:22 am

That looks like an AWESOME trip and of course I would love a piece him… uh I mean the book. ;)

13
Elizabeth May 21, 2010 at 7:23 am

Would love to have Rocco’s book. Thanks for the chance to own.
Love your dress and shrug in these pictures. Such a handsome
gentleman too……….

14
Stephanie May 21, 2010 at 7:23 am

I am having so much fun reading all about your trip! What an experience! So jealous but happy for you at the same time. :-)

15
Deidre May 21, 2010 at 7:26 am

Oh my gracious! I wouldn’t be able to speak a word (other than a serious nervous giggle) had I been that close to Rocco! He’s so dreamy and the Bertolli videos he seemed so down to earth. Yay for a great trip!

16
Keely May 21, 2010 at 7:28 am

I’ve enjoyed reading about your exciting trip! Bet the pups were happy when you got home. :) Would love to be the lucky gal to receive Rocco’s book!

17
terri May 21, 2010 at 7:34 am

ohhhh my goodness! so jealous of your ROCCO encounter! i love that he signed the book with a little smooch and huggie!!! thanks for sharing the deets of your fun trip!!!

18
Carla May 21, 2010 at 7:34 am

WOW!! What a trip…I am sooo jealous. I have been looking forward to these pictures. Looks like you had a memorable time…

19
Natalie May 21, 2010 at 7:35 am

What an amazing trip! You are one lucky girl! Rocco is so cute.

20
Patricia Coffey May 21, 2010 at 7:37 am

Wow – what a great trip! I’m so glad you had the experience and took us all along! Great pictures :)

21
LindsayL. May 21, 2010 at 7:38 am

What a fun and exciting trip! I have to win this book, I just *have* to!! :)

22
Leiah May 21, 2010 at 7:40 am

WOW! The pictures are amazing and I really shouldn’t have read this before breakfast because now I want some sort of garlicky, savory, pasta dish and it’s only 7:15 a.m.!

23
Dianna May 21, 2010 at 7:41 am

How awesome, yummy. Would love to win this one. My stomach is now growling. lol

24
Andrea May 21, 2010 at 7:41 am

Wowwwwwwwwww!!! I am sooooooooooo jealous!!!
He’s soooooooo gorgeus!!!

25
aimee May 21, 2010 at 7:42 am

What a fantastic trip you had!! I have thoroughly enjoyed all of the pictures! I would love to win the book – LOVE Rocco! Thanks for the chance to win!!

26
Paulette Payne May 21, 2010 at 7:44 am

What an amazing trip! I have enjoyed reading all about your trip and seeing all the great pictures you’ve taken. Your pictures are awesome…makes me feel like I am right there with you! Thanks for sharing!

27
Michelle May 21, 2010 at 7:45 am

Oh my what a fun trip! :) The food looks amazing and what an experience to meet Rocco! Thanks for the chance to win.

28
Jennifer May 21, 2010 at 7:46 am

AHH! Fun. Awesome. Exciting. Fabulous. I’m so jealous! AHH!

29
Jamie May 21, 2010 at 7:46 am

What an awsome trip! The food looks amazing, Rocco looks fab and I am so jealous! Thanks for sharing this with all of us! I would love to win the book!

30
Niki May 21, 2010 at 7:47 am

I can’t wait until I can get to a bookstore to check this book out. I’ve been sticking to my diet – lost 20 lbs so far – but am getting tired of the few low-cal recipes I have. I could sure use some new ones!

31
Kandra May 21, 2010 at 7:48 am

How fun! That dinner looked delicious too! And that cookbook looks like it has some good recipes too :)

32
Andrea S. May 21, 2010 at 7:48 am

oooh! Fabulous photos! Of course I’d like a signed copy of the book…since I didn’t get to go with you. (and obviously it would have been weird for Ben to go with that big ol’ group of dolled up girls! haha. Looks like it was an awesome trip!

33
Tina Mac May 21, 2010 at 7:49 am

WOW, Amanda, What a great trip! Looks like you all had a wonderful time. And that one on one time with Rocco must have been unbelievable (hope Kevin wasn’t too jealous;->).

34
LeAnne May 21, 2010 at 7:51 am

Looks like you had an awesome time! I have loved looking at all the pictures. Glad you were able to experience all this.

35
Angela May 21, 2010 at 7:52 am

Looks like so much fun! What great memories!!!

36
Sarai May 21, 2010 at 7:52 am

Looks like your trip was amazing!! I’d love to get my hands on that Rocco cookbook!

37
Daisie May 21, 2010 at 7:52 am

WOW. Lucky you for meeting Rocco!! Hopefully lucky me for winning his book???

38
Cary May 21, 2010 at 7:52 am

Amanda, I am sooooo jealous! Your trip sounds “fairy-taleish!” I am sure that isn’t a word but you know what I mean!~!

39
Emily P. May 21, 2010 at 7:53 am

Amanda,
I’m really enjoying all your posts about your trip! I’ve never been on a trip so I’m living through yours :)

40
Krissa May 21, 2010 at 7:57 am

OH MY HECK!!!! i am so so jealous!!! I love Rocco!!! and I have been wanting this book…oh how i would love to win!!!!!

41
Mallory May 21, 2010 at 7:58 am

Great pictures! I love that you are sharing with us. I’d love to win the book!

42
shanna uptergrove May 21, 2010 at 7:58 am

What an amazing dinner with Rocco! Can’t wait to read about your next 3 days in Cali! I LOVED Santa Monica when I visited there 9 years ago!

43
Mary Anne May 21, 2010 at 8:00 am

It makes me want to follow the same itinerary and go to California right now! Great photos and what an awesome opportunity! I’d love to win that book!

44
Allison F May 21, 2010 at 8:02 am

OH MY! you totally out do yourself! Thanks for thinking of all of us!

45
Mary May 21, 2010 at 8:04 am

Thanks for sharing the special moments of your trip! So happy that you had such a great opportunity to visit LA and meet Rocco… awesome!!

46
Ginger May 21, 2010 at 8:05 am

Amanda – wow! what an amazing trip you had – I am so jealous, but a copy of Rocco’s new book might help! I enjoy your blog so much – thank you for all your wonderful pictures, tips, and for sharing it all!

47
Kelly May 21, 2010 at 8:05 am

I’m so happy you got to have this experience, Amanda. What a wonderful trip!! Thanks for sharing your photos. I would love Rocco’s signed book….he looks as yummy as the food! Thanks for the chance to win. :-)

48
Jessica May 21, 2010 at 8:06 am

Thank you so much for sharing your trip with us! Can’t wait to see the other pictures! Put me down for winning the cookbook! :)

49
Monique F. May 21, 2010 at 8:07 am

What an amazing trip you had! The photos you took of the food, people, and places you went made me feel like I was right there with you. I am sure that this was an unforgettable experience for you. Rocco looks wonderful,I can only imagine how great it was to meet him!

50
Krysten May 21, 2010 at 8:07 am

Amanda thank you so much for sharing your incredible experience with us through your terrific selection from what must have been 100′s of photos, and your colorful descriptions! I felt just like I was there!

51
Jen W May 21, 2010 at 8:07 am

What an amazing week! I’ve never been out there so it was fun to read about and see all of the great experiences you’ve had on your trip!

52
angi aka jinxi~ May 21, 2010 at 8:08 am

Ive thoroughly enjoyed your trip to LA via your blog. You were really treated like a celebrity! I love the photography and am envious of your visit with Rocco ;)
Thank you so much for sharing with us.. and I am soooo happy I found your blog!!!

ps:Your dogs are soooo cute! Even my husband gets a kick out of seeing the photos of them! :)

53
Doreen May 21, 2010 at 8:10 am

Looks like a fabolous time! Wow! All the culinary trucks. Wish we had that here. You were one lucky person to have that wonderful experience. Thanks for sharing through the wonderful photos. Maybe I will be lucky……….Thanks!!

54
Chandani B May 21, 2010 at 8:10 am

I am so Jealous! Looks like you girls had a BLAST! :)

55
Lori McC May 21, 2010 at 8:14 am

How awesomely fun! Looks like he enjoyed talking to you too! Thanks for sharing the trip with us. Looking forward to the next segment!

56
Lisa C May 21, 2010 at 8:14 am

Amanda, it has been such a blast following your adventures vicariously! What a total thrill to meet Rocco and get to spend some time enjoying some of the best California has to offer!

57
Barb in FL May 21, 2010 at 8:15 am

What a fantastic evening. It was nice to see the different plates and the wines. Fresh ingredients are so important in making a wonderful meal. I think I’ll have to get Rocco’s book….he is handsome isn’t he?!!! ;) Continue to have fun and keeping us tagging along with your postings!!!!

58
Meryl May 21, 2010 at 8:15 am

WOW – what a great experience and great photography! Thanks for sharing. I’d love to win Rocco’s book. Pick me! :O) Thanks for the chance.

59
Heidi May 21, 2010 at 8:16 am

Loved hearing of your adventures in LA. I have been there myself and had a great time…thanks for sharing your trip with all of us!

60
Tammy May 21, 2010 at 8:16 am

I have really enjoyed reading about your trip! It sounds like it was so exciting!

61
Claudia May 21, 2010 at 8:18 am

It looks like you all had an amazing trip! I think I would have been smitten while speaking with Rocco too. ;)

62
Dorene Donaldson May 21, 2010 at 8:22 am

Your blog and all the photos always are excellent, but this one is over the top. Thanks for making it feel as if each of your followers were there with you the whole time. I could smell the food, and taste the wine. What a wonderful trip of a lifetime. Looking forward to more.

63
Brenda Jorgensen May 21, 2010 at 8:22 am

The beautiful pics of the food are making me soooo hungry and all I have is cold cereal for breakfast. Hmpf!! Thanks for sharing, I can’t wait to see what you did in Jenny’s kitchen!

64
Nita May 21, 2010 at 8:22 am

Thanks for the chance to win the book. What a lovely & fun trip you had.

65
Jaime P. May 21, 2010 at 8:24 am

Amazing photos of your amazing trip! And yum to the food and Rocco! hee hee. Thanks for thinking of us with this giveaway!!!

66
Mary May 21, 2010 at 8:25 am

Um, oh my gah…are you going to frame any of those pics and hang them in your living room? Because I would! What an absolute hottie!!!

P.S. I would totally hang that cookbook in my living room if I won!

Mary :)

67
Martha S. May 21, 2010 at 8:26 am

OMGravy!!! Rocco is just a beautiful man. And he can cook. *sigh* (Yes, my husband knows about this little crush!)

Your trip sounds fabulous and I think it’s awesome you got to experience it like you did!

Thanks for the chance to win Rocco’s book. If I don’t win, it’s certainly going to be on my wish list. Gotta watch this girlish figure (that is more of a mommy figure at the moment…).

Thanks for sharing!!

68
Jenn May 21, 2010 at 8:27 am

What a fabulous time it looks like you had! Thank you for sharing with us all the details and photos of your trip!

69
Mary May 21, 2010 at 8:28 am

I’m pretty sure I would have melted like that delicious cheese ball-ey thing sitting next to him! What a lucky girl you are Amanda!!

70
Carla May 21, 2010 at 8:28 am

I too, am enjoying this recap of your absolutely *amazing* trip Amanda! The pictures of you & Rocco are excellent!!! What a trip of a lifetime!

71
Rhonda H May 21, 2010 at 8:29 am

Wow Amanda! A trip of a lifetime. I’ve enjoyed seeing it through your eyes.

72
Renae May 21, 2010 at 8:29 am

Wow! What an awesome trip. I almost didn’t want to read because i’m so jealous!! You deserve it though, happy to hear you were able to spend some time in So Cal…one of my favorite places in the world! And i’m from Nebraska so I don’t get there often. :)

73
Audra May 21, 2010 at 8:32 am

Amanda, what a fabulous inspiration you are! I’ve been feeling a bit lost lately, and finding your blog has really helped me to believe that better days are possible if I can believe in myself again. I want to thank you for simply being the best of who you are, and for having the grace to share it so wonderfully with all of us.

Very sincerely,
Audra

74
Lauren May 21, 2010 at 8:32 am

How fantastic! It seems like you’ve had such a great trip! I’ve read every single e-mail! I look forward to them!

75
Cathy May 21, 2010 at 8:34 am

Thanks for sharing your LA experience with us. It looks like you had a fantabulous time and my mouth is watering looking at all of the food photos you took.

76
Candy May 21, 2010 at 8:34 am

Looks like you had a wonderful time!! Can’t wait to see the rest of the pictures from your trip.

Candy

77
bonnie May 21, 2010 at 8:35 am

mouth-watering … and the food looked delicious too! HA!

78
Tina May 21, 2010 at 8:37 am

Oh wow!! It looks like you’ve had quite the experience of a lifetime!!
Totally jealous!

79
Mary K May 21, 2010 at 8:37 am

Who could resist a book that looks that GOOD on the cover? :)

80
Victoria May 21, 2010 at 8:37 am

goodness, he sure is dreamy, isn’t he! :)) I’d love to win the XO book :P and I love reading about your adventures! What a day!

81
Stacy May 21, 2010 at 8:38 am

Awesome pictures! Wow, Rocco sure is cute!!!!!!!

82
Susan J. May 21, 2010 at 8:38 am

Wow you are a lucky girl! Thanks for the chance to win a book!

83
Cara May 21, 2010 at 8:41 am

Looks like you had a blast! I’m super jealous!

84
Lindsay May 21, 2010 at 8:41 am

I’ve been LOVING reading all about your LA trip. Looks fabulous dah-ling! :) Thanks for the giveaway!

85
Shannon S. May 21, 2010 at 8:43 am

What wonderful pictures and the food looks absolutely amazing!

86
Felicita May 21, 2010 at 8:44 am

OMG Rocco is sooo cute!!! Lucky you to see him face to face!!! ♥♥

87
Susan May 21, 2010 at 8:45 am

OMGosh! Even if I don’t win, I NEED that cookbook!!!

88
Tiffany May 21, 2010 at 8:46 am

Oh my goodness, you look like you had so much fun! I would love to suprise my husband with this book ( he’s the one that does all the cooking around here) and I know he’d just flip! Thanks for sharing your experience with all of us, I feel like I was right there with you!!!

89
Jennifer in Idaho May 21, 2010 at 8:46 am

Thanks for sharing all of this with us! I love the way I feel when I read your posts….like I know you personally, and I was there. {sigh}

90
Molly in MN May 21, 2010 at 8:46 am

STILL incredibly jealous!! Looks like a fabulous time! and how thoughtful are you to bring an extra book for all of us!

91
Angi Snyder May 21, 2010 at 8:49 am

It’s been fun reading your blog. The book is a nice surprise.

92
Katie May 21, 2010 at 8:50 am

WOW! Sounds (and looks!) like you had a great trip! Sometimes Rocco is on The Biggest Loser teaching the contestants about healthy living and eating. He is such a cutie!

Katie

93
Turley Times May 21, 2010 at 8:51 am

I would love a copy of Rocco’s book – thanks for the chance to win! Your photos with him look so great…when I saw the last photo I hoped that he didn’t get black Sharpie on the back of your pretty sweater! :)

Hannah

94
Mandy May 21, 2010 at 8:52 am

Wow, wow, WOW! I am so jealous. What a once in a lifetime experience! And my lands he is completely delicious isn’t he? Your photos are AMAZING! Thanks for letting us live through you this week.

95
Katie May 21, 2010 at 8:53 am

i LOVE Rocco! You’re so Lucky!

96
Elizabeth Reed May 21, 2010 at 8:57 am

Sounds like a fabulous trip! The foodie in me is jealous. Can’t wait to read about the rest of it.

97
Coni May 21, 2010 at 8:57 am

Wow! Your trip looked fabulous! I have enjoyed reading about it this week and I look forward to more!

98
Wendi May 21, 2010 at 8:58 am

Yeah, Rocco is definitely easy on the eyes! Glad y’all had so much fun!

99
Kelly Katz May 21, 2010 at 8:58 am

Wow, Amanda! What a terrific experience! Thank you for the chance to win an amazing book….signed at that.

100
Amanda May 21, 2010 at 9:01 am

Wow – I’m so jealous of your adventures! I’d love to win a copy of the book!

101
Lexi May 21, 2010 at 9:01 am

Would I like a copy of Rocco’s book???? I would LOVE a copy !!!!!!! Soooo jealous!

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