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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402
Allison May 22, 2010 at 3:17 pm

Sounds like SOOO much fun! I love Rocco and would love love love to have his book (signed)!!

403
Nicole May 22, 2010 at 3:18 pm

Congratulations on your big win and getting to experience the food scene in LA and meeting Rocco! We were down there just a week earlier and I wish you would have gone before us! There are so many things that I feel I missed out on!! :)

404
Ashley May 22, 2010 at 3:19 pm

I’ve been reading through all the posts so far, and how fun! Everything looks like it was such a blast! & I do have to say that I am quite jealous of this dinner! I could say because the food looks amazing, but really it’s because Rocco is such a doll! :D
I’m loving your outfit by the way!

Lots of Smiles!

Ashley

405
sadie May 22, 2010 at 3:34 pm

What an awesome experience! Looks like you had the best vacation ever. And wow, is Rocco handsome! I would have been blushing like a fool.

406
Elizabeth May 22, 2010 at 3:44 pm

I’m so glad you got to come out here to CA, it such a fun place :) I would LOVE to win that book!

407
Mindy Hunt May 22, 2010 at 3:46 pm

I am so jealous you were able to meet Rocco!! He is such a cutie! I would love to have that book!

408
Katie May 22, 2010 at 3:53 pm

I am in love with Rocco!

409
Cyndi J May 22, 2010 at 4:25 pm

WOW!! You had a fantastic trip….and dinner with one of the cutest chefs ever…lucky you!!!! Thanks for thinking of us with the extra book!!!

410
Tammy Hassebrock May 22, 2010 at 4:27 pm

Thanks for the chance to win. Looks like you had a great time.

Tam

411
Bernice May 22, 2010 at 4:27 pm

Looks like you had an amazing time there with Rocco! Must have been quite the yummy experience!

412
Ashley May 22, 2010 at 4:29 pm

Looks like you had a great time! That would be so awesome to add that cookbook to my collection. :)

413
Angie May 22, 2010 at 4:54 pm

What an amazing experience! Great photos!!

414
Brianna May 22, 2010 at 4:56 pm

Wow, what an amazing trip! I would have loved to meet Rocco, he’s such an amazing chef and not too hard on the eyes either. ;-)

415
Carla May 22, 2010 at 5:07 pm

XO right back at Rocco! What an amazing time you had and all the details you provided us with made me feel like I was dining with you. Thanks so much Amanda!

416
Jessica May 22, 2010 at 5:09 pm

That is just amazing! I am super jealous of your fantastic trip & dinner with the handsome Rocco! REALITY CHECK: My 4 y.o. is throwing Mr. Potato head around his room, my 2 y.o. needs his diaper changed and I need to get dinner started. Blast. Thanks for letting me live in your fabulous world for 10 minutes. It was fantastic!

417
Becky May 22, 2010 at 5:16 pm

Thanks for sharing your amazing pics. I would love love love to win his book. He’s a cutie.

418
Cathy Brown May 22, 2010 at 5:21 pm

Wow, what an amazing trip you have shared with us! Thank you for the chance to win this book!

419
Jen May 22, 2010 at 5:22 pm

What an amazing trip you had. All the food wine and cheeses look dellish!

420
Brooke May 22, 2010 at 5:52 pm

Crossing my fingers for this one. I like to eat from a variety of cuisines and being in Australia I’d have to say that American is something I’m not too familiar with. Sounds silly I know but I’ve never had anything like your pulled pork roast!

421
Aimee May 22, 2010 at 5:57 pm

Rocco is one of my favs! I’d love to win!!

422
Jayna May 22, 2010 at 6:59 pm

That looks like it was so fun! Thanks for the opportunity to win!

423
Lyssa May 22, 2010 at 7:35 pm

What an awesome experience! Congratulations!!! Can’t wait to try a new recipe!

424
Christina May 22, 2010 at 7:51 pm

How exciting it must have been to meet Rocco!!

425
Cheri May 22, 2010 at 8:36 pm

Amanda, looks like you had a fabulous time – His book looks really great – thanks for sharing your adventure!!!!

426
Wendy May 23, 2010 at 9:50 am

Great shots! Looks like you had a blast!

427
Heidi May 23, 2010 at 8:22 pm

What a great experience! That book looks fantastic. I was going to pick up a copy, but I’ll wait and see if I get lucky first! ;)

428
Joyelle May 23, 2010 at 9:45 pm

awesome trip!!! thanks for the chance to win!!

429
Carolyn May 24, 2010 at 1:28 pm

What an adventure, Amanda. It looks like you had a divine time…I hope you draw me!!!!

430
Kelly @ Dare to be Domestic May 24, 2010 at 6:16 pm

Darn I read this too late! Your outfit is absolutely precious! I love the top! Rocco is such a cutie I’m so excited to see these pictures and that food, again. HEAVEN!

431
Kyla May 24, 2010 at 10:50 pm

This book would be a great addition to my collection! Pick me!!!

432
Marilyn C. May 25, 2010 at 12:07 am

Amanda

Thanks for sharing your fun on your blog. Rocco is just a cutie!

433
Karen June 3, 2010 at 10:47 am

Wow, you seemed to have had an awesome time. Have you feet touched the ground again yet?

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