We love the concept of restaurant week. The events and restaurant participants allow for people to indulge in food and experiences they’ve never had before and/or give fans a reason to return. Restaurant week happens twice a year and each season, we try to be involved in the hype. We would attend every event if we could.
Because it was sold out weeks before the date, we were lucky to be able to be at the Regions of Italy event in the new Asbury Park Hotel. We were thrilled to sample various wines, cheeses, and other signature dishes from all around the country. The room was laid out in sections with northern, central, and southern Italy. The portions were generous and the ambience was relaxing.
All of the food was catered from Joe Leone’s Gastronomia, an Italian speciality market based out of Point Pleasant with a second location in Sea Girt. I’ve boasted about this market before, but if you haven’t read any of my other blog posts or been there yourself yet, I’ll say it again- it is spectacular. Every single dish is made with the best Italian recipes and love.
The food here was displayed so beautifully. I especially loved what they did with each massive wheel of cheese. Out of all of the hot stations, my favorite creation was the polenta made with tallegio and drizzled with pesto. When you add such a pungent wash-rind cheese to a dish that is usually very one dimensional, it totally changes the whole dynamic. I had never truly loved polenta until I tried that. I wish we had come up with that in our kitchen. Tallegio is one of my favorite cheeses.
I really enjoyed trying the cured beef. It was my first time having that (that I’m aware of). It tasted almost like prosciutto.
Lastly, I wanted to comment on the mini mozzarella knots that were served on little skewers and were literally perfect. I would like an endless surplus of those in my kitchen at all times.
I haven’t had wine that good since we were in Italy. When we were there, we bought these really inexpensive huge bottles on a whim when the market was about to close for Christmas. We were shocked at how delicious that wine actually was and we knew it would be a long time until we found something that matched up to it. The wine at this event did. Every table contained a few bottles that were just as good as the next. There were reds, whites and roses. They even had some prosecco. The food paired so well with the wine. I enjoyed it all.
Overall, the event was very nice and we can’t wait for the next one!