Those of you who know me, in person, or though this blog, know I have been a big fan of Fabio's since he was first on Top Chef. Of course we would drive three hours to eat in Moorepark, and now, an hour closer, to Firenze Osteria in North Hollywood, for a chat with Fabio, and to eat the fabulous Italian food. Now, we have discovered there is an another equally good reason for a visit: JACOPO!
They say that everyone that comes into your life, even for the shortest amount of time, has an impact. Meeting co-owner, Jacapo Falleni (pronounced Yah-coe-poe), was a highlight of our evening's Chef's Table dining experience.
We did not try any martinis on our first visit to Cafe Firenze, so we decided to start with one this time. Three of the four of us tried one of Jacopo's creative drinks. WOW! They were amazing! I had a basil lemon drop that was like a perfect blend of tart and sweet lemon with basil leaves muddled into tiny green flecks. These will become a summer favorite by our pool! The show-stopper was Brad's Balsamic Martini made with strawberries, vanilla rum and balsamic vinegar, then poured into a chilled glass drizzled with a balsamic vinegar glaze. Jacopo is deservedly an award-winning mixologist! Recipes for both drinks are in the cookbook, but you need to buy your own copy! Better yet, visit Firenze Osteria and let Jacopo whip you up a couple. If you visit me, I will make you a sample!
Jacopo smiles easily, and makes sure everything is running smoothly throughout the restaurant and bar. If you read his story in Cafe Firenze Cookbook: Food and Drink Recipes from the Tuscan Sons, you will know that he began his dream of owning his own bar as a young boy in Firenze. He is passionate about good food and wine, and providing a pleasant experience for his guests. Charming and attentive, Jacopo visited our table, and I asked him to sign my cookbook.
Jacopo makes you feel like a very special guest, like the ONLY guest in the restaurant. There was actually a full house, but he took time with us and was completely adorable. He must have also trained the staff with this attention to service, as they are all friendly and attentive without hovering annoyingly. Jacopo's sincerity and delight when speaking to us was such a pleasure!
Which Italian cannot talk without their hands?
Mille Grazie, Jacopo for adding your touch to our special evening!
Tomorrow...the FOOD and Chefs!