Downtown Gilbert is continuing to add to its long row of restaurants that face Gilbert Rd. Chef Gio Osso’s Nico Heirloom Kitchen is one of the newest additions this year. It brings a modern twist on Italian fare for the casual crowd. Gio named this restaurant after his son Nico. His other restaurant Virtù has made all types of headlines here in the Valley. Nico has an open patio and beautiful decor that hangs on its brick walls. They roll their own pasta daily and have a nice selection of signature drinks to choose from. We had a large party of friends that came here to celebrate my buddy’s bday. My one buddy ordered the Virtù Octopus and allowed me to sample it. I’ve only tried octopus once and it was very chewy. I was surprised how flavorful and not-so-chewy Nico’s was. I was feeling pasta and ordered the Rigatoni. It had a delicious bold red wine pork sauce that was nicely balanced. I really enjoyed it. This was overall a great experience for myself and my friends. I expect good things from Gio Osso in the future as he contributes to the Valley’s ever-growing foodie culture.
Patsy D’Amore was the first to bring pizza to L.A. at the Casa D’Amore restaurant in 1938 after making pizzas in New York and Boston. Patsy moved his oven from the outpost he had on Catalina Island to Los Angeles and opened up the first pizza stand at the Original Farmers Market in 1949. His famous Villa Capri restaurant was a regular hangout of the Rat Pack in the 50’s. His daughter now keeps the family legacy going with this location at the Farmers Market. They make New York style pizzas and the lasagna and calzones are made up fresh daily. Amore means “heart” in Spanish and these guys love to say they make their pizza from the heart. In typical New York fashion, I grabbed a slice to go after a full day of sampling at the Market. The pizza wasn’t bad. Not much different from what you grab to go on some corner in Manhattan. I think what the draw for me was their long history with Hollywood. I’ll give their full menu a shot another day.
I grew up going to the Old Spaghetti Factory here in the Valley. I went to school in Tempe and we dined at the old location (now closed) on Mill Ave quite often. The Dussin family opened the first Spaghetti Factory in Oregon in 1969. It’s a family friendly environment with decor that includes antique lighting, stained glass displays and an old-fashioned trolley car (that you can eat in). One of things they love to boast is that they serve a complete meal that includes bread, soup or salad, and dessert with your entrée. My family came to the Chandler location to celebrate my son’s bday and we had a good time. I really enjoyed the Minestrone Soup and Toasted Ravioli (one of my favorites), but found the pasta a little bland. But being a local favorite, I will for sure come again for the family experience.
Sal’s Gilbert Pizza Italian Tratorria is da bomb. It’s one of mine and Ty’s favorite place to grab some pizza. Family owned, their New York style pizza and lasagna are amazing!
I love my friend Brittany. She is my amazing God-fearing sister in Christ and a foodie. That girl posts some of the most amazing pictures of vegetarian food. I just had to take her to Liberty. I went for the evening special – the Red Wine Marinara Gnocchi. She did the Thai salad. But tonight wasn’t about the food, it was about that big fat piece of Red Velvet cake sitting in the window. I was all about the dessert tonight. Fun night out!
- 8 cups canned low-salt chicken broth
- 1/2-ounce dried porcini mushrooms
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cups finely chopped onions
- 10 ounces white mushrooms, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice or short-grain white rice
- 2/3 cup dry white wine
- 3/4 cup frozen peas, thawed
- 2/3 cup grated Parmesan
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, optional
Bring the broth to a simmer in a heavy medium saucepan. Add the porcini mushrooms. Set aside until the mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes. Keep the broth warm over very low heat.
Melt the butter in a heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add olive oil. Add the onions and saute until tender, about 8 minutes. Add the white mushrooms and garlic. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the porcini mushrooms to a cutting board. Finely chop the mushrooms and add to the saucepan. Saute until the mushrooms are tender and the juices evaporate, about 5 minutes. Stir in the rice and let it toast for a few minutes. Add the wine; cook until the liquid is absorbed, stirring often, about 2 minutes. Add 1 cup of hot broth; simmer over medium-low heat until the liquid is absorbed, stirring often, about 3 minutes. Continue to cook until the rice is just tender and the mixture is creamy, adding more broth by cupfuls and stirring often, about 28 minutes (the rice will absorb 6 to 8 cups of broth). Stir in the peas. Mix in the Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
* – recipe by Giada De Laurentiis
2 links sausage, casing removed and cut up
1/4 pound fresh asparagus (6 or 7 medium spears)
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup chopped green onion
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 ounces orzo (1/3 cup)
Remove sausage casing and crumble sausage. Trim asparagus and cut into 1-inch pieces. Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high. Add sausage and green onion; saute 2 minutes. Add chicken broth and bring to boil. Add orzo. Cook for 6 minutes, stirring often. Add asparagus and cook until orzo is al dente and asparagus is tender, another 2 to 3 minutes.
* – I used zucchini and eggplant in place of the asparagus and spinach & feta chicken sausages. Recipe from azcentral.com