Matt Vernon, owner of Lasagna House, and Barbara Coglianese, former owner of Capri, have found a new home in Pasta e Pesto. When Lasagna House was damaged in a fire in July 2015, Matt didn't let that stop him from pursuing his desire to fill the bellies of his loyal customers with authentic Italian cuisine. He opened up Pasta e Pesto in December of 2015 with the intent to have a temporary place to continue filling catering orders while repairs to Lasagna House took place. However, Pasta e Pesto soon developed its own identity.
Pasta e Pesto focuses on Northern Italian dishes and pastas with flavorful sauces. Barbara, along with Matt's Italian wife, Mary, worked together to incorporate their favorite dishes from Italy. The signature pasta is pesto linguine with your choice of Genovese or Sicilian Pesto. Another unique entree is Pasticcio, a Northern Italian lasagna made with Bolognese sauce, homemade besciamella, mozzarella, and Parmigiano. Matt himself is becoming more hands on and recently developed the menu for one of their monthly pop up dinners.
Pop up dinners are held the last Monday of every month and it's a time for the staff to exercise culinary creativity outside the normal menu items. Diners are seated in long tables and courses are served with precision. Pasta e Pesto is BYOB so it doesn't take long for people to engage in conversation with their table mates. The next pop up dinner is scheduled for August 29th.
Pasta e Pesto will also be participating in this year's Houston Restaurant Week starting August 1st and running until September 5th. A four course menu is available for just $25 with $4 of the cost going to the Houston Food Bank. Click here to view the menu: Pasta e Pesto HRW Menu. As for Lasagna House, Matt and the crew are hard at work on renovations and hope to have it up and running by the end of the year.
The 12th annual Wine and Food week took place June 6 - 12, 2016. This year's theme "A New York State of Mind" definitely showcased culinary masterpieces and sensational wines that were worthy of the Big Apple. Over 10 different events occurred over the week long celebration.
The week kicked off with several industry tastings sponsored by the Italy-America Chamber of Commerce of Texas. The beautiful Amalfi restaurant was the first host of the first event. Wines never before tasted in Texas were presented along with information about the region and vineyards.
It's a Guy Thing took place on June 7 at Mercedez-Benz of the Woodlands and treated guests to a Rat Pack style evening with poker, cigars, and big bold wines. The ladies enjoyed a A Girls Night Out on June 8 at the Woodlands Country Club. Fashion, food, and fun were in full swing during this glamorous evening. Market Street was converted to the ultimate Wine Walk on June 9 and it was a great summer evening for sipping and shopping.
The Club at Carlton Woods once again hosted one of my favorite events of the week, the Ladies of the Vine luncheon and panel discussion. Five prominent women in the wine industry spoke throughout the lunch while guests dined on a fabulous four course menu complete with wine pairings.
The extremely popular Sips, Suds, & Tacos took place on June 10 and featured a Taco Takedown competition. The winner was VERTS Grille's Kate Schirm with a Mediterranean short rib taco served with a spicy harissa beef and a cabbage slaw. The grand finale of the week long celebration was the Wine Rendezvous and Grand Tasting held on June 11 at The Woodlands Waterway Marriott Hotel. The sights and sounds of New York filled the room as guests were able to sample over 500 wines and specially curated bites. Carlos Ramos of Latin Bites, won the Chef of Chefs award with his Passion Fruit Ahi Tuna Tiradito. The Just Desserts award went to The Woodlands Waterway Marriott Pastry Chef Miguel Gutierrez for his Key Lime Margarita Cheesecake.
Restaurant icon Tony Vallone was honored at the Grand Tasting by being inducted into the Wine & Food Week Chef of Chefs Hall of Fame. It was one of many magical moments that occurred during the week. However, the true essence of Wine and Food week is difficult to capture in just one post. There were many dinners and after parties that occurred during the week that just exemplifies why Houston's Wine & Food Week is an event not to be missed.
July is hot, but Tony's is making it easy to cool off with their summer Haute July Tasting menu. The four course menu is just $59 including wine pairings (tax & gratuity not included). A fresh variety of seasonal ingredients and a careful selection of light bodied wines are the perfect way to beat the heat.
The first course is a refreshing heirloom garden soda and an assortment of artisan breads. The second course offers your choice of a creamy Orecchiette Genovese (Hen of the Woods Mushrooms, Prosciutto Riserva, & Summer Peas) or Insalata Milano (Burrata, Figs, Prosciutto Riserva, & Treviso). Both selections are served with a 2012 Abbazia di Novacella, Kerner, Alto Adige, a crisp aromatic wine from the southern Alpine region.
For the third course, guests have the option of a crispy seared Mediterranean Branzino with Tuscan Beans, Salsa Verde, & Truffled Almonds or a Center Cut Filet With Porcini Mushrooms, Sauteed Bone Marrow & Silken Potatoes. The wine for this course is a light Sangiovese from the Tuscany region, 2012 Poggio Brigante, Morellino di Scansano.
For dessert, the Texas Blackberry Dream is a light and delicious homemade Angel Food Cake topped with fresh berries and a Limoncello Cream. It is paired with your choice of several house infused Grappa wines. The entire menu is outstanding and a tremendous value for the elegance and charm of Tony's.
About the Author
I like eating, traveling, and enjoying liquid libations. I'm all about great wines, signature cocktails, and local brews.