Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Once upon a Chianti

Many years ago there was a boy and a girl who fell madly in love. They quickly knew they wanted to get married and began to plan their wedding in the girl's hometown. As they picked flowers, hors d'oeuvres, cocktails, wrote vows, and drew up seating charts the need for a rehearsal dinner site arose.  They were particular about the place-it needed to have delicious food that rendered you speechless, it needed to have a wine list that was sophisticated yet approachable, it needed to have an atmosphere that was welcoming but sophisticated, and it needed to be locally owned.  The boy and girl talked to friends and family and finally made dinner reservations at a small Italian restaurant quite near their wedding site.  The initial dinner was perfection.  A foodie's delight.  Wine list that went on and on.  They had found everything they were looking for and more.  By the time they'd left, a rehearsal dinner had been booked, and new friends had been made.

That summer this boy and girl (more like man and woman) became husband and wife.  It was as perfect a July day as anyone can order up in Ohio.  75 degrees, sunny, not a cloud in the sky, and no humidity.  The day passed in a blur with well-wishes from family and friends.  Before the newlyweds knew it, the celebrations came to an end and they were off under a beautiful summer night sky.  But they were starving.  Where to go?  The groom suggested stopping off at the restaurant from their rehearsal dinner for a quick bite.  His bride giggled-"in these clothes?" pointing to her voluminous ball gown and his tuxedo.  "Why not?"  And before long they were pulling into the parking lot.  Tapping on the window of a restaurant that was closing up for the night, they were not certain of finding any food for their rumbling tummies.  Yet the owner graciously unlocked the door and helped the groom put his bride on the bar stool.  Of course they would be fed, and what a feast! The owner's mother had brought by some homemade Italian Wedding Cake for the staff that afternoon, and slices were brought out, along with several other delicious menu items to nibble on and bottles of wine.  They all sat at the bar, laughing, chatting, eating, and making merry.  When the bride and groom finally left, it was with two bottles of wine, a corkscrew and two wineglasses in hand.  And memories to last them a lifetime.

Yes, Vaccaro's Trattoria was the perfect place to have our rehearsal dinner, but it was more than that.  My husband and I will always love Raphael for his kindness and generous spirit he showed on the evening of our wedding, and each time we have returned to celebrate anniversaries, birthdays, even the pregnancy with our son.  Returning to Vaccaro's is like coming home for us.  We wish we lived closer than the two-hour drive so we could enjoy dinners there more often.  It is all that we love in a restaurant-family owned, local, filled with tradition, and curated with love.  We so look forward to the day when we can take our son there for his first dinner experience-once we break him of his chicken & fries only habit, that is! 

This past weekend I was treated to another spectacular dinner at Vaccaro's Trattoria as a birthday gift by my husband.  Impeccable as always.  Readers, if you are in Akron, Ohio or near Akron I cannot urge you enough to make reservations and spend your evening leisurely dining there.  We had another feast to remember...stuffed hot banana peppers brought out with bubbling hot cheese, a Belgian Endive & Baby Spinach salad with a goat cheese that left me nearly licking the plate in the most unlady-like fashion, Short Rib Osso Bucco made for a chilly autumn night, a perfectly crispy-chewy pizza topped with veal bolognese sauce and meatballs that will spoil you forever on take-out, all supplemented with a Super-Tuscan wine right up my "I want a red wine that is spicy and will smack-you-in-the-face bold" alley.  Dessert was equally as delicious-my butterscotch molten cake and my husband's chocolate cheesecake.  Oh, was it all ever delicious.  I think we are still full from Saturday evening's feast!  Raphael and crew, you outdid yourselves again.  Thank you so much, from a bride and groom many years ago who came to you seeking sustenance and found so much more.

A Groom and his very hungry Bride