Food, Life and Love

The Boy Sure Can Cook

When I walked into “Il Sogno” today and saw my husband intently focusing with such passion and precision on each plate, I was filled with pure love and pride for that man. After hours and hours of prep, it was exciting to sit at the pop up and see his vision come through. What made the moment more special was the fact my parents drove two hours to join me for this evening. There I sat with my parents, brother, sister-in-law and dear friend and looked around at all of the faces around the dining room. Some foodies were friends, brought to the restaurant through word of mouth. Others were regulars wanting to experience Zona in a unique way. All of us came together tonight to be impressed and try something we never had thought to try before.

There were five courses and two options for each course. Every bite this evening was matched with wine. You could see (and taste) the care put into each moment. It was a lovely dining experience!


Burrata and Fresh Baked Bread or Locally Raised Pork with Pickles. Burrata may be my favorite cheese of all times. It is creamy and delicious. There is a simplicity and sense of indulgence to the cheese. Paired with bread, roasted garlic, and maldon sea salt it became the perfect bite, rich and simple. The pork dish had a lovely texture to it,  pulled then packed into a Galette, it was dense and tender. The fattiness in the pork was cut perfectly by the acid in the pickles. Pickled turnips, fennel, cucumbers, and radishes added unique dimensions in their individuality.  Both were a perfect start to the meal.


The Guanciale Pizza had squash blossoms and chevre. The Roasted Fig Pizza had dandelion greens, tallegio, and a honey drizzle. One was salty and the other sweet. Both extremely different yet both balanced and delicious. I have an intense love for pizza. It is something I could eat every day and still crave the next. After trying both of these pizzas, I realized quickly that I would be craving these tomorrow.


Primi:Gnocchi or Squid Ink Bucatini! The gnocchi was ridiculous. They had three different types on the plate. One  was a ricotta gnuddi with a pecorino sauce…I wanted to drink the sauce, it was cheesy goodness. The second was a sweet potato gnocchi with a sage emulsion. It was a beautiful blend of salty and sweet. The third type was what made the dish, it was a Fontina Crema Stuffed Potato Gnocchi. I mean…right??? You cut into it and it oozed goodness. The giant gnocchi was seared to add texture to the sauce inside. Utterly wonderful.  The Squid Ink Bucatini had a cannellini parmesan sauce and baby arugula. They shaved grey Mullet Bottarga  table side! Bottarga is fish roe that has been packed and dried. It adds that lovely saltiness that only caviar can add.  Both dishes were a favorite of the night.

Secondi:Black Cod or Rabbit Two Ways. The black cod was paired with a celeraic puree, organic black spanish radish, black trumpet mushrooms, and a brown butter vinaigrette. It was so decadent! I am always shocked when the fish dish is richer than the meat. This dish was gratifying with each bite and left you wanting another bite but not sure if you could should. The Rabbit Two Ways was the MVP of the night. There was saddle of rabbit with beets and fava beans. The pureed beets added a velvet quality to compliment the structure of the rabbit. There was also an organic chard wrapped rabbit saucisson in brodo with pea shoots and purple carrots. WOW!!!!!! First, the saucisson was exactly what it should be, flavorful and tender. The broth that the saucisson was nestled in was the broth that all soups should be based upon. It had depth that most broths don’t. This dish is going to have me smiling for the rest of the night.


 Napoleon or Fiore Di Capra Goat Milk Delights. The Marscapone with chocolate citrus tuile and strawberries was the only dish I did not try, simply because I got distracted by the Goat Milk Delights. By the time I raised my head out of my sweet dream, the marscapone was gone. The Goat Milk Delights was a goat curd cheesecake, candied grapefruit goats milk gelato, salted caramel, cinnamon graham cracker crumbs, and a lemon parsley sauce. I don’t even know if I have to add any more than that description. It was the perfect end to a lovely meal!!!

Tonight was a great night, a night that held great wine, great company, and watching my husband produce beautiful plates with precision and grace. What can I say, the boy sure can cook!

3 Responses to “The Boy Sure Can Cook”

  1. john kelly

    Sounds like fun! Wish that we could have been there. Maybe another time..

  2. Nanci

    It certainly was an amazing night. Yes, “the boy can cook” and the girl can sure write!

  3. Gera

    Ali, you described the dinner so well. You only forgot to describe how well Kevin selected the wine to accompany his courses; such unusual wines for his pairings, you knew what care he had taken over the night’s preparation.

    It was truly a night to remember!

    Love, Mom


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