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[whitespace] Drink It Up

There's wine in those foothills

VIAGGIO Ristorante joins forces with top wineries once again for its Winter-Spring 2001 Wine Tasting Series. Held on Thursday nights from 6:30-8:30pm, the tasty event will be hosted by Viaggio's Restaurant Manager and Sommelier Mark Grochowski, and will also involve appetizers and demos by ace Executive Chef A.J. Szenda.

Wine tasting--especially of varietals and vineyards you may not have encountered--is the quickest, most convincing way to expand your palate. Informal and nonthreatening, Viaggio's tasting starts at 6:30pm, for an all-inclusive price of $20 per person. That's really a bargain, given appetizers, education and lots of sipping and tasting of new wines.

Viaggio, one of Saratoga's most beautiful dining spots, is located at 14550 Big Basin Way (408.741.5300). Hurry over tonight, Feb. 15, for a pouring of Italian wines by William Grant Wines, featuring Tuscan wines of the mighty 1997 vintage. On Feb. 22, the Viaggio tasting series will explore a range of Washington state varietals bearing the Chateau Ste. Michelle label. On March 1, Clos La Chance, of our own Santa Cruz Mountains, joins France's Chateau Pesquie, as tasters sample fine California chardonnays and merlots, along with bold Rhône Valley red wines. March 8 features Gloria Ferrer Caves pouring Sonoma sparklers, Carneros Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, and some surprise red wines from Spain. On March 15, join winemakers from Alexander Valley Vineyards, Sonoma County, sampling an array of fine reds and whites.

Designer Iconography

After months of remodeling, ICON Supperclub is ready to rock with a grand opening tonight, February 15, starting with complimentary hors d'oeuvres at 5:30pm. Owner/entrepreneur Jacek Rosicki (of downtown San Jose's Agenda) describes the new supper club as part "upscale restaurant, offering fine dining"--thanks to Executive Chef Gerald Hewitt--and part lavish bar stocked with "a large selection of wines, single malts, grappas, ports, vodkas, gins, tequilas. It's kind of like Agenda, where the nightclub events are separate from dining." And while the new club is all on one level, moveable wall design allows for ease of space reconfiguration. "We can do dinner for 400 if we use all the rooms," Rosicki glowed.

ICON will be open starting this week for lunch 11:30-2:30, Tue-Fri, and for dinner 5-10pm Tue-Thu; until 11pm on weekends. Stop by tonight for cocktails starting at 5:30, followed by a complimentary Skyy Vodka Martini bar 6:30-7:30. Anton Schwartz plays at 6pm, followed by the Toledo Show at 9pm. Dress up--you'll fit right in. ICON Supperclub is located at a very exciting address--260 California Ave. in Palo Alto. For details call 650.321.6447.

New Chef at Lou's

After 12 delicious years, Kyle Wiens has moved on from his post at Valley Fair's California Cafe to take the position of dining room chef at Lou's Village. Wiens starts at the landmark seafood house on February 19 and is looking forward to bringing some of his personal creativity to the menu. He says that customers can look forward to seeing a lot of new specials as he starts to make his mark on the menu. Sounds like another good excuse to stop by for dinner at Lou's Village--as if you needed one.

Marche to a Different Drummer

For those weary of Tuscany--if such a thing is possible--one of Italy's least-traveled regions, Marche (MAR-kay, or "The Marches" in English), contains delicious dining surprises. The regional menu of the Marche district available at Il Fornaio restaurants through the middle of the month offers appetizers such as insalata of baby artichoke hearts, arugula, shaved Parmesan and lemon vinaigrette. I love the sound of black and white ravioli filled with shrimp and scallops in brandy-lobster cream, or potato dumplings in porcini, fennel and cream sauce. Grilled skewers of shrimp and scallops served over spinach, artichokes and fresh tomatoes show off the region's seafood stylings, and a dessert of pumpkin custard with a burnt sugar top will very likely finish you off. Head for the beautiful Il Fornaio tucked inside the old St. Claire Hotel in downtown San Jose. And mangiare!

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From the February 15-21, 2001 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © 2001 Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

For more information about the San Jose/Silicon Valley area, visit sanjose.com.

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