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Destination dining in Morgan Hill

By Christina Waters

UNDER THE "How can we miss you if you won't go away" category is the news that Morgan Hill restaurateur Maurizio Cutrignelli is no longer merely a delicious memory. He's back. The all-new Maurizio's Italian Restaurant threw itself a private grand opening last week to celebrate being back among the neighborhood clientele who flock to the Mediterranean menu created by the well-seasoned host. Morgan Hill, incidentally, is no longer just that sleepy corridor you pass through on your way to L.A. More and more Silicon Valley-ites are finding country living in the beautiful southern stretches of Santa Clara County the perfect antidote for the dotcom hustle. If you don't believe me, head down there soon and watch springtime turn the hills to neon green punctuated by expanses of yellow mustard. Well, now residents and newcomers alike have one more fine restaurant to join the growing throng of upscale dining rooms popping up in Morgan Hill. There's a new location, but the menu at Maurizio's is full of old favorites, plus an expanded wine list and a classy bar where you can sip and enjoy live jazz on weekends.

Maurizio's is located at 17535 Monterey Road in Morgan Hill (formerly Jack's Steak House). Phone 408.782.7550 for your reservations and welcome Maurizio back to pastoral Morgan Hill.

Seaside Oenotecha

Until the premium wine boom of the late '60s, the finest California red wine anybody had ever tasted was probably a bottle of BV Cabernet. Even after the boom of boutique wineries hit, BV--founded in 1900 by Frenchman George de LaTour--led the pack. Still does. The Napa Valley landmark's 1997 Tapestry Reserve was chosen as one of Wine Spectator's Top 100 Wines of 2000. Now that you know all this, it will make complete sense to you that Beaulieu Vineyards will be showcased at a wine dinner on Friday, March 9, at one of the finest restaurants in central California--I refer to Theo's, in Soquel (a few miles south of Santa Cruz, for those of you who've been online too long). The wine dinner with Beaulieu Vineyards brings BV rep Alan Lantow to Theo's to talk wine and answer questions. But an exceptional group of wines, including a Carneros Chardonnay, a Merlot, the Tapestry and Muscat d'Beaulieu, is only half the evening's attraction. Chef Pete Dressen has masterminded another one of his mind-blowing menus to accompany the BV selections.

After champagne and hors d'oeuvres, dinner begins with cannelloni of smoked salmon and Dungeness crab with fennel, followed by a second plate of grilled duck with roasted onions and thyme. Dressen's main course of braised beef short ribs will be joined by celery root purée and the Tapestry Reserve 1997. Dessert involves mascarpone cheesecake with blood oranges and pistachios paired with the muscat. Such a sensational sensory experience, and all-inclusive for only $100 per person. Drive over the hill, get a room and find out what this remarkable restaurant can do.


In the "Don't quit your day job yet" category, Kyle Wiens had emailed me a few weeks back that after many years he would be leaving the kitchen at Valley Fair's opulent California Cafe to take over the chef's helm at Lou's Village. There must have been some communication problems, because according to Wiens, when he showed up for work last week at the historic seafood house, he was told that, no, he did not have the job. Lou's owner, Tim Muller, admitted, "There were major problems. Essentially, we never got started." Seems to me that there's a lesson in here somewhere--like make sure you've got a firm agreement before severing your lifeline. Job security never was strong in the restaurant industry, as this little vignette clearly illustrates. Good luck to Wiens in parlaying his decade-plus legacy at Cal Cafe into a new gig--he's got kids to feed.

Email me! Readers restaurateurs, chefs: Please send any news items, tips, menu changes, openings, special events and juicy gossip to [email protected]

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From the March 1-7, 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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