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[whitespace] Italian Invasion

Palo Alto's popular Beppo opens up a new Sicilian party palace in Campbell

By Iris Blocks

Pretty soon the slogan's going to be "as American as pizza pie." One can't walk a block in the valley without stumbling over a new Italian ristorante, from elegant Palo Alto eateries to modest trattorias. Possibly the newest is Buca di Beppo, a Campbell offshoot of Palo Alto's popular Emerson Street eatery. If the new spot is anything like its brethren, expect a partylike ambiance, wacky decor saluting all things Italian (and Italian-American) and truly massive portions of Southern Italian fare served family style. And they mean a big family; don't go with fewer than three friends. The new Beppo (1875 S. Bascom Ave.) opens on Tuesday, Sept. 14; for details, call 408/377-7722.

And speaking of the Italian invasion, a quieter one has brought a spate of small trattorias into the suburbs--areas underserved by the restaurant trade. One place that falls into this category is Antonella's, a welcome addition to San Jose's Rose Garden neighborhood. The restaurateurs took over a spot across from the Rosicrucian Museum (once home to a hot-dog joint) and proceeded to reinvent it as a cozy neighborhood pizzeria. The menu features pastas, salads and mainstays such as lasagna and eggplant parmigiana, but the pizzas are the biggest attraction (aside from the attractive mural and pleasant patio seating). Antonella's is located at 1701 Park Ave., San Jose (408/279-4922).

Wine and Dining

For some, it's varietals that are the spice of life, and the folks at Mirassou and the Tasters Guild are here to oblige with a pair of events fusing fine food and wines. First up is a Bistro Supper at Mirassou's Champagne Cellars (300 College Ave., Los Gatos) on Saturday, featuring four courses highlighted by the main event, braised lamb shank and potato-root vegetable mash with Mirassou Harvest Reserve Petite Sirah. And if this Saturday is booked, the Champagne Cellars will host two more suppers in the near future, on Oct. 9 and Dec. 12. Cost for the evening is $60 per person; call 408/395-3790 for details.

The Tasters Guild--or at least the Greater San Jose Chapter of said international organization--has plans of its own this week. On Tuesday, Sept. 14, members will gather at Saratoga's Viaggio Ristorante Mediterraneo (14550 Big Basin Way) to sample a series of decade-old cabernet sauvignons. If, as is probable, the event is sold out, it won't be the only opportunity to pair chef A.J. Szenda's cuisine with fine wines. Viaggio is beginning a series of Tuesday wine-tastings in September, featuring snacks and wine on the restaurant's outdoor patio. Call 408/741-5300. And to find out about other upcoming Tasters Guild events, such as a Nov. 9 dinner at Eight Forty North First devoted to Gundlach Bundschu wines, call 408/979-1956 or email [email protected].

Fit to Be Tried

The kids may have to go back to school, but that doesn't mean the rest of us must give up on summer and its pleasures. The next few weeks will bring a lineup of festivals at which one can warm up in the last rays of the season before admitting that autumn has really arrived. For outdoor fun this weekend, look to the annual Mountain View Art and Wine Festival on Sept. 11-12. Yes, there will be artists vending their wares and musicians plying their trade, but what concerns us here, in the dining section, are the 28 food purveyors on hand to offer everything from gyros to Thai barbecue, Louisiana gumbo to Filipino lumpia, deep-fried delights and healthy fruit smoothies.

Perhaps the most notable news is that Mountain View's Tied House Brewery will follow its own annual tradition and celebrate the festival with a commemorative brew. This year's model is a Vienna Lager, darker than a pilsner and heady with rich malt flavor. And for those who prefer the juice of the vine, varietals from seven wineries can be sampled instead. The festival takes place from 10am to 6pm Saturday and Sunday on Castro Street between El Camino Real and Evelyn Avenue. Admission is free. For information, call 650/968-8378 or check out the website at www.miramarevents.com.

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From the September 9-15, 1999 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © 1999 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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