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Fodor's Southern California 2014
The food at this lively trattoria is simultaneously soulful and inventive, transforming local ingredients into regional Italian dishes with a twist. The antipasti shine: you can order olives grown on chef Michael Chiarello's own property in St. Helena, house-made charcuterie, or incredibly fresh fish. Potato gnocchi might be served with pumpkin fonduta (Italian-style fondue) and roasted root vegetables, and hearty main courses like twice-cooked pork chops with peck seasoning might be accompanied by cinnamon stewed plums and crispy black kale. The vibe is more festive than formal, with exposed-brick walls, an open kitchen, and paper-topped tables, but service is spot-on, and the reasonably priced wine list offers lots of interesting choices from both Italy and California.
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