Raise a toast to the coast at one of Vigilucci’s Restaurants

From Carlsbad in the north to Coronado in the south, San Diego County coastal wine aficionados and diners have their choice of seven prime Vigilucci’s locations to enjoy the beach scene. 
Between these locations, founder Roberto Vigilucci has a second restaurant in Carlsbad, two in Leucadia, and one in Encinitas and La Jolla. All have excellent wine lists, lots of Italian menu items and select locations have savory beef and seafood highlights. Catering is a growing part of his business with many unforgettable parties created by Vigilucci’s team.
On the night we visited, the beachfront Vigilucci’s in Carlsbad was selected on a beautiful, balmy night with a never-ending sunset.  I was greeted by manager Julian Oesterlein and server Francisca Simon who introduced me to a husky and luscious Italian Tuscan Brunello wine from Col D’ Orcia. It was a special cellar 1997 selection, available to any diner.
Vigilucci is passionate about food and wine.  He has often told me he personally tastes the sauces in each of his restaurants and selects only the finest price to value wines, with emphasis on Italian varietals.
My selected entree to pair up with this rich, red wine was the nightly special — a Rossotto del Giorno with grilled swordfish and asparagus.  The pasta selection was Gnocchi al Tartufo (potato dumplings in a creamy truffle sauce au gratin.) All pastas are made daily at Vigilucci’s.
This location is open for lunch at 11 a.m.  Happy Hour is in the lounge Monday though Friday from 3 to 6 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
During July and August, dinner is served until 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday nights, with Sunday brunch from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
At 8 a.m. July 16 on the beach at Del Mar, the Vigilucci’s sponsored 31st annual Beach Bocce Ball World Championship Games are presented to raise funds for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Carlsbad.  Roberto has also been honored by the Sons of Italy as the 2010 Italian American of the Year in San Diego County.  Take a Vigilucci’s Internet tour and “toast the coast” to the music of Frank Sinatra at
vigiluccis.com.  It’s classic Italian!
Mark Russo’s roots go back to Julia Childs, Robert Mondavi
Mark Russo…now there’s a guy that was born and nursed with an Italian red.   
After a blazing career in culinary arts including owning a prestigious restaurant in Newport Beach and winning numerous wine and food awards, Mark’s fortunes accelerated when he met the legendary chef/author Julia Childs and with world renowned Napa wine maker Robert Mondavi, collaborated with both to start the American Institute of Wine & Food. 
His current labor of love is the Black Bottle Winery, already a medal-winning “cult” wine of small production and powerful devotees.
Typical of Mark’s “outside the box” thinking, a good portion of the bottle is coated with the actual earth that makes this vintage 2007 Cabernet, a benchmark year with grapes that are intensely flavored.  Lots from Napa’s Howell Mountain added to the treasure trove of wines bearing the 2007 Cabernet brand for a total of 250 cases made at Black Bottle.
A touch of Merlot and Syrah makes it that much more lush and rich.  The sad news is the 2007 is sold out.  The good news is the 2008 is just about ready after two years in French oak and Mark is taking orders on his web site at blackbottlewinery.com.  
He also has founded Angel’s Share International, a company focused on food, wine, spirits and luxury lifestyle. 
His are highly prized events and programs for those who can afford to have the very best.
See more at AngelsShare.com.
Wine Bytes
— TGI Wine Country Friday at South Coast Winery Resort and Spa is July 15 at 7:30 p.m.  Two bands will be playing country rock.  $10 per person. RSVP at (951) 587-9463, ext. 7210. 
— WineSellar & Brasserie is having a “Pinot-Palooza” with 40-plus Pinot Noirs at warehouse prices, July 16 from 11 to 3 p.m.  Cheese and bread available.  Fom more, call (858) 450-9557.
— San Diego Wine Company on Miramar Road is tasting a French Extravaganza of great wines on Bastille Day, July 16 from 11 to 4:30 p.m.  $10 fee.  Details at (858) 586-WINE.
— The Summer Pre-Release Party is at Belle Marie Winery in Escondido, July 16 from 2 to 4 p.m.  Cost is $7 per person, free to Vintage Club members.  It’s a sneak preview of the newest wines.  Call (760) 796-7557.
— “Summer of Riesling 2011” is being celebrated at the lounge, Club M and the restaurants of the Grand Del Mar Resort.  Several of Germany’s most famous Rieslings have been hand-picked by Wine Director Jesse Rodriguez at highly reasonable glass-prices.  Information at summerofriesling.com.
— The Encinitas YMCA and Rancho Coastal Humane Society is planning an annual benefit Casino Night Sept. 17 and is looking for gift baskets and sponsors.  This is a great opportunity for a winery or wine shop to build loyal customers with a wine donation for silent auction or raffle drawing, and sponsorship.  Contact me at mangiompc@aol.com.

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