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Taggia: A love story

Posted on: May 30th, 2013 by Taryn Jeffries 2 Comments

I have a new chef crush and I’m not afraid to admit it. This is not just for his boyish good looks or his charismatic personality; he is a beast in the kitchen.

I recently had the opportunity to attend a TweetUp at Taggia Restaurant and Lounge at Firesky Resort and Spa and with this being my first visit, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Even had I had any expectations, they would have been blown out of the water based on the happenings of the evening. Between my tablemates and the interaction with Executive Chef Massimo De Francesca and the ever-adorable Luciano, I could have had soggy bread and sea beans and I would have left with a smile on my face and joy in my heart. Of course there were far more decadent dishes on the menu.

We started our meal with Shrimp Escabeche; an excellent beginning to our meal with light, crisp and flavorful shrimp. The lobster oil was a surprising treat, decadent and flavorful.

Next up, the Cod Fritters; a salt cod served with chipotle aioli and hearts of palm. The fritters were the perfect texture; crispy on the outside with a smooth texture on the inside. The addition of the slightly crunchy texture brought by the hearts of palm and the spice of the chipotle aioli lent a great mouthfeel.

Cod Fritters at Taggia Restaurant

Cod Fritters

From the cod we moved into a duo of veal and duck. The veal was presented with a smoked tonnato emulsion, capers, pickled egg and a gherkin pesto. The masculine savoriness of the veal paired so well with the tartness brought about by the pickled egg and gherkin pesto.

Duck Carpaccio with king oyster mushrooms, blueberries and parmesan. The duck was smoked in-house for four hours over pecan and cherry wood. That smoky flavor created such a wonderful taste that I have craved it since it disappeared from my plate.

duo of veal and duck

Duo of veal and duck

The star of the evening, at least according to my end of the table was the gnocchi which was comprised of a potato gnocchi, chorizo, English peas and brown butter. I have to be completely honest when it comes to this dish. There were some comments made at our end of the table that are not fit to be repeated in this medium. The one thing that I can say is that this was the most highly regarded dish at our end of the table. The marriage of the gnocchi and chorizo was lauded as a perfect marriage of cultures that could quite possibly change lives.

Gnocchi at Taggia

Gnocchi

Next up, the Orata: avocado, heirloom tomatoes, wax beans, creamy olive oil. This offering was a feast for the eyes as well as the stomach. You have to make sure when you are presented with this dish that you make sure to get a little bit of everything in one bite. So do what you have to do, make it a huge bite because you just cannot beat the flavor combination here!

Orata

Orata

We rounded out the savory dishes with Coulette: roasted bone marrow, fingerling potatoes, braised escarole, cipolline. This is pretty much a no-brainer: meat, potatoes and a slight smattering of something green. My farm girl heart was bursting as a result of this dish.

As if all of that wasn’t enough, it was time for dessert. We were presented with not one, but two tantalizing desserts. The first was the Sabayon, created with bourbon, lavender, mint, coconut, and a bitter chocolate garnish.

The finale was the Bread Pudding served with ice cream, and an in-house made limoncello. The bread pudding was phenomenal, but the clear winner of the dessert portion of the evening was the limoncello. I have had a few ‘cellos in my day and this was by far the best of the best! There was only a slight tartness–the overall flavor was sweet and smooth. I believe at the time I likened it to those lemonheads candies. It was crazy good!

Bread Pudding

Bread Pudding

Before we requested to be rolled out the door, we had the chance to spend some more time with Chef and take a few photos. I encourage you to plan a date night, girls’ night or happy hour and head over to Taggia – if only to sneak a peak of the chef! You’ll surely have a decadent dinner and great scenery.

*This meal was provided to us complimentary as a part of a media invitation. However, this has no effect on our opinions and comments regarding our experience. View our Disclosure Policy for further explanation.

About the Author - Taryn Jeffries

Editor and Chief Eating Officer of PhoenixBites, 2017 Food Writer of the Year (Arizona Culinary Hall of Fame) Taryn grew up in a small town in Illinois with a doting Grandmother who taught her the way around a kitchen and that food is representative of love. Her current quest is to find the love in local dishes and the chefs behind them. In addition to running all things PhoenixBites, Taryn is also a freelance writer, sharing her insight on the best dishes and where to get them each and every month.

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2 Responses

  1. Spent Mother’s Day brunch at Taggia. First time at the resort.I was pleasantly surprised. The grounds were lunch and the inside of the resort was contemporary. Very nice..

    Taggia was great. I thoroughly enjoyed brunch and am looking forward to going back for a dinner.

  2. Meant to say ground were lush. It’s a little late. I should probably shut down my PC!

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