how to do dinner the Italian way

the last (and first) time I went to Italy, I was traveling through Europe on a 2-month backpacking trip after freshman year of college. I had thrown all gluten free stipulations out the door, and instead reveled in the fresh pasta, focaccia, pizza, salami sandwiches and other goodies that Italy was known for.

surprisingly, none of the gluten affected me at all. and Italian food — true Italian food — was nothing like the spaghetti and meatballs that are prevalent in American Italian food (I learned later that spaghetti and meatballs were, in fact, a solely American invention by Italian immigrants). instead, in Italy, there were  lots of pasta dishes, but many fresh sea food, vegetable, and meat dishes as well.

I've rarely eaten Italian food back in the US after that trip — I don't want to mar the memory of Italy —  but when I was invited to a blogger dinner at Tuscan Kitchen in Burlington, I was excited at the chance to try Italian food, not American Italian food.

seltzer water + name tag Tuscan Kitchen

Tuscan Kitchen (and the hosts, Dining Playbook's Jenny Johnson and Billy Costa) welcomed us, told us about this history of Tuscan Kitchen. One particular quote from the owner that I loved:

Italians only worry about food, family, and wine.
tuscan kitchen + NESN Dining Playbook

that's the way to live. and, by the way, their wine was fantastic. we had prosecco to start, and red wine with the steak dish, which came later.

wine and prosecco tuscan kitchen

we started off with a corn bowl and a tuna belly. both were fresh and light — something that was delicious, satisfying, and a little unexpected of Italian food (in the best way).

proof that you can have very Paleo-friendly dishes at an Italian restaurant: this beautiful steak dish. it was perfectly cooked and was phenomenal paired with the wine.

steak dish tuscan kitchen

you know those giant cheese wheels filled with pasta that you see in all the viral food videos? well, I watched one up close. I didn't have any, but the smell of it was magical — and it was still one of the best food moments I had, it was that good.

cheese wheel pasta tuscan kitchen

we finished off with dessert, which was much gluten and dairy, but was beautifully presented — and you bet I brought some home to share with people who could enjoy it.

dessert plate tuscan kitchen

thank you to NESN's Dining Playbook for inviting me, Tuscan Kitchen for hosting me, and all the lovely bloggers/influencers I met there. I can't wait for Tuscan Kitchen to open in the Seaport soon!

PS. #doitfortheinsta amright?

PS. #doitfortheinsta amright?