This summer, the dynamic duo of Giuseppe and Salvatore Panzuto took over Carmel’s Pastries and Petals on Saturday nights to serve a traditional Italian dinner. Salvatore manned the kitchen and Giuseppe handled the front of house.
Salvatore prepared a prix fixe three-course dinner — an antipasto, a pasta course and a meat course — for just $35. The menu changed weekly, including many Italian favorites like eggplant Parmigiana and chicken Marsala.
After many failed attempts to drop by earlier in the summer, I finally made it in this weekend — and just in the nick of time, as it turned out this would be the last of the weekly dinner series.
This weekend’s menu included tomatoes with a flavorful twist on potato salad; a baked risotto casserole (sart di riso) that’s a traditional Neapolitan spin on lasagna using risotto instead of noodles; and housemade sweet and juicy Italian sausages with sautéed bell peppers.
The dimly lit Pastries and Petals dining room provided an intimate setting for dinner. The food had that charming, homemade character. The recipes felt like the same ones Salvatore had eaten as a kid — traditional, unpretentious Italian comfort fare passed down through the family generation to generation.
The weekly dinners have ended for the summer, but Giuseppe gave me a tip that he’s looking to continue offering dinners in the fall too, likely monthly instead of weekly and with an emphasis on wine pairings. Be sure to follow Pastries and Petals on Facebook for updates.
Pastries and Petals is located on Mission Street, between Fifth and Sixth, in Carmel. More information at 620-1400 or www.facebook.com/pastriesandpetals.