New: Ristorante Italia
Italia opened last week, becoming the latest restaurant in the locally owned Metro Restaurants group. Jon Wirtis is the general manager and chef, hailing from Portland, Ore. He brings experience from Le Cordon Bleu's training at the Western Culinary Institute, and from McCormick and Schmick's. Featuring a multi-regional Italian menu, Italia features fresh fish flown in six days a week. Check out Italia (formerly City Grill) at 6464 E. Tanque Verde Road; 733-1111; Web site
New: Marco's Patisserie
Recently opened in the former Maribelle Cakery digs is Marco's Patisserie, co-owned by Jim Heath and Marco Delao; the latter has a pastry chef's degree from the Le Cordon Bleu culinary arts program and has worked at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. Marco's specializes in custom wedding and signature cakes, baked goods, pastries and breads. Try the French bread with garlic glaze or cheese jalapeno focaccia. View the mouthwatering Web site
. Marco's is located at 3308 E. Grant Road; 292-8567.
Janos' New Cookbook
Attention, chile relleno lovers: James Beard Award-winning chef and restaurateur Janos Wilder announces the publication of his new cookbook, The Great Chiles Rellenos Book
, with more than 70 recipes for chiles rellenos. The book explores the culinary origins of chiles rellenos, offers tips on ingredient selection and shares easy preparation techniques suitable for beginning cooks and expert home chefs. You can find the cookbook at Janos Restaurant or local bookstores.
Closed: Coffee Vein
The Coffee Vein on Stone Avenue recently closed. It's so important to support locally owned coffee houses, restaurants, bookstores, movie theaters and other services. These independent businesses usually donate to local charities and have less of a financial cushion to fall back upon.
Coffee's On: On or Off?
Speaking of coffee, for the past few weeks, I have been trying to contact Coffee's On, a new coffee house at 2502 N. Campbell Ave., but the shop has odd hours (not open until noon) and no message on their answering machine (300-5493). Coffee's On is a short block north of Raging Sage and Coffee X-Change.