Vin de Paire or "Wine Pairing" is a blog focusing on wine and food and all the incredible things related to them. Vin de Paire is a collaboration of authors and topics to elicit thoughts, ideas and desires in an easy to understand and not too serious format. Read, learn & enjoy. Cheers! (Like to be an author? Contact us.)


Great Italian Cooking from Acapulco


She had a long day in the recording studio and when I picked her up for a late lunch she was in the mood for Italian. (Opera somehow does that.) Off to Little Italy.


When I lived in Little Italy a few years ago my son and I developed a couple of favorite hangouts. Primary of these is Buon Appetito. It’s small, charming, the food is great, and the staff is mostly Italian. Our waiter was from a small town near Genoa. He’d recently been back and his parents wanted him to stay, marry a nice Italian girl, and take over the family restaurant, but he’d already seen too much of the wide, wide world and couldn’t be happy back down on the farm. We had the calamari fritti which was quite good although we ordered more of the sauce that was served with the bread as it had more flavor than the one that came with the squid. Good as it was, the reigning king of calamari is still the Union Square Café in NYC. Has to be the graham cracker in the breading!


Our main dish was a ravioli of goat cheese, arugula, pine nuts, and sun-dried tomatoes with a very French-style butter sauce that tasted of lemon but the chef assured us was tart only from the wine. Whatever it was, we both loved it so much that we asked Genovese the waiter if we could speak to the chef.


Soon thereafter, we were approached by another very courteous young Italian gentleman inquiring if there was a problem with the food. When we explained no, the pasta was excellent, he sent for the chef.We then met Gabriel from Acapulco. He’s been in this country for years learning his trade in excellent hotels and restaurants. It shows.


The wines; several glasses of excellent Italian Chardonnay; crisp and minerally.


In the spirit of full disclosure, I need to say that one of the co-owners of Buon Appetito worked for me as a waitress years ago in my Del Mar restaurant. She was one of the best and certainly most passionate about her job people I’ve worked with. On those occasions when we disagreed she would tell me that when she owned her own place she’d do things differently.


Well, she does and she is. She’s doing things her way and that’s the only way to do things in this business.


Way to go, Daniela.



Chef Chuck Samuelson
Leader, Vin Village-San Diego
Chuck Samuelson Catering