By February 4, 2014 0 Comments Read More →

ChefView – Mama Mia Vito’s

Chef View By Dana Johnson

Mama Mia!!!

I’m so breaking out in song right now! When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that’s amore! When the world seems to shine like you’ve had too much wine, that’s amore! When I’m dining at Vito’s Ristorante on 13th Street Modesto, that’s amore!

Almost 3 years ago Mr. Modesto View, Chris Murphy, said Dana you really should go check out Vito’s, you’ll love the Italian food and the bread is addicting! Chris said I’d really want to do a feature article on this place. Mind you, I was just getting to know Chris at the time and I didn’t know for sure if his palate was as ‘specific’ as mine. After the first bite of the hot bread, the addiction ensued! I remember panning over the impressive wine list as I recognized this was the beginning of a long-term relationship for mi amore of primo Italian dining and trusting Chris’s supreme culinary suggestions from that point on! 3 years later I’m still here!

May and Ray Ashak are the dedicated owners of Vito’s Ristorante for a number of years now. They previously lived and worked in the infamous restaurant world of Chicago. The couple has a son Nicholas, age 9 and a new baby boy named Noah. Naturally a family and restaurant keep them busy, but they somehow find time to attend, support, and donate to locate charities like the Modesto Police and Fire Departments, United Cerebral Palsy, and direct food donations to the Salvation Army. BIG Thanks!!! When it comes to food I don’t think I’ve ever seen Ray eat the same thing. As for May, she is fabulous shape and doesn’t look like she just had her second baby, probably because she often enjoys the salad favorites on the menu like the avocado shrimp salad and the Waldorf. She did confess she splurges occasionally on the new gluten free flourless chocolate cake from the dessert menu. Young Nicholas, go figure, is a huge fan of the Italian cheese stuffed pork chop with a divine creamy pesto sauce with sides of risotto and sautéed veggies just like ME! Someone is raising this kiddo right!

So I recently found out that Vito’s has 8 new menu items, plus 3 new dessert items, new additions to the wine list, and a new executive chef, Sam Gonzalez! Wait! Time out! I’m not sure any changes were necessary as I’ve been perfectly happy with things just the way they are! So Ray looks me straight in the eye and assures me that my old favorites are still on the menu while Chef Sam is a fortunate new addition to Vito’s. So I said, “prove it!” He had me at Rib eye steak salad! Then he proceeds to share about the strawberry chicken salad, ahi tuna salad, chipotle seafood salad, and all gluten free. I’m still trying to listen but I’m really thinking which salad I’ll try first! Ray says get your scaloppini right here, veal, chicken, or pork! It’s on! Then he really throws me a splitter with a new Sicilian pasta penne! Dana~licious thoughts all ramped as I want to try it all! So I pretty much did just that! New Year, New Menu, all Happy!

I don’t always mention the sous-chef in my articles, but Gabby Argulo is amazing to watch in Vito’s kitchen. She is always smiling and creating dishes with raw passion. That always is carried over for an overall memorable dining experience. But what else I really like about Gabby is that she doesn’t get upset or judge me when I want something special created from within the menu. Go ahead ask for your veggies sautéed in pesto, create your own steak and artichoke custom pizza with Alfredo sauce! Oh yeah, a Dana~licous pizza pie at Vito’s, that’s amore!

Vito’s uses many local food companies to thrive and to continue to deliver freshness to our plates. Stanislaus Foods, Sysco Foods, Sciabica’s Olive Oil, Jimenez Meat products, and you will likely see Ray at Cash & Carry almost daily.

Vito’s has new Happy Hours! 4-7pm! $5 Appetizers, $5 martinis, $5 margaritas, $3 select drafts, and $5 house wine. Now on the wine list is Silkwood’s Alicate Bouschet a new Dana~licious favorite! Also worthy new additions are Napa Cellars, Mossimo, Clean Slate from Germany, and Michael David Ink Blot Petite Verdot! That’s vino amore! Live music on Tuesdays 6-9pm and happy hour extended til closing! I’m thinking its party time, so have it catered or reserve private parties up to 50 guests during business hours. Though Vito’s is closed Sunday, you can have your very own private party with me, Dana~licious as the guest chef, call Vito’s for details! Saturday afternoons also available for these type special events!

Modesto View signature question: Ray, Beatles or Stones? Beatles of course. I’m like, it’s like I don’t know you at all! He said 3 words why; Peace John Lennon. Alright then.

Dana~licious Lemon & Artichoke Soup (now a special @ Vito’s)

32 oz. vegetable or chicken broth 1/2 c. chopped yellow onion 3/4 c. chopped artichoke hearts 1/4 c. cream 2 tbsp. olive oil 2 tbsp. cornstarch juice of 2 fresh squeezed lemons

Sauté onions & artichokes in butter & oil until soft. Stir in remaining ingredients & simmer for 30 minutes. Optional; top w/ parmesan cheese

See recipe demo on Dana Johnson FOX40 & Vito’s



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