ChefView – Fall Into Dessert

Chef View
By Dana Johnson

Fall into Dessert!

I tend to get a bit bummed out when I go to my favorite produce places and all of the juicy fruits of summer are scarce and temperatures start to cool. Yes, as much as I’ve enjoyed the past summer I must embrace the winds of change as I fall into dessert! Aaaah, as the season changes so do the local menus! Verona’s Italian Cucina is a prime example of where we can find the flavors of fall. They had me at pumpkin crème brulee!

A little over a year ago Modesto View’s own Chris Murphy sent me to do a Chef View article at Verona’s. I had dined there before and like it quite a bit. Modesto View’s Jennifer Allsup joined me for her 1st time there, yep she was hooked! I got to spend a good amount of time with owners; Edwarda and (Executve Chef) Jaime Alderete, I love that we share the same passion for fine Italian food. I have been fortunate to occasionally do catering jobs for them. Edwarda’s sister, Rosemary has renewed my faith in old school hospitality as she is most efficient from beginning to end heading up the catering jobs. Jaime’s parents also work part time at the restaurant, making it oh so family friendly. So book now for the holiday season as we will travel to your home or business and provide you with amazing cuisine and stellar full service! Also, if you prefer the warm ambiance of the restaurant, again book in advance for the holidays as those reservations can fill up quick! Available via where Verona’s received the Diner’s Choice Award, Congrats! See Yelp, too!

No wonder Verona’s has been in business for 16 years when Chef Jaime is preparing so many seasonal specials alongside his traditional menu. If you are of legal drinking age, I suggest starting out with a fall flavor cocktail such as a chocolate or espresso martini, a café Verona, or an Italian Kiss! Hey, that’s a drinkie, not a direct invitation lol! Butternut squash soup from scratch will also be found on the fall menu. The entrees for fall are simply divine; Pumpkin ravioli, butternut squash ravioli, and osso buco is an Italian dish made with veal shank containing marrowbone, stewed in wine with vegetables and seasonings, so Dana~licious! Other popular specials are the portofolio chicken with chicken, smoked mozzarella, prosciutto, and pesto. Chicken mattone (brick cooked chicken) Brussel sprouts, bacon, spinach, and sweet potato puree. Try the linguini carbonara mad with guanciale (pork jowls, dried & cured!) white wine, cream peas on truffle poached eggs! Now that’s fine dining with Dana~licious style!

Dessert! Oh Edwarda you have out done yourself and my waistline! Pumpkin crème brulee with house made sugar candy was yummy, the espresso panna cotta was a surprisingly ultra-smooth texture and flavor, and the caramel cheesecake with the apple compote, well, I’ll admit this, try and share it with me & it won’t be pretty! Enjoy these decadent fall desserts with a nice variety of cordials on the menu! Next time the Vin Santo poached pear is high on my list, too!

What a delightful workday for me to find dear friends and local business owners, Carla and Greg Ciccerelli of Dream Dinners & Ciccerelli Jewelers dining on a Monday afternoon with their daughter Alex (who also works in the family business) at Verona’s before they were going to take in a movie. They told me how they have followed Chef Jaime’s fine Italian cuisine for years. They also loved to be greeted by Edwarda, had Amanda as their outstanding server, and in the kitchen were 2nd Chef Daniel Antior, while Chef Jaime personally came over to the table to ensure everything was to their liking! That is Modesto service at its best!

Modesto View’s signature question: Beatles or Stones was asked to Chef Jaime before and he gave me the wrong answer, so I decided to not chance it again! So, to be clear, “Dana~licious, Beatles or Stones?” Hands down, no brainer, all pure, without hesitation, and no doubt whatsoever… ROLLING STONES!!!

(Publisher’s note: I detect a little Stones pressure of Chef Jaime?)

Dana~licious Pumpkin Pizza
1 ready made pizza dough tube
14 oz. canned pumpkin
1 peeled & thinly sliced apples
1 c. grated havarti cheese
2 tsp. all spice

Roll out dough, spread pumpkin. Evenly distribute apples and cheese.
Sprinkle all spice over pizza. Bake according to package directions.
Optional: Top with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream!

Mmmm sooooo Dana~licious!

Verona’s Italiana Cucina

1700 McHenry Ave I-46, Modesto, CA 95350 (209) 549-8876

Hours: Open today · 11:00 am – 9:30 pm




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