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ToT’s Lunch Meet-Up @ Francesca’s

(Photo by Mike Chava)

What do you call a mid-afternoon party that’s open to everyone and full of great food and good cheer? You call it Taste of Temecula’s bi-weekly Wednesday Lunch Meet-Up. Last week it was held at Francesca’s Italian Kitchen and a great time was had by all.

Co-owner Alessio di Sabatino. (Photo by Mike Chava)

Normally Francesca’s only serves dinner but owners Alessio and Franscesca di Sabatino opened up their kitchen just for the ToT Meet-Up and about 40 people came to enjoy the amazing buffet-style lunch.

Thanks to the di Sabatinos, Executive Chef Paolo Quarta, and Sous Chef Elmer Diaz, we were treated to some of the best Italian fare in Temecula. I dug into my spread with relish: Bruschetta with just the right amount of crunch and garlic, two different kinds of salads (I had the Caesar – delicious), fried calamari, creamy pasta, salmon with pesto sauce, and lasagna. Wait…there was more – some of the best chocolate profiteroles I’ve ever tasted and a berry tart made by Reynaldo de Abreu, a top pastry chef who came in from Beverly Hills just to do his thing. Oh, did I mention that the whole buffet was just $10.00 plus tax and tip? Such a deal!

But the food was just part of the fun. Everyone threw their business cards into a jar for a chance to win some great giveaways from ToT. Prizes included $50 worth of Nu-Skin products, free cooking lessons at Francesca’s, 25% off Silpada Jewelry, free one-page ad space in a mailer that hits 20 thousand homes, and a shampoo & style at the Beauty Studio.

Delicious berry tart for dessert. (Photo by Mike Chava)

Francesca’s Italian Kitchen was founded by Alessio and Francesca, who met in the romantic country of Italy. They moved to Temecula in 2007, opened their restaurant…and it’s still going strong. That’s probably because the food is truly authentic homemade Italian, the service is impeccable, the atmosphere is warm and friendly, and yet the prices are very affordable. They even cater to those with food allergies – all of their tasty dishes can be made with gluten-free pasta.

They’ve expanded to offer off-site catering for weddings and other special events, and can also host parties in their banquet room. Those who want to learn more about Italian wines can join their wine club where members receive two to three bottles of wine a month and invitations to exclusive dinners and tasting events. Alessio also holds cooking classes for anyone who wants to learn how to cook Italiano.

ToT's Rusti Banagas collecting biz cards for the many give-a-ways. (Photo by Mike Chava)

So if you missed the last Meet-Up, don’t despair. Just head on over to Francesca’s and tell them that Taste of Temecula sent you. You’ll receive a warm Italian welcome and a special evening you’ll remember for a long time.

And you should also join us for lunch next Wednesday, February 9th, at The Edge in Old Town Temecula. It’s sure to be really fun and you might even win something fabulous. You can’t lose!

P.S. Taste of Temecula is launching the Daily Pairing on February 10th!! Click here to sign up and get the inside scoop on how to save 50-90% off everything you love to do in the Temecula Valley.

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