Anteprima da la Terza (a first look at third)

This just in from the “life could be worse” department…

Above: Executive chef Gino Angelini and chef de cuisine Gianpiero Ceppaglia at La Terza on Third in West Hollywood.

David Schachter and I met up last night at La Terza, Gino Angelini’s restaurant on Third (hence the name) where Gino and his chef de cuisine Gianpiero Ceppaglia were debuting their new fall menu. We were also joined by LA chef-about-town Walter Manzke and wine industry veteran Enrico Nicoletta: needless to say, some great bottles were opened as we sampled the new repertoire.

Don’t try this at home. We paired David’s 2001 Raveneau Montée de Tonnerre with the spaghetti with lobster. Gino’s seafood is always fantastic, the long noodles were perfectly al dente, and the Raveneau was simply singing…. a great pairing…

Architectonic food has always fascinated me and the theme has pervaded my research in Italian Renaissance cuisine (see my translation of Maestro Martino): I loved this take on baked macaroni, “Vesuvius.”

Gianpiero and Gino matched this beautiful scallop with porcini mushrooms, an unusual pairing that worked swimmingly well. The crostino took it over the top.

David and I got into a fist fight as to whether or not fregola can be called Israeli couscous. I guess it’s the self-loathing Jews in us. The seafood medley with fregola was delicious nonetheless and paired well with a “simple red,” Mick Hucknall’s Etna Nerello Mascalese Il Cantante 2001. I liked the wine despite the dumb name.

Quail over polenta was tender and moist. Definitely a standout… Does it show that I’m a fan? Life could be worse…