Last month, a bunch of my friends and I went for Sunday Supper on a scorching afternoon, dining al fresco at Lucca Cafe. Our 11 person group included OC bloggers Priscilla of She’s Cookin, Austin of The Hungry Dogg, photographer extraordinaire Anne Watson (and I thank her for allowing me the use of her gorgeous black and white print below), and a few other equally effervescent and intriguing personalities.
On this particular Sunday, Chef Cathy Pavlos’ inspiration came from Alice Waters of Chez Panisse fame and her menu reflected a farm-to-table cacophony of vibrant and flavorful seasonal produce which Alice is so fond of showcasing.
Everything was served family style so plates and platters of food were placed in the middle of the table. We passed it around once we garnered some for ourselves. Eggplant Caviar was a perfect appetizer. This roasted eggplant dip was light and had a hint of tartness to boot.
I’m a sucker for deviled eggs so Stuffed Cage Free Eggs really appealed. I managed to sneak a couple of these since there were some dairy-free diners at my table. SCORE!
Alice Waters was always one to use the freshest produce in season and I wasn’t surprised when the most beautiful Heirloom Tomato Salad with Marinated Beets and di Stefano Burrata Cheese showed up. The beets were so sweet, a mix of red and golden, the tomatoes were plump and juicy, all of which in their prime at the moment. Combined with the creamy and smooth burrata, everything was simply divine.
Sweet Corn Soup with a puree of roasted sweet peppers was really delicious and the portion so generous I couldn’t finish it.
The soup was served with an equally delectable Zucchini Bread which could have stood up on its own in a bread basket even. It was not your typical zucchini bread — at least, not one I’ve ever made — with a pound cake consistency, so rich and buttery!
I should have just eaten one of the Housemade Bacon Yorkshire Pudding Popovers but they were so hard to resist. Not that they needed anything else with them, but a slathering of the red pepper butter spread just took them to the next level.
By now, I was already pretty full, but the first of our entrees arrived – Grilled Pork Rib Eye Steaks served medium to medium rare. Sides included green beans with marjoram and glazed purple carrots. My son ate quick a few pieces of these and even took some home for the next day.
All Natural Halal Chicken cooked under a brick was juicy and tender. I wanted to eat more but my stomach couldn’t handle much more. Lucky for me, everyone was too full to eat more so I put a few pieces into the takeout box as well.
New Potato Salad definitely got my son hooked for life. He ate a lot of this and yes, we took some of THIS home too. The fried capers added a lovely tartness, as well as a crispy texture to it and I love how the potatoes were not slathered with mayo.
We still had dessert and I wanted to pass like I usually do, but Baked Farmers Market Peaches served with handmade vanilla bean ice cream and Alice’s Oatmeal Current Cookies was too good to pass up. Chef Cathy let me take the peaches and cookie home (she threw in another piece) and my son ate my ice cream.
Sunday Suppers are best shared with friends so I highly recommend you grab a few people together and spend a leisurely Sunday afternoon enjoying a meal at Lucca. This incredible feast is $60/person and each course is paired with a wine, but it was too hot for me to drink so I am not able to tell you about any of them. You can check Lucca Cafe’s website for more info.
The next Sunday Supper at Lucca will be this Sunday, Sept 9th at 3pm. The theme this month is a New England style Clam Bake. You can find the menu by clicking on their website. You have to reserve by Friday, so do it quickly! I have a $50 gift certificate for one reader to win and this week the entries will close on Saturday in time for Sunday Supper if you would like to use it towards the Clam Bake. Leave me a comment with your FULL name and tell me what you love most about Sunday suppers and whether of not you are planning to join the Clam Bake.
6507 Quail Hill Parkway
Irvine, CA 92603