Bottega Al Fresco

Bottega’s patio or my porch?

By Jan Walsh

Nothing beats Bottega’s patio. Yet if you want it to go, Bottega is still offering curb menu, as well as their patio menu, with plans to reopen dining rooms in late spring.

In 2020, when restaurants were first allowed curb service, Kev and I were the first in line. Kev would pick up our order, while I set the teak table on our screened in porch. Today I am working at home as usual. So, we repeat this fun pattern from the past. Kev picks up Bottega for lunch on the porch. And the dogs and I are waiting when he walks up the sidewalk with lunch in hand.

Lunch at Frank and Pardis Stitt’s Bottega Café always begins with their fabulous focaccia and ends with pastry chef, Dolester Miles' desserts. And curb is no different. We dip in their house infused olive oil and sip a glass of wine as we listen to the birds sing, and watch the mountain begin to explode with green and Dogwood blooms.

Clam Chowder is on the menu today. So, we have two bowls. And although I expected to have to warm it, after the drive from Southside to Liberty Park, as I transfer the soup to our bowls, steam rises from the container. This divine chowder is thick, creamy, and chock full of clams along with enough potato to add texture and comfort. We both agree… never had better clam chowder.

One of my favorite salads is back on the menu for spring! Tortellini Salad is a pasta salad like none other. This marvelous mix of pretty house made pasta, grilled chicken, mozzarella, sweet peas, sweet onion, aïoli, and a hint of mint achieves lightness and heartiness, while balancing both. During summertime Stitt typically adds heirloom tomatoes to it, evolving it to the season. Highly recommended for both spring and summer!

Kev loves Bottega’s sandwiches. And today he enjoys the marvelous Muffuletta, piled high with layers of meaty mortadella, soppressata, and prosciutto, along with provolone, and a lovely olive relish. His sandwich is accompanied by their thin, crisp, and famous house made chips. Both entrees also traveled well.

For dessert we share a shortcake of fresh, macerated strawberries, which takes me back in time to making this dessert for my sons in springtime. It is topped off with house whipped vanilla cream. The juice from the berries runs down the cake, while the fluffy cream envelopes it all. Down home and divine!


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