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Perhaps you know Zengo Restaurant because of award-winning Chef Richard Sandoval. And perhaps you have visiting one of the locations around the country, in Santa Monica, New York, Washington DC and Denver, to taste the Latin-Asian menu.  But, did you know that in addition to the regular Latin-Asian menu, Zengo, which means "give and take" in Japanese, also offers items from their test kitchen. Every few months the chefs of Zengo come together in researching and developing seasonal menus that feature dishes from one Latin and one Asian country. The items are integrated onto the main menu, but you can locate them by spotting the "TK" next to the specialty items. Now thru December, the Zengo is offering Peruvian and Malaysian dishes as part of the "Test Kitchen" menu. The dishes includes cocktails, appetizers, entrees and even a dessert.
Finding good food in Italy isn't hard to do. But, occasionally a special place is visited that is different from the rest.  And we found that very one on our recent trip to Pavia....at Erbaluce. Next to the Duomo in Pavia, we happened upon Erbaluce, a modern and warm restaurant owned by chef Antonia Plati. A self-taught chef, Plati was a lawyer in Milan when she gave it up to open her first restaurant in 2006. Her husband acts as wine buyer and server when not working as a doctor. The style of the food is a modern Italian interpretation with a French twist, and the dishes are inspired by her family home in Basilicata, near the sea.
Located 40 minutes south of Milan, the capital of the Lombardy region, is the town of Pavia, home to one of the oldest universities in Europe (1361). And, just across the river from Pavia sits the region of Oltrepò Pavese, which means just that. It is “on the other side of the Po River from Pavia”. Because of its rolling hills, it is frequently called the “Tuscany of the North” but although the Oltrepò Pavese is one of the largest wine producing regions in all of Italy, it is still fairly unknown, which makes it a great "off-the-beaten" path place to visit.