Guest Column: Indulging in a new Winters experience

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As non-opening opening nights go, Carboni’s was a success.Sure, the point of sale system had its issues, and the first beer the brand-new bartender poured looked more like something she would froth up at Steady Eddy’s.  Yet, the spirit of the new place was familiar and welcoming. There were no complaints from the word-of-mouth only guests—all the food was free. With 95 percent of the menu available, it was a shock-and-awe opening for the staff and the kitchen crew. After all, they were not making nachos with canned cheese—The menu consisted of very ambitious Italian faire. My bar-buddy did her best to eat her way through a good portion of the menu—“Hey, I’m helping the staff,” she insisted. A peek into the kitchen through the glass wall showed the kitchen crew chopping, kneading, and rolling out pasta as fast as they could. While just a bowl of pasta is not on the menu, the chef indulged me, and his handmade pasta earns a closed-eyed “mmmmmmm.” Thankfully, my bar-buddy shared her pancetta entree and grilled romaine salad and she was lucky to get it back (though, coming between a yoga master and her food could have put me on the losing end of Carboni’s first bar fight). Though most of the staff had fewer than two weeks on the job, they rolled with the punches and our hostess even managed to show off some impromptu dance moves while her boss was not looking. With Berryessa beer on tap, and Berryessa wine on the menu, Carboni’s is walking the talk of going local.  By the end of the night, the newby bartender mastered her beer pour and the head bartender was calling me by my first name. Of course, if your experience is not so good, ask for a comment card and check the option marked “Stage Boycott.”]]>

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