Because it often calls for bewildering ingredients such as prosciutto, roast Vespa, and 1-up mushrooms, Italian cuisine can be a daunting subject for cooking enthusiasts. Start your culinary education with today's Groupon: for $40, you get a cooking class for two that results in a four-course meal (a $100 value) at Al Boccalino, part of Seattle's Little Italy in Pioneer Square. Classes are held Monday through Saturday starting at 7 p.m.; there's limited availability on weekends, so please call ahead. Alcohol is not included in this deal.
Drawing inspiration from ancient Roman and regional Italian styles of cooking, Al Boccalino's gloriously mustachioed owner and chef Luigi Denunzio brings energy to his cooking classes as he shows eight to 12 aspiring foodmakers how to craft scrumptious dishes out of fresh seasonal vegetables, fine herbs, and prime cuts of meat. The four-course lineup (protein, vegetarian, or fish—your choice) is always changing (with your own preferences, allergies, and exact number of taste buds taken into account), but a sample menu might start with Luigi demonstrating the proper way to sauté baby octopus with parsley, red onions, basil, and white wine. Next, he might offer pointers on how to tame and domesticate handfuls of linguini found in the wild before tossing it together with anchovies, saffron, fennel, and onion. You'll also receive insider advice on preparing entrees such as eggplant and zucchini parmesan and medallions of roasted halibut. As a capper, classic Italian desserts such as Venetian rice pudding and zabaione with prosecco cream over seasonal berries will defuse sweet teeth just a few seconds before they detonate. Whatever your menu turns out to be, you'll get to savor the fruits, meats, and sauces of Luigi's labor as each course is made, then served to your table.
Though many students enjoy the show over a bottle of wine (not included in this Groupon) from Al Boccalino's kitchen table, you'll be free to get up close to the action and ask Luigi plenty of questions. Crisp white tablecloths, dark-red walls, warm lighting, and a rustic Italian decor imbue Al Boccalino with a romantic yet domestic atmosphere, much like hanging up one's laundry during a full moon. Bring a fellow inquisitive foodie and bond with equally culinary couples over an educational feast at Al Boccalino.
- Possessing all the charm and character of an old-world Italian bistro, this Pioneer Square restaurant serves classic dishes including pasta, fresh seafood, and seasonal specials in a cozy setting. Passing through an iron gate, guests enter into a small foyer dominated by a huge antique sideboard. In the dining room, brick and Tuscan-yellow-hued walls are framed by polished dark wood, while heavy glass votives flicker atop white tablecloths beneath vintage chandeliers. The kitchen does well with the classics, including antipasti that changes daily, light, well-constructed pasta sauces, and heartier dishes such as osso buco. Seafood is a mainstay, with dishes such as gamberoni al vino bianco, wild Gulf prawns prepared in tomato, garlic and white wine atop a bed of spinach. Bistecca alla fiorentina---a huge porterhouse, perfect for sharing---is beautifully seasoned with olive oil, herbs and pepper. When tomatoes are in season, be sure to order the insalata caprese. Beer and wine are served, with an adequate selection of both. End on a sweet note with the silky vanilla and caramel custard. – Gayot
Seattle's Little Italy Al Boccalino
Growing up in the Italian port town of Brindisi, Luigi DeNunzio frequented the colorful outdoor markets with his father. Surrounded by stalls bursting with local produce, meat, fish, and dairy, Luigi discovered his love of rustic cuisine composed from the freshest regional ingredients. After immigrating to Seattle in 1977, Luigi amassed experience in both cooking and business while working at a handful of the city's Italian restaurants. In 1989, he opened Al Boccalino, where tables covered in white linen host plates of hearty Italian fare. Since then, Luigi has expanded his oeuvre to include cooking classes as well as a second, more casual eatery, Café Bengodi.
1 Yesler Wy.
Seattle, Washington 98104Get Directions