3400 N. Central Expressway
Plano, TX 75074
Josh Goldschmidt, Proprietor
This past Saturday we were invited to attend a Tastemaker Event at Carrabba's Italian Grill located on Central Expressway in Plano, as part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program. This was my first event as a Foodbuzz publisher and I must say that I am looking forward to many more to come. It was a wonderful platform to meet with other fellow food bloggers and foodies and not to mention all that delicious food.
Founded in Houston by Johnny Carrabba and Damian Mandola in 1986, Carrabba's Italian Grill is not just another Italian food chain out there. Many of their dishes are unique and based on family recipes handed over through generations. They have several locations all over the country - be sure to check them out if you haven't already.
When I got this invitation I was pretty excited because I had never been to Carrabba's before and I love Italian food. The event started off with a warm welcome by the proprietor, Josh Goldschmidt who then led us to the front of their kitchen where we were given a chef's demonstration of their signature pesto and pasta dish - "Penne Franco". All their pastas are made fresh and do not sit for more than 2 hours. While we were at it, along came their house special light and fruity blackberry Sangria - it was needless to say the best I have ever had so far. If and when you visit Carrabba's, which I strongly recommend, please do ask for their Sangria - guaranteed you will love it.
Afterwards we proceeded to our assigned seats marked by our individual personalized menu cards. The lunch was kick started by fresh baked bread with the dipping and their "Grilled Bruschette" topped with pesto, tomato, basil and cheese. It was a light and lovely start to what would be one of the best Italian food I have had in recent times.
Next up were the 'Zuppa' - I went with the "Minestrone" and Ashish tried the "Sausage and Lentil Soup". We each sampled both and loved it. The soups were very hearty but light and makes you want to jump on to the next course which is precisely what we did. Of course there was a lot of foodie conversation around the table and the Sangria kept coming :)
For our entree course we got "Tag Pic Pac" (ain't that a fun name) - which is a Tagliarini pasta in a Picchi Pacchiu sauce with chicken, crushed tomatoes, garlic, olive oil and basil. Ashish got the "Pasta Carrabba" - which is a Fettuccine Alfredo with grilled chicken, sautéed mushrooms and peas. All the dishes were very unique and had a very homemade feel to them. Their food is made fresh and that actually reflects in their dishes. If you had an Italian heritage and your Italian grandmother made lunch in her cozy home in Italy - this is what you would get to eat.
We each also got our goodie bags of their bread, carrabba caesar salad, and their signature pasta "Penne Franco" - with Chicken, mushrooms, sun dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts and black olives, with ricotta salata. Along with it were a serving of their mini-desserts which was a "Chocolate Coconut Mousse". So the lunch that left us wanting to taste more of their dishes lead to a comfy dinner at home with more surprises.
The ambiance of the place plays well with their food. Pair that with the friendly staff and you have a winner. The experience of meeting other food bloggers under this setup was very enjoyable and we look forward to meeting them all again.
Thank you Carrabba's and Foodbuzz.