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The Best Gnocchi You'll Ever Taste


Perfect Pasta

Your Dining Insider makes no secret of it: He does detest gnocchi. But not so long ago in a place not so far way, he once tasted a gnocchi that blew his mind. It was light. It was flavorful. It was dimpled by hand and covered in a light Gorgonzola cream that could make you swoon. It was, in short, the antithesis of the doughy, fork-cut lumps covered in red sauce that most of us think of as gnocchi, the creation of the talented Anthony Stella who, soon after your Insider’s discovery, closed his L’Osteria on Philadelphia Pike. Happily, Stella had shared the secret of his gnocchi, made from his nonna’s recipe, before he pulled stakes. Sadly, an attempt to re-create it was such an unmitigated disaster, it was never repeated, and the Insider despaired of ever tasting such wonderful dumplings again. Now this: Stella, new owner of Pagano’s Villaggio Italiano, a great little deli in Chadds Ford, has teamed with Talluto’s Authentic Italian Food, one of the biggest pasta makers in the country, to offer Mama Tina’s signature gnocchi. Chef Anthony’s By Talluto’s Potato Gnocchi resulted from a chance meeting at Stella’s L’Osteria 15 years ago. While dining on Stella’s signature gnocchi, the Tallutos found they not only a shared love of authentically prepared Italian food but excitement about how to mass produce it. After years of experimentation and taste testing, they got the recipe right. “Together we enjoyed many lunches developing a recipe that best exemplifies the wonderful taste and texture of Chef Anthony’s signature potato gnocchi,” says Joseph F. Talluto. “After months of development, we are very pleased with the results and believe our customers will be as well.” Make the trip. Buy the gnocchi. Live a little. We are. facebook.com/paganositalian

Calling All Burgermeisters

Mark your calendars for two great events that celebrate the great American creation known as The Burger. First up: the Jake’s Wayback Burgers fifth annual Chowdown Showdown on Aug. 11, when you can attempt to devour the Triple Triple Burger, a nine-patty monster with nine slices of cheese, lettuce and tomatoes. If you can get one down faster than the other contestants, you’ll win an iPad2 and be entered in the Wayback Burgers Facebook video contest, “Why Wayback is Waybetter,” where you could win a $1,000 cash prize, based on how many Facebook fans vote for your vid. Hit Jake’s at Bear, Middletown, Newark, Rehoboth Beach, Smyrna or Kennett Square at 2 p.m. to get in on the fun. (facebook.com/waybackburgers) Second, Union City Grille in Wilmington will host the Wilmington Burger Battle on Aug. 25. Top area restaurants will compete for several titles, including maker of the Best Burger, Best Alternative Burger and People’s Choice Burger at Twin Lakes Brewing Company. “Wilmington offers lots of events for foodies, but none of them are suited to what I consider to be the perfect food—the burger,” says organizer Matthew Curtis, owner of Union City Grille. “A cheeseburger covers all your food groups and yet you can still hold it in your hand. It’s time Wilmington’s chefs had a chance to throw down behind the grill, while letting people cheer on their favorites and raise money to fight hunger.” Delebrity judges will make the call in several categories, but you’ll be the judge for people’s choice. All are welcome. Delaware-brewed beer will be available for sampling, and there will be live music. Proceeds will support the Emmanuel Dining Room to reduce hunger. Keep checking the website for ticket availability. wilmingtonburgerbattle.com

Ain’t That a Peach?

Another date to mark in your daybook: Aug. 18, when Middletown hosts its annual Old Tyme Peach Festival to celebrate the town’s former status as peach capital of the country. The fun begins with a parade on Broad Street at 9 a.m. All day long, the area around Broad and Main will teem with crafters and vendors of food, food and more food—and the peach pie contest. Nothing says summer like peaches. middletownpeachfestival.com

The ABCs of Best—Yet Again

We’re up to I, J and K in the countdown, which is now officially over because it’s party time. The annual Best of Delaware Party begins at Dover Downs on Thursday, July 26. You won’t want to miss it. Sample food and drink from among 100 vendors, including some retailers. Here’s a teaser. For more winners, click here. For more on the party, click here.

Best in Bethany Beach

Readers: Bethany Blues BBQ 6 N. Pennsylvania Ave., Bethany Beach, 537-1500, bethanyblues.com

Best in Bridgeville

Readers: Jimmy’s Grille 18541 S. Main St., Bridgeville, 337-7575, deweybeachlife.com

Best in Centerville-Greenville

Readers: Pizza By Elizabeths 3801 Kennett Pike, Greenville, 654-4478

Best in Claymont

Readers:, Claymont Steak Shop 3526 Philadelphia Pike, Claymont, 798-0013, claymontsteakshop.com

Best in Dewey Beach

Readers: The Starboard 2009 Highway One, Rehoboth Beach, 227-4600, thestarboard.com

Best in Downtown Wilmington

Readers: Chelsea Tavern 821 Market St., Wilmington, 575-9369, chelseatavern.com

Best in Dover

Readers: Cool Springs Fish Bar & Restaurant 2463 S. State St., Dover, 698-1955, coolspringsfishbar.com

Best in Fenwick Island

Readers: Just Hooked 1500 Coastal Hwy., Fenwick Island, 581-0098

Best in Georgetown

Editors: Classic American fare served in a beautifully restored dining room make The Brick Hotel Restaurant & Tavern a breath of fresh air. It earns extra points for the beer-cheese soup, plump fried oysters and excellent crab cakes. 18 The Circle, Georgetown, 855-5800, thebrickhotel.com

Best in Harrington

Readers: Bonz Restaurant and Lounge 15 W. Rider Road, Harrington, 398-5348, harringtonraceway.com

Best in Hockessin

Readers: Six Paupers Tavern & Restaurant 7465 Lancaster Pike, Hockessin, 489-7287, sixpaupers.com

Best in Lewes

Readers: Agave Restaurant and Bar 137 Second St., Lewes, 645-1232, agavelewes.com

Best in Maryland

Readers: Chesapeake Inn Restaurant 605 Second St., Chesapeake City, 410-885-2040, martuscelliandsons.com

Best in Middletown

Editors: Cantwell’s Tavern 109 Main St., Odessa, 376-0600, cantwells-tavern.com

Best in Milford

Readers: Abbott’s Grill 249 N.E. Front St., Milford, 491-6736, abbottsgrillde.com

Best in Millsboro

Editors: The Georgia House 119 Main St., Millsboro, 934-6737, eatgh.com

Best in Milton

Readers: Irish Eyes Pub & Restaurant 105 Union St., Milton, 645-6888, irisheyespub.com

Best in New Castle

Editors: Editors: Jessop’s Tavern and Restaurant is a perfect fit for a town that takes its history seriously. Dining there feels like eating in the kitchen of the George Read House. A menu of hearty pot roast, pork chops and “Fricken Chicassee” always satisfies. 114 Delaware St., New Castle, 322-6111, jessops-tavern.com

Best in Newark

Readers: Caffé Gelato 90 E. Main St., Newark, 738-5811, caffegelato.net

Best In North Wilmington

Readers: Ulysses American Gastropub 1716 Marsh Road, Wilmington, 691-3456, ulyssesgastropub.com

Best in Pennsylvania

Readers: Sovana Bistro 696 Unionville Road, No. 8, Kennett Square, (610) 444-5600, sovanabistro.com

Best in Rehoboth Beach

Readers: Big Fish Grill 20298 Coastal Hwy., Rehoboth Beach, 227-9007, bigfishgrill.com

Best in Seaford

Readers: Bon Appetit 312 High St., Seaford, 629-3700, bonappetitseaford.com

Best in Smyrna

Readers: Sheridan’s Irish Pub 44 W. Commerce St., Smyrna, 659-5566, sheridansirishpub-smyrna.com

Best Indian Restaurant

Readers, upstate: India Palace 101 N. Maryland Ave., Wilmington, 655-8772, indiapalacede.com

Readers, downstate: Flavor of India 348 N. DuPont Hwy., Dover, 678-0121, flavorofindiade.com

Editors, upstate: It isn’t strictly traditional, but everything at Zaikka Indian Grill is made fresh, so it hasn’t sat in a steam table for half the day. The atmosphere is cheerful, and owners  Anu and Sandeep Nagpal are always happy to see you. We especially like the naan rolls. Think burrito or wrap, but with delicious naan. 209 N. Market St., Wilmington, 543-4959, zaikka.com

Best Italian at the Beach

Editors, downstate: You can still take out subs, steaks and pizzas at DiFebo’s Restaurant and Pizzeria, but it behooves you to stay awhile. Take a seat in the courtyard, then linger over a house favorite like roasted veal medallions topped with lots of fresh crabmeat and mushrooms in a silky Marsala demi glace. You can’t go wrong with any seafood dish. And the DiFebo-Osias family treats you like family.  789 Garfield Pkwy., Bethany Beach, 539-4550, difebos.com

Best Italian Restaurant

Readers, upstate: Soffritto Italian Grill 1130 Kirkwood Hwy., Newark, 455-1101, soffrittogrill.com

Readers, downstate: Roma Italian Ristorante 3 President Drive , Dover, 678-1041, romadover.com

Best Japanese Restaurant

Readers, upstate: Mikimotos Asian Grill & Sushi Bar 1212 N. Washington St., Wilmington, 656-8638, mikimotos.com

Readers, downstate: The Cultured Pearl Restaurant & Sushi Bar 301 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth Beach, 227-8493, culturedpearl.us

Editors, upstate: Okura Japanese Cuisine Restaurant 703 Ace Memorial Drive, Hockessin, 239-8486, okurarestaurant.net

Editors, over the line: Masamoto Sushi & Asian Grill 1810 Wilmington Pike , Glen Mills, (610) 358-5538, masamotosushi.com

Best-Kept Secret

Editors, upstate: Tucked into the Hilton Wilmington-Christiana, Brasserie Grill offers a menu of steakhouse favorites—all certified Angus beef—with a bounteous haul of fresh seafood. The wine list offers many worthy matches. 100 Continental Drive, Newark, 781-7000, brasseriegrille.com

Don’t forget, you can check in any time to see the year’s winners. Next time you’re trying to decide where to go or what to do, take a look.

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