Shake + Stir: FIVE Restaurant

five restaurant fresno

CVLUX invited six local women to the first of an exclusive, invitation-only series, Shake + Stir. Pat and Marina LaRocca, the talented owners of FIVE Restaurant, a local hot spot that specializes in a unique California Italian blend of cuisine, hosted this issue’s event. As the Valley heats up, FIVE has created a new variety of refreshing and delicious salads, hors de’oeurves and drinks perfect for the summer months, and the women of Shake + Stir were able to sample their delectable offerings.

The group was composed of Tammie Riley, Dina Juve, Brooke Imrie, Tracy Kashian, Ivette Ibarra and the always-fabulous Ann T. Sullivan Whitehurst. Most of the women knew one another, but a few were introduced for the first time, and there was an undeniable and instant chemistry. It was a perfect combination of personalities, and set the tone for a fun, light-hearted evening of delicious tasting and conversation.

Even before they were seated, the women were first presented with “The FIVE Royale,” FIVE’s version of a Stockholm Royale, a signature drink this season, featuring syrup made in-house, and pronounced “delicious,” by more than one of the women. This sweet, bubbly and effervescent drink glides down easily and gives the elixir an instant rush when consumed.

The group was seated in the cozy wine room, flanked by racks of only the best bottles in town. At a square table, conducive to conversation, lay an oversized centerpiece, perfectly suited to the season, created by Simply Flowers, which overflowed generously, lightly caressing the linens and surrounded by amber votive candles. Verdant greens and vivid colors, all set in a simple but elegant unfinished wooden box, made the perfect adornment and served as an excellent conversation piece.

While the group sipped their “FIVE Royales,” two beautiful salads were presented by the LaRocca’s. The first, a Seared Tuna salad, beautifully plated, was declared delicious by all, and proclaimed as Dina’s favorite. The salad featured spinach leaves, fraise, radicchio, round potatoes, Calimato olives, eggs, bread crumbs and pickled shallots. It was topped with a light but zesty Lemon Garlic Mustard Vinaigrette.

The second salad was a Kale and Brussel Sprout Salad composed of kale, brussel sprouts, goat cheese, blueberries, shallots and almonds. A Lime Honey Basil Vinaigrette was drizzled on top as a perfect complement to the delicious and artfully- crafted salad. More than a few of the women were enchanted by this delicious offering.

The hors de’oeurve portion was well received by everyone! They were hard-pressed to pick a favorite. Delicate Fillet Bites with a spicy, creamy blue cheese sauce topped with chimichurri sauce was Ann’s favorite. Cheeseburger Rolls were Ivette and Tracy’s favorite: a yummy twist on the wanton roll, which included ground beef, onions and cheddar cheese in a wanton roll, sprinkled with a bacon “special sauce” and served in a lettuce cup. Last but not least, Tammie and Brooke’s “favorite”: Short Rib Raviolo, a single delicious raviolo hand- made out of short rib beef and topped with rib sauce.

Throughout the hors de’ooeurve portion, the women were presented with various summer-perfect cocktails, including what FIVE owners, Pat and Marina, called “The New Happy Hour Drink for Summer:” Cucumber Watermelon Daiquiri, which Ann, not usually a cocktail drinker, found delightful. It was the perfect blend of sweet and savory and most of the women had more than one.

Another delectable cocktail is one that put FIVE’s Happy Hour on the map: The Pomegranate Martini. Carefully hand-crafted with pomegranate liqueur, Pom Pom juice and 3 Olives pomegranate vodka. This fruity and tart concoction was another fan favorite.

After bringing a classic Italian dessert liqueur, Limonchello, for each woman at the table, they were presented with three mouth-watering dishes that were almost too beautiful too eat: Crème Brulée, topped with fresh fruit, FIVE’s Signature Bread Pudding and a Lava Cake paired with Espresso Ice Cream. All three dishes were wiped clean, although Tracy and Tammie pronounced the Bread Pudding their favorites, Ivette favored the Crème Brulée and everyone loved the Lava Cake.

five restaurant fresno

Stay tuned for the next Shake + Stir which will be hosted at Max’s Bistro & Bar.

Hosted at FIVE Restaurant
Managing Editor Cheryl Ensom Dack
Photographer Don Dizon Florals Simply Flowers