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Katie's Cucina

Carrabba’s Tastemaker Event

As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program, I attended a luncheon on Saturday, August 14th at the Carrabba’s on Vineland Road with other Central Florida food bloggers. This not only gave me the chance to meet other foodies, but gave me a behind the scenes glimpse into how Carrabba’s operates flawlessly! I’ve been dining at Carrabba’s for years now, and when I found out I was chosen to attend this culinary session I was beyond excited. This was my first event, and I wasn’t sure what to expect. I brought my husband with me since he loves to eat, and is my number one food taste-tester! Not only did we get a full lunch, but Carrabba’s sent us home with another dish to try at home later along with a wooden bread paddle and a dipping sauce plate! I was not compensated to go to this event other than the food I consumed and took home with me. 


The managing partner, Angela Gutierrez, hosted the event, and did an amazing job (Norris Wagner, Special events coordinator, also helped her cook)! Not only did she cook, but she gave us insider secrets to how some of Carrabba’s most well known dishes are cooked, and answered any and all questions we threw at her. She informed us that Carrabba’s can cook just about anything your heart desires even if it’s not on the menu–you can call ahead and they will have it waiting for you. They also offer a gluten free menu.  There are over 200 Carrabba’s nation wide, and the first store was founded in Texas. 

Angela started our luncheon with Carrabba’s signature Calamari dish. Lightly battered, fried, and served with marinara sauce  this is always a favorite amongst seafood lovers. 


We tried three different pasta dishes during our lunch. The first of which is my favorite. Tag Pic Pac; Tagliarini in Carrabba’s Picchi Pacchiu sauce with crushed roma tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, and basil. This sauce is made fresh to order and contains no excess pasta water to thicken it up. This is the perfect pasta dish on a hot summer’s day since it’s so light. 

The second pasta dish we tried was one that I’ve never had before; Linguine Pescatore. Shrimp, sea scallops and mussels tossed with linguine in a spicy marinara sauce. Angela had informed us that all of Carrabba’s mussels are imported in from Prince Edward Island in Canada. 


The third pasta dish we sampled was the Penne Franco. Angela was told to stick to only pasta dishes, but she wanted everyone to taste there chicken that is cooked on the wood-burning grill. They marinate the chicken breast with salt, pepper, oregano, garlic, and olive oil. The Penne Franco consisted of mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, artichoke hearts and black olives, with ricotta salata freshly grated on top of the dish. They take pasta water to add an extra layer of flavoring to the dish. This dish doesn’t consist of a sauce so-to-speak, but more of a nice light flavoring of olive oil and garlic. 


For dessert we had the opportunity to try not 1, not 2, but 3 small desserts. By this point I was heading into a carbohydrate coma, but so happy to have ate so many delicious dishes. The first dessert we tried was Dessert Rosa which has a butter cake topped with banana pudding, strawberries, and pineapple. Once deemed the “better than sex” cake. The second dessert was the Chocolate Coconut Pecan Mouse which contained some John Cole nuts. The third dessert was both of our favorites; the mini Cannoli layered with creamy marscapone cheese, chocolate chips, and crumbled cannoli shell! 

Lastly, here are a few photograph’s of the group in action: 

When you get the chance you may want to check out some of the FoodBuzz bloggers who attended the Carrabba’s Tastemaker event


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One Response to “Carrabba’s Tastemaker Event”

  1. The Cheap Gourmet posted on August 19, 2010 at 9:38 pm (#)

    What a fabulous review of the Carrabba's Foodbuzz Tastemaker event! Your photos are amazing. It was a pleasure meeting you and I hope to see you at the next event!

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