Saturday is the day we have set aside for adventure and a dinner date. We try to find a new route to an old favorite restaurant or try out a place we’ve never visited. This past weekend we did both. We set out on a long drive through the mountains around Watauga Lake, with our destination being La Cucina Italian Kitchen in Mountain City.
We explored the winding roads with hairpin turns through the Cherokee National Forest for the next couple of hours. Motorcycle riders from all over the US travel to Johnson County to ride “The Snake.” The Snake motorcycle trip includes incredible mountain scenery, 489 curves, three mountains, and one vast, beautiful valley in a thirty-three-mile journey. During long-ago summers, Mr. Mickey and I took the same roads on his Honda Shadow along with other motorcycle riding friends. It is almost as much fun in a Mercedes sedan!
We reached our destination in time for our reservations. We have been planning to visit the La Cucina Italian Kitchen for years, but until now, our schedule and an available table have never coincided. After hearing so many glowing recommendations from all of our friends who have been there, we suspected we would love this place. We did!
The charming owner, Matteo Torri, took a quick break from creating magic in the kitchen to greet us at the door. He and his wife, Graciela, live on the property and tend the gardens that supply the flowers and some menu items.
Bread made earlier in the day was served while we looked over the expansive menu.
I strongly suspect that these tomatoes and basil were growing in the garden earlier in the day.
My fresh vegetable, shrimp, and pasta dish were perfectly prepared. Mr. Mickey’s shrimp alfredo was so delicate and flavorful he didn’t speak after it arrived. It was an absolute delight to enjoy Matteo’s food!
We are about to share desserts made from recipes passed down from Matteo’s family. We were so impressed with the other food we enjoyed; we broke our tradition of sharing only one dessert.
If you plan to visit La Cucina, you should know that payment is cash only, and it is in a dry county. You may bring a bottle of wine, but they are not allowed to serve alcohol.
Garden Party lipstick here from Beautycounter matches my Malibu Punch items exactly!
My look for the day included a Malibu Punch tank and jacket from Chico’s this past spring. The dark wash straight leg jeans were from J.Jill last year. The navy blue espadrille shoes are by Nine West. The Tory Burch sunglasses are from last year. Similar here.
As we were making our way home, the storm clouds started to gather over the mountains again.