Esca Kitchen: Valparaiso, IN

I've always loved the food scene in Valparaiso, Indiana and have enjoyed making my way around town to check out so many of the restaurants. A new one opened earlier this year that I had heard such good things about and couldn't wait to try. It's called Esca Kitchen & Company and it's located in Downtown Valparaiso just off the square on Washington Street. 

I love that they start out with a board with warm sourdough baguette, olive oil infused with a blend of seasonings and chili flakes with parmesan and some freshly made garlic hummus.

As a starter we got the Tomato Burrata Tart. I'm a huge fan of burrata and always order it when I see it on a menu. I love having it drizzled with oil and/or balsamic and some bread to scoop it onto. This was a much different preparation than I'm used to. It was unique and so tasty. The warm cherry tomatoes were bursting with flavors and mixed in with delicious oyster mushrooms and topped with honey pesto and fresh herbs. The outside of the tart was coated with sugar, which gave it a sweet finish. I recommend starting out every visit with it. 

We also split a pear salad of arugula and spinach, caramelized pears, almonds and goat cheese with a champagne vinaigrette. I love pear salads and this one has such an amazing blend of flavors.

There were so many entrees on the menu that sounded wonderful, along with the specials that day and it was really hard to choose. When I spotted carbonara on the menu, I was really tempted to get it - even though I hadn't eaten a serving of pasta in over a year. As I was working on weight loss and made it passed my goal of losing 35 pounds, I cut way back on carbs. I hit my goal last November, but I've been sticking pretty close to what was working for me - I've worked bread back in, but hadn't yet had pasta. I decided that if I was going to enjoy a plate of pasta, this was the dish that would be. I haven't had carbonara in a long time. I have tried to make it at home but just couldn't get it right and when I was told it was made the traditional way with egg yolk, pecorino with house-cured pancetta, I couldn't pass it up. Especially when I learned the tagliatelle was scratch-made in house. That sealed the deal. It definitely met my expectations and made it well worth the indulgence.

I had to pass on dessert but it sounded scrumptious. There were house-made ice creams to select from and you could also do an ice cream flight with three different flavors. They also had ice cream sandwiches on homemade cookies. There are such scrumptious cookies flavors as double chocolate fudge, white chocolate cherry and churro.  

There is also patio seating and it's a nice area for sitting out on the patio on a summer afternoon or evening. Be sure to get there and try it out - and let them know the Chicago Foodie Sisters sent you.

Esca Kitchen & Company
22 Washington Street
Valparaiso, In
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