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Ristorante Tiramisu

Arriving in California from Mexico City at age 18, Victor
Carranza dove headfirst into a lifetime of culinary dedication.
Learning all there was to know about the inner workings of a
kitchen, he climbed his way through the ranks, eventually landing
at Piatti as chef. During his 13 years in the Piatti kitchen,
Carranza developed a deep passion for Italian cooking. But, like
most chefs, he always dreamed of having his own place.

Last month that dream became a reality as he and his wife, Toni,
celebrated the opening of Ristorante Tiramisu in the heart of Paseo
Nuevo. Stepping into their cozy courtyard feels like entering
another world. Oozing European charm, with a mural of Venice and a
staff that is friendly and efficient, Carranza’s restaurant makes
customers feel like they’re in the old country.

Choosing what to eat at Tiramisu is a challenge. The innovative
menu is bursting with fresh ingredients in imaginative
combinations, and nearly everything is made from scratch. Starting
with the Melanzane con Prosciutto ($7.25), however, is an easy
decision. The roasted eggplant roll is filled with prosciutto, goat
cheese, fresh basil, and balsamic reduction.

The Pizza con Funghi is one of the best pizzas in town. A brick
oven turns the light, crispy crust into cloud nine for the plump
shiitake, oyster, button, and portobello mushrooms. Layered with
mozzarella, caramelized onions, and gorgonzola, it’s a steal at
under $10. There are four other scrumptious-looking pizzas as well
as sandwiches on freshly baked focaccia.

It’s not much of a stretch to imagine Carranza and his staff
working like elves in the middle of the night making their fresh
pasta and ravioli. Their labor of love is well represented in
dishes like the Mezza Luna di Zucca ($12.50). The ravioli with
roasted butternut squash, pecorino cheese, and crisp sage cream
sauce melts in the mouth while firing the synapses.

Carranza and company are well prepared for high expectations
when it comes to the restaurant’s namesake. Their traditional
tiramisu is delightful with an extra current of espresso rum
rolling through each bite. They also have a citrus version for
those in an adventurous mood. Now there’s some extra incentive to
go shopping.

4·1·1 Ristorante Tiramisu, 12 W. De la Guerra (in Paseo Nuevo),
962-3805.

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