Home Food DigiBites: A Birthday Feast Fit For A Chef’s Wife

DigiBites: A Birthday Feast Fit For A Chef’s Wife

Our unforgettable meal (including Bistecca alla Florentina) at Hotel Bel Soggiorno, San Gimignano, Italy

Welcome News24/680 food followers to my wife’s spectacular birthday party!

Chef Charlie

For my wife’s birthday dinner last Friday, she wanted to re-create a meal we had last year at this time in San Gimignano, Tuscany, Italy. The meal centered around Bistecca alla Florentina (Florentine Steak) also a popular dish we often order at Coppola’s Rustic restaurant in Geyserville (a favorite birthday venue for her during normal times). 

This meal was ALL HER! She researched and special ordered these steaks from Whole Foods. These were special cut by the head butcher and he actually called to check on her order and wished her a happy birthday! So, these are double porterhouses – a combination of Filet Mignon and New York strip steak separated by a T-bone. Seared and oven-finished (400˚F) to her preferred internal temperature of 160˚F; rested and carved!

Seared and oven-finished

So, she chose all her favorite dishes and beverages, and we spent 6 hours cooking together. Anyone who knows her, it was one of her BEST DAYS EVER, to have her family – all confined together – creating, cooking and eating for her special day!

This was the menu (I’ll be posting recipes for some of these other dishes later):

  • Steak Florentine
  • Sauce Béarnaise
  • L’Ami Louis Gateau de Pommes (Potato Cake)
  • Tuscan Fried Artichokes
  • Pearl Couscous with Peas, Ricotta and Mint
  • Butter Lettuce Salad with Tarragon Vinaigrette Profiteroles with Pastry Cream, Straw and Black berries
  • Mojitos and Piña Coladas
    CHIANINA CATTLE. In Tuscany, the Bistecca alla Florentina is derived from a young (16 – 18 month old) Chianina, an Italian breed, the oldest and largest in the world. Chianina beef is praised for being lean and well-marbled, which adds to its tenderness. They are chosen for their growth rate – nearly 5 pounds per day, and their high yield and quality of meat.


Recipe: Season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Sear on both sides in olive oil and oven-finish (400˚F oven) to desired doneness: 150˚F (Rare) 160˚F (Medium-Rare) 165˚F (Medium)

Finished steak served with Sauce Béarnaise


  1. The local wild turkeys are lean…you might say gamey. The only cost for this protein is the smell of gutting them and plunging them into boiling water before plucking them. That can be taxing. Not something for this generation of Americans, I think. “Let the immigrants do it” (this distasteful work) seems to be the order of the day. Let them take the risk of injury and illness in a shoulder to shoulder meat packing plant circa 1910, not much different from Upton Sinclair’s muckraking novel, The Jungle. It’s a job with survivable wages and passable food from the company store. So much better than life in Mexico or El Salvador…and then you get sick or injured, and you are OUT!! On your own. Alone. In the Jungle.

    Enjoy your beef and your pig and your chicken from…from…from wherever beef and pig and chicken comes from. Tyson foods? JBS? A gift from God? You can close your eyes but the sourcing is not invisible.

  2. Wife grumbling about how I made spaghetti for her birthday and this didn’t help. But hey i bought her a 8 dollar bottle of Trader Joes wine to go with dinner! No expense too great for my bride!

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