I was shooting some video for this week’s column, and all I could think was it was a shame we don’t yet have Smell-o-Vision. Jaime Alderete was cooking up dinner for a new concept recently launched by Verona Cucina, and it smelled just heavenly.
Jaime and his wife, Edwarda, own and operate Verona Cucina in Modesto’s McHenry Village. They also run a catering service out of a building in north Modesto, and recently expanded that to include grab-and-go lunches and pop-up dinners. The latter is where I was the other evening.
Edwarda Alderete said the pop-up dinners are an idea she and Jaime got from Bay Area restaurants. They bring diners together in a small environment, where vintners or winery representatives are on hand to discuss the wines served with each course.
Each night has a different theme, which allows Jaime Alderete to experiment with different cuisines than those served at the restaurant. The night I went, the theme was “Foods of Milan,” but another evening featured dishes from Spain and the event coming up in December will focus on London. The dinners are held two evenings a month; they are $100 with wine or $75 without.
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The grab-and-go is another new concept the Alderetes are trying. “We do all of our catering out of here, so it just made sense,” Edwarda Alderete said. The menu offers sandwiches, salads and more, and specials are posted on the site’s Facebook page. Recent specials have included minestrone soup with Genova Asiago bread and a pumpkin cheesecake brownie.
“People will call in or email and we’ll go from there,” Edwarda said. Customers can stop in during their lunch break to pick up lunch and dinner for later, as well.
Verona Cucina Grab and Go is located at 4459 Spyres Ave., Suite C, Modesto. It’s open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. “Or I tell people if they see my car here, call,” Edwarda said.
Elsewhere around the Business Beat:
The Alliance Small Business Development Center is hosting its second annual Business Women’s Symposium. The event will take place from 8 to 11:30 a.m. at Greens on Tenth.
The keynote speaker is Martha Connor, president and CEO of DirectLine Technologies, Inc., a Modesto marketing and fundraising development company. Speakers also include Studio V fitness owner Victoria Popoff and Modesto city spokeswoman Amy Vickery.