Word on the street is that there’s a bruschetta in town following Postino Wine Cafe’s inaugural Battle of the Bruschetta this summer. Mexican Street Corn bruschetta, created by Chef Aguilar from Postino’s Cinco Ranch location in Katy, Texas, was the clear frontrunner of the three-round, bracket-style competition.
The challenge gave guests a chance to indulge in some new tasty bruschetta combinations and a chance to vote on a “champion” bruschetta that would ultimately become a permanent menu item.
Launched in June, Postino’s bracket-style competition placed eight experimental bruschetta combinations, which were created by Postino chefs around the nation, in a head-to-head style battle. New bruschetta combinations were introduced every two weeks, with the combinations receiving the most votes from guests moving onto the next round.
Speaking about the success of Postino’s first-ever Battle of the Bruschetta, Jonah Winn, General Manager at Postino, said that participation was strong in Irvine, with many guests eager to find out the results each week.
“What made it even more exciting was the team’s involvement; they were genuinely invested in the competition, checking the votes to see which bruschetta was leading. Both guests and team members were eagerly anticipating the results, and it created a sense of camaraderie as everyone rooted for their favorite bruschetta contender. It was a unique and enjoyable experience for all involved.
Ironically enough, the champion Mexican Street Corn bruschetta, which is made with Postino’s housemade elote, pequin pepper, feta cheese and fresh cilantro, was introduced in the June debut match against the Italian-themed Italiano – also known as the Italian Stallion.
The Italiano was made with finocchiona salami, smoked ham, white cheddar, aioli, chopped romaine, caramelized onion and guindilla peppers.
Winn added that the hype around the Mexican Street Corn bruschetta was noticeable from the start.
“When Mexican Street Corn was first served on the bracket, the guest reception was incredibly positive right from the beginning. It was evident that it would be a leading contender because guests responded enthusiastically,” Winn said. “We could tell it was special when guests started returning and actively inquiring about its return or the next contender it would face. The buzz and excitement around it was quite apparent.”
In the second of four battles, the Mediterranean made with Romesco, fresh cucumber, kalamata olives, shallot, chopped tomatoes, feta and a champagne vinaigrette, faced off against the Devilest Egg, which was made with deviled egg dip, dill pickle, crispy bacon, Yukon gold potato chips and chives.
The Mediterranean pulled ahead of the Devilest Egg, but was eventually defeated in the semi-finals by the fan-favorite Mexican Street Corn.
Postino’s bruschetta bracket third battle placed Chicken Curry Salad in a hard fought cage match against the Spicy Sprout.
Despite being made with house made chicken curry salad, spicy Marcona almonds, with golden raisins and cilantro, the Chicken Curry Salad was no match for the Spicy Sprout, which is made with Calabrian chili, chives and cracked black pepper and pummeled the curry salad’s breadbasket.
The final of four battles brought two sweet-style bruschetta combinations to center court.
The Strawberry Cheesecake, a product of Chef Leal from Postino Highland Ranch in Denver Colo., was constructed with vanilla bean cheesecake spread, fresh strawberries and chopped pistachios. Challenging strawberry cheesecake, Chef Nguyen’s Sweet Potato Pie from Houston, Texas, featured a secret sweet potato filling with mascarpone and candied pecans.
While Winn was a fan of the Italiano, he said there was no shortage of variety in Postino’s debut Battle of the Bruschetta.
“The Strawberry Cheesecake flavor was a hit among those with a sweet tooth, while the Spicy Sprout appealed to those who enjoyed a bit of heat,” Winn said. “Personally, my favorite was The Italiano, although it unfortunately lost in the first round to the eventual winner, Mexican Street Corn. It just goes to show the variety and quality of flavors we offered in the competition.”
Postino Park Place is located at 2981 Michelson Dr Suite E, Irvine
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