Fire up the ovens: The folks behind Peninsula powerhouses Osteria Coppa and Sam's Chowder House have launched their newest venture, Campo Pizzeria, in the former Lavanda location in Palo Alto. Restaurateurs Paul and Julie Shenkman and Lewis Rossman hired executive chef Sean O'Brien (Myth, Zinnia, Viognier), who has created a menu much broader than wood-fired pizzas. Look for a cheese bar with warm mozzarella made and stretched in-house, served with seasonal accompaniments; a porchetta sandwich topped with giardinera and fontina at lunchtime; and wintry pastas such as pumpkin tagliatelle with shrimp and truffle-Madeira cream. Italian doughnuts, bomboloni, star on the dessert menu. Details: 185 University Ave., Palo Alto. 650-614-1177; www.campopizzeria.com.
In Redwood City, diners are enduring long waits to get into Vesta, which offers a large array of wood-fired pies, from sausage and honey (spicy Italian sausage, tomato sauce, mascarpone, honey and serrano chili) to rosemary potato (German butterball potatoes, applewood-smoked bacon, white cheddar, mozzarella and rosemary). For small plates, pork meatballs are served with a roasted jalapeño aioli, and the arugula salad is tossed with toasted hazelnuts, shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano and apricot vinaigrette. Details: 2022 Broadway, Redwood City. 650-362-5052; www.vestarwc.com.
Soulful fare: The San Jose space on Meridian Avenue near Fruitdale that has been home to so many eateries is now Wings Dip BBQ Smokehouse. Chef Stacey Thomas is particularly proud of her smoked tri-tip and chicken, macaroni and cheese, collard greens, and red beans and rice -- but those garlic butter wings, tossed with onions, garlic and jalapeños, have been top sellers, too. Desserts are made on-site; there's sweet potato pie, peach cobbler, banana pudding and cheesecake. Details: Open daily. 916 Meridian Ave., San Jose. 408-298-2326; http://wingsdip.com/index.php/home.
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