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Notre Dame versus USC rivalry inspires whiskey versus wine meal at Antonio's

Paul Cataldo wanted to do a meal marking the Notre Dame versus University of Southern California football game.

So on Oct. 15, two days before the rivals take the field in South Bend, Antonio’s Italian Ristorante will serve a meal incorporating Irish whiskey and paired with California wines (and a bit more whiskey).

Cataldo is a big Notre Dame fan and players have become fans of his food. Their signed photos and jerseys are on the wall of the bar at 1105 Goshen Ave., Elkhart.

He’s done wine versus beer dinners before, but this is the first one with wine put up against a spirit. He said it’s been challenging to think of dishes and how to pair them with both wine and whiskey, while not serving too much alcohol.

Chef Chris Muller, who is at Le Cordon Bleu but has worked at Le Bernadin, is coming to town to help with the meal, Cataldo said. He’s been in town helping with previous events.

On the tentative menu, which is likely to change, Bushmills, Jameson and Redbreast are part of the seven courses. There will be a cheese board, figs and salad. Of course, there’s a pasta course. The one entree might change from cherry to lamb, Cataldo said. Another course of spare ribs is planned before dessert of apple crumble with warm chocolate and caramel drizzle.

“We’re just trying this,” he said.

The cost is $60 per person for the 6 p.m. meal. Reservations can be made by calling 574-295-8424.

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