Following our stroll through The High Line and a festive deep-fried breakfast, The Astronomer, Sonia, and I headed to Parm for a late lunch on our first full day in the city. Here at this quaint spot in Nolita, Chefs Rich Torrisi and Mario Carbone celebrate and “elevate” Italian-American cooking in all its red sauce glory.
With quite a bit of buzz surrounding the restaurant, including a 2-star review in the Times, I was more than a little excited to experience what all the hubbub was about. Plus, I hadn’t eaten any parmigiana, be it meatball, veal, or eggplant, since graduating from college, so it was high-time I got my fill.
We arrived sometime past 2 PM and waited a quick minute before being seated. Sonia’s dined here just about a dozen times, including the night before, so she led us through the restaurant’s greatest hits. I also cribbed some notes while reading Pete Wells’ write up, so we were all set on the ordering front.
We started with a slew of appetizers, including warm-from-the-oven “Pizza Knots ($5)” sprinkled with crumbly Parmesan and fresh parsley. Whereas classic pizza parlor “knots” are doughy, greasy things that have a way of hijacking one’s stomach, these were lighter specimens with a definite crust and fluffy innards.
While I could’ve gone for seconds, the portion size allotted us only a knot each. Perhaps this was for the best considering how much food was coming our way.
Continue reading ‘Parm – New York City’
The opening of Trattoria Neapolis early last week was easily the most exciting thing to happen on South Lake Avenue since I moved into town four years ago. Sandwiched between an Aaron Brothers and an Anthropologie, the restaurant brings a California-inflected Italian menu, as well as a solid beverage program, to a part of Pasadena best known for Pie ‘n Burger. God knows I adore Pie ‘n Burger, but a new dining option is always appreciated.
Chef Bryant Wigger, most recently at the Four Seasons Los Angeles, makes almost everything from scratch including the pasta, bread, and salumi. The restaurant’s centerpiece and point of inspiration is a 7,000 pound Neapolitan wood-burning oven that can blister a pie in 90 seconds flat.
While perusing the menu, I sipped a spicy Moscow mule. The Astronomer indulged in a tall glass of Golden Chaos.
Continue reading ‘Trattoria Neapolis – Pasadena’
I had the best brunch at Highland Park’s Maximiliano the other weekend with a gaggle of girlfriends. Our party of seven piled into the restaurant some time past noon and proceeded to order everything that sounded delicious on the “kinda old school Italian” menu. It was a gustatory extravaganza full of giggles, gossip, and most importantly, damn good grub.
Chef Andre Guerrero of Oinkster fame opened the restaurant last October and introduced brunch soon after. I’ve yet to dine here after dark, but if the brunch time fare is any indication, I am in for a treat when I do.
In addition to the fine food, the space at Maximiliano is really something. Modern yet comfortable and full of natural light, it had a casual vibe that I liked very much.
We nibbled on the the Baker’s Bread Box ($8) as we perused the menu and finalized our game plan. The array of fresh-from-the-oven goodies included a wedge of pineapple brown sugar coffee cake, slices of lemon-rosemary and banana bread, corn muffins, and a blueberry scone. House-made butter was on hand for swathing each bite in richness.
While we found some of the offerings a touch dry, namely the coffee cake and the lemon-rosemary bread, the majority were well balanced and a delight to dig into.
Continue reading ‘Maximiliano – Los Angeles (Highland Park)’
Restaurateur Paul Hibler and Chef Jason Neroni hosted a sneak peek of their forthcoming collaboration Superba Snack Bar at Pitfire Pizza in West Hollywood last week. The restaurant, which is expected to debut this summer in Venice, offers their “post modern” take on an Italian pastaria serving handmade pastas, charcuterie, and plenty of local produce.
Previously, Hibler was the owner and creator of the popular chainlet Pitfire Pizza, while Chef Neroni was the executive chef at Osteria La Buca. This is their first joint venture together.
The Astronomer and I attended the pop up event as guests of Superba. As soon as we grabbed a table, chilled glasses of “beer/sangria” were brought to the table. Made from a mixture of Belgian white beer, prosecco, chardonnay, and apricot juice, the beverage was wonderfully refreshing and went down dangerously easily. I had to limit myself to two glasses to keep from getting too rowdy this evening.
Our first bite of the night was the chicken liver mousse and lardo served with toasted Langers rye, pickled celery, and balsamic cherries. The bread had too much personality for the simple lardo, but paired just right with the velvety liver spread. The cherries made our lips pucker, cutting the spreads’ richness with its tanginess.
Continue reading ‘Superba Snack Bar – Los Angeles (Venice)’