Archive for the 'Italian' Category

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Eatalian Cafe – Gardena

Eatalian Cafe - Gardena

With my girlfriend Kellie coming from Santa Ana and me in Pasadena, a lunch date in Gardena was logistically sound since it was approximately halfway* between our respective starting points. After debating a few Hawaiian and Japanese restaurant options in the area, I selected Eatalian Cafe for our meetup. Pasta. Forever.

Eatalian Cafe - Gardena - Los Angeles

Eatalian Cafe brings a slice of Italy to an industrial stretch of Gardena lined with manufacturers and repairmen. Owner Antonio Pellini initially planned to transform this former textile factory into a production facility for fresh cheeses, gelati, and baked goods; however, the sheer size of the space was so grand that a dining room was built into the plans.

Here at this cavernous temple of Italian cuisine, pastas, sauces, gelati, breads, and pastries are made fresh every morning.

Eatalian Cafe - Gardena

Joining our party were The Astronomer and Kellie’s sis—the more the merrier.

To start, we shared the Emilia, grilled vegetables (eggplant, zucchini, onion, yellow and red bell pepper) topped with Parmigiano Reggiano and aged balsamic vinegar ($8.50). I loved the cheese’s salty granules, but the vegetables could’ve been smokier. 

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FIVE50 Pizza Bar – Las Vegas (Aria Resort & Casino)

FIVE50 Pizza Bar - Las Vegas (Aria)

Following our back to back fine dining feasts, The Astronomer and I were primed for something super-casual but equally delicious on Sunday before driving back to L.A. FIVE50 Pizza Bar, conveniently located on the first floor of our hotel, fit the bill just right.

FIVE50 Pizza Bar - Las Vegas (Aria)

I’ve been a fan of Chef Shawn McClain‘s cooking since dining at Sage several years ago, and was excited to try his spin on classic East Coast-style pizza. The restaurant is named after “the ideal temperature to cook your pizza to perfection,” according to the restaurant’s website.

FIVE50 Pizza Bar - Las Vegas (Aria)

Even though the cooking at Five50 is serious, the mood is perfectly laid back. The Astronomer appreciated the bountiful flat screens, while I liked the room’s colorful accents.

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The Factory Kitchen – Los Angeles (Downtown)

The Factory Kitchen - Los Angeles

In college urban economics class, we studied the concept of agglomeration economies: “as more firms in related fields of business cluster together, their costs of production may decline significantly.”

While car dealerships are the classic example of this phenomenon, I’d argue that trattorias specializing in fresh, handmade pasta in Downtown Los Angeles are currently clustering in an economically savvy way. I’m not sure if my professors would agree, but it’s my blog and I’m going with it!

The Factory Kitchen - Los Angeles

The Factory Kitchen, located in the Factory Place Arts Complex in the Arts District, is the latest addition to an Italian noodle hotbed that includes the likes of Bestia, Drago Centro, and Maccheroni Republic.

The restaurant is a collaborative effort between Restaurateur Matteo Ferdinandi, former business partner of Celestino Drago, and Chef Angelo Auriana, formerly of Valentino. The offerings aren’t region-specific, but are traditionally Italian, according to the restaurant’s website.

The Factory Kitchen - Los Angeles

Using Jonathan Gold’s recent review as our guide, we set out to order as much food as a party of four could eat (and afford). This place ain’t cheap.

First up, the barberosse gratinate ($10), a sliced beet casserole swimming in an asiago cheese bath. Sweet, salty, and just rich enough, this dish struck a homey and tasty note.

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chi SPACCA – Los Angeles

Chi Spacca - Los Angeles

My first dinner at chi SPACCA was this past May in honor of Mother’s Day. Mama appreciates fine charcuterie (paired with finer wine, of course) and I had heard very good things about the house-cured meats served at this latest addition to the Mozza family.

Chi Spacca - Los Angeles

The kitchen is headed by Chef Chad Colby and overseen by Nancy Silverton and her partners Joe Bastianich and Mario Batali.

The space, which was formerly the site of Scuola di Pizza, is dominated by the open kitchen, which is in turn dominated by a massive grill.

Chi Spacca - Los Angeles

chi SPACCA is best known for its generously portioned proteins, like the 42 ounce Tomahawk pork chop ($80) and 50 ounce costata alla fiorentina ($210). Both are grilled on an open flame and are perfect for sharing with groups.

I stuck mainly to the menu’s smaller format dishes on my two visits due to not having enough mouths around the table. A third visit, with a posse, is definitely in order.

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