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 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.
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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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.
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.
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.
Continue reading ‘FIVE50 Pizza Bar – Las Vegas (Aria Resort & Casino)’
Our final full day in New York was dedicated to exploring the burgeoning borough of Brooklyn. We started the day in Bushwick, “arguably the coolest place on the planet” and home to the much buzzed about restaurant Roberta’s.
Here at this cruddy shack located a short walk from the L train, Chef Carlo Mirarchi makes some of the most beautiful pies around. Born in Queens, raised in Long Island, and educated at NYU, Chef Mirachi is a self-taught cook with a knack for foods that comfort and flavors that pop. Roberta’s takes no regular reservations, which wasn’t an issue for us since we dined here for lunch on a Monday afternoon.
Prior to opening the restaurant, Chef Mirachi and his team traveled to Italy to apprentice with a pizzaiolo. While in Italy, they also procured this flashy red wood-burning oven from a bankrupt pizzeria and had it brought back and assembled in Brooklyn.
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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.
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