New Winter Desserts and Cocktails at Drago Centro: A Sweet Affair

The only thing certain in life is change. Feelings change, seasons change and at Drago Centro….desserts and cocktails change.

drago urban signage

The air is getting colder and the days are getting shorter. The cocktails are getting fruitier and the desserts are getting richer. And that certainly was the case this last Thursday as Drago Centro launched their new cocktail menu. We walked in at about 6 PM and there was no place to sit. The bar was overflowing with the older white-collar regulars as well as the younger patrons who just wanted to get in on the new libation action. After all, all cocktails that evening were on special for only $9 a wintery pop.

making sure (shot)
The Violet Femme: Real De Mexico Tequila (Reposado), Maraschino Liqueur, Yuzu Juice, Crème de Violette, Limoncello

Our first drink of the evening was–of course–the Violet Femme made with Real De Mexico Reposado Tequila. A huge congrats to them for making it out on the new menu, very well deserved. Its natural subtle vanilla and brown sugar notes went well with the sweet, flowery flavors of of the Crème de Violette and maraschino liquor. Although, the flavors of the tequila got kind of lost in the acidity mix of Yuzu and Limoncello, that elegant back-of-the-throat burn was there to keep you on check and remind you that this was in fact A TEQUILA DRINK. It was just dangerously well balanced, I downed mine in less than 5 minutes. I was surely “high as a kite” after drinking this. But I’m pretty sure the candied violet petals had a lot to do with that too.

morning courage off center shot
Morning Courage: Genever, Beet Juice, Lemon Juice, Serrano Tincture, Celery Bitters, Pickled Radish

Our second cocktail celebration of the night was the Morning Courage. Created by Jaymee Mandeville (head bartender), this drink was probably my favorite of the evening due to the outstanding execution of such outlandish ingredients. It was complex on both sides of the flavor spectrum, sour thanks to the pickled radish and lemon juice, earthy thanks to the beet juice and spicy thanks to the celery and serrano flavors.

calzon de ricotta+mozz and truffle
il calzone, ai funghi e tartufo: Calzon Filled With Ricotta, Mozzarella, Mushrooms and Truffles

By this time of the night we were getting the booze munchies so we got a couple of bar bites including some plump blue point oysters and this calzone I saw another party get. It looked good with its burnished skin and thin layer but too bad it was a bit heavy and flat in flavor. Basically a glorified Italian quesadilla es todo.

the watcher in the woods
The Watcher In The Woods: Gin, Douglas Fir, Lemon Juice, Nocello, Lavender Syrup, Mint Bitters, Nocello Candy

The third drink up was definitely the most unusual of the night. It took me a while to figure it out actually. It was buttery, piney, aromatic, minty all the same time. But once I got over the florescent green Fabuloso-like color of the concoction, I think I liked it. Think of a pile of fresh kettle corn tossed with fresh mint leaves. Buttery and nutty due to the Hazelnut-caramel derived flavor of the Nocello than herbaceous thanks to the Douglas Fir syrup, mint bitters, lavender and lemon juice. Again, balanced.

smoke on the horrizon
Smoke on the Water: Dark Rum, Drambuie, Carpano Antica, Mole Bitters

Notice how my angles get more artsy as the night of drinking went on, haha. Well, I was pretty buzzed but it still didn’t stop me from appreciating the classic cocktail like features of this next cocktail. Another favorite of the evening, the drink was spicy and sweet. This was more of a classic cocktail, paying homage to the bitter, more direct flavors of drinks like Sazeracs and Manhattan’s. I was fond of the profound use of Mole bitters in particular.

And now it was time for the real reason I had made the grueling rush hour traffic drive from Pasadena on my Vespa.

Jashmine Corpuz, (Pastry Chef) had also just launched her new winter dessert menu a few days ago as well. I’ve chronicled her deft, seasonal dessert brilliance in the past and it was time to add yet another fruitful chapter.

Just as she had sent me a formal invitation to try, I was already walking in to the restaurant, dessert cognitive communication I guess?

lychee sorbet
Lychee Sorbet: blood orange juice, raspberry, edible flower

To cleanse our palates and pique it for what was to come, she sent out a light and refreshing quenelle scoop of Lychee Sorbet. It was perched nicely on a foundation of a halved raspberry and a crimson shellac of pure blood orange juice.

panna cotta close
Panna Cotta: vanilla bean, macadamia nut crumble, coconut mint sorbet, citrus (blood orange, tangerine, candied kumquats)

She described her inspiration for this as being a “creamsicle” when I asked about it. Well, its what a creamsicle might aspire to one day be. The speckled panna cotta was ethereally velvety with the soothing light flavor of vanilla bean, all the better to contrast with the shortbread-crumb like crunchy texture of the crumble. But indeed was the ‘creamsicle effect completed when eaten with the tangy citrus segments and candied kumquats. The coconut mint sorbet was just as intriguing, reinforcing the creamy and acidic overall flavor play of the dish.

jashmine Corpuz Glazed Donuts From Drago Centro
bomboloni: vanilla glaze, huckleberry-thyme compote, toasted almonds, lemon cream, chamomile-honey gelato

Next dessert up was her rendition of the classic Italian donut, bomboloni. Glazed donuts and flower flavored gelato? Need I say more? This time of year, she went for the classic jelly and cream filled approach. Although these fried doughy spheres glowed with a glossy vanilla glaze and were served along side a tart huckleberry compote fortified with the lemony amenities of thyme if you wanted the jelly-filled flavor. If not, a tarter, Bavarian cream-like lemon cream was also on the same plate for the ‘cream filled’ sensation. Toasted almonds were nice too, especially when eaten alongside ice cream. And there was no need for tea or coffee, that fragrant gelato actually had chamomile-honey in it.

Jashmine Corpuz Yoga Flame
Pistachio Spumoni (Deconstructed): braised cherries, cherry reduction, crystallized pistachios, confit orange, chocolate crumbs, meringue chips

A successful redevelopment of an Italian-American dessert classic. This gave prominence to the individual components of a traditional spumoni ice cream mold beautifully. The cherries were braised until tender and tart, the pistachios were crunchy and sweet. The confit orange was like the dried orange peel in the original creature. And the crunchy chocolate crumbs brought it home safely with the delightful oreo-like bitterness of chocolate crumbs. She described the tear shaped crunchy meringue chips as “Yoga Flame!”, the famed special flame burst attack of the character Dhalsim in Street Fighter.

close up shot of chocolate cake
chocolate tart with hazelnut butter: milk chocolate crisp, tuaca chocolate sauce, bananas, banana gelato, toasted hazelnuts

“Like a Reese’s peanut butter cup!” she replies when I ask about her inspiration for this dish. The fudgey cake was crisp around the edges and soft in the middle where the toasted homemade hazelnut butter lay dormant. It was connected to the banana gelato via a milk chocolate wafer crisp. This dish was my definite favorite of the evening, you just can’t beat the flavor combo of toasted hazelnuts and chocolate. Only enhance it like she did with this dessert, the thick chocolate sauce spiked with Tuaca (a woody Italian brandy) had me all googly-eyed by the end of the night.

I am noticing that the more I write about Corpuz’s desserts, the more I appreciate a simple, superbly executed dessert. “Light” seems to be the prevailing key word I use when describing most of her desserts. And “light” is a characteristic in dessert that is not always easy to accomplish in the world the industrial dessert kingdom. But more and more, I am also realizing that is all I really want in my dessert after eating a rich dinner…that is all I really need. And that is something that probably won’t ever change.

Drago Centro
525 South Flower Street
Los Angeles, CA 90071
(213) 228-8998

Drago Centro: Italian Dessert Ultra Violence

drago urban signage
Urban Signage

So I finally made it out to Drago Centro. It was long overdue really, if you’ve seen me or talked to me lately…you know why. I was quite excited.

It was a Monday, gloomy and I had school at 2:00 PM. But I had delayed this outing long enough.

It was time–

To psyche me up for this meal, I had extensively been listening to the Rotten Bois, an Italian street Punk band who only had songs like Ragazzi Di Periferia

ambiance shot
My Type Of Lunch Crowd: I Blended Right In

Bed headed and still groggy from yet another late night’s debauchery, I showed up with a spray painted “Discocks” D.I.Y shirt and my tightest of fading 501’s; the hostess pulled my seat for me to sit. I was here for the food man.

But there is no such thing as an ordinary ‘quick lunch’ when certain people know you are a food enthusiast.

Sooner than I knew it, an impromptu tasting menu of Ian Gresik’s favorites, the chef di cucina at Drago Centro, was set to take place.

Michael Shearin, Drago Centro’s beverage director, came out and showed us the old cocktail list in addition to a sneak peek of their new spring cocktail list to be unveiled next Wednesday at 6PM for $6 each, look at website if interested.

Only one drink was kept.

clockwork orange
Arancia Meccanica: Monday Ultra Violence

Although I had to send back the first attempt due to wateriness, Michael showed me what’s up with one he made himself. A unique sweetness was achieved with the sweet pepper boosted agave while the cilantro–in unison with the Sombra Mezcal’s smoke profile–added a savory element. And that smoked salt only left you wanting more of smoky nectar. Italian for “Clockwork Orange”…this just might probably be the official mixed drink of The Glutster for now.

truffle agnalotti
Luscious: How Superlative Can A Pasta Get?

Agnolotti stuffed with a creamy Ricotta, and bathed in a truffle and fine-herb enhanced butter sauce. Each tender-to-the-bite little pillow literally exploded with molten cheesy goo. Sheer glee in every bite, the bar was set high with this.

crack stix
Bread Sticks: aka Crack Sticks

Some crispy bread sticks were brought out to the table by the pastry chef, flecked with kosher salt, my taste buds suspected some Parmesan action went into it. Hence the gourmet cheese-it addictiveness of them. I ate three in a minute.

pizzoccheri della valtellina
I Pizzoccheri Della Valtellina: The Rich Earth

My first time having a Fettuccine-like and cream based dish in a long time, these chewy noodles were made with Buckwheat flour and was served with fried sage leaves, cooked cabbage, crispy potato ball things, lotsa Fontina and an underwhelming sage cream. This dish definitely had potential to be outstanding, had everything going on: texture, appearance, portion. If my lunch mate and I didn’t have to ask for some salt to make up for the kitchens under seasoning, nothing a couple pinches mended right up though.

lamb bellyyy
Lamb Belly: The New Belly In Town

Crispy skinned with a gamy, sinewy bite that almost squeaks as you pleasurably chew it, this is what pork belly aspires to be. Served with those pretty dots that I think was some sort of balsamic reduction, shelled and buttered fava beans, some type of mushrooms and a crispy potato halves. I was pretty damn satiated.

But the reason for me being here was dessert.

jashmines fruits of labor
Like A Breath of Fresh Air: Spring

Harry’s Strawberries, sweet raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, mandarin oranges, blood oranges, and ultra tart passion fruit seeds were polk-a-dotted with the classic balsamic reduction as well as a tantalizing aromatic basil syrup. The sorbets were tangelo, piña, and coconut and left me licking the edges of the spoon as I kept my dignity this one time and didn’t lick the plate.

jashmines cakes
Basil And Avocado: The Odd Couple

There was something oddly complacent about the sudden mating of smooth, creamy avocado and the balmy, perfumed basil gelato, talk about sweeping me off my feet. La Torta Di Primavera‘s complexity in textures of spongy olive oil cake, crunchy homemade Campari candy and tart grapefruit segments came out of nowhere with its clean, fruity and strangely comfortable flavors.

jashimines chocolate mousse
Il Budino Di Cioccolato: All of A Sudden

Keeping the decadence train going, the chocolate custard was smooth and luscious, the pecan crumbles and pulled sugar added that bomb signature texture contrast while the conceptually named date carpaccio was sweet and chewy. That caramel gelato with its burnt sugar decree only bounded it all together.

By this point I was pretty much sweeted the hell out but I almost never will refuse MORE DESSERT.

jashmines cookie plate!

=”font-weight: bold;”>Testing The Limits of The Glutster:
Jashmine Corpuz’s Cookie Plate

Canoli, biscotti, torrone, baci di cioccolato, nocciolati (hazelnut chocolate), savoiardi (lady fingers)…I could write a whole other post on just this cookie plate. Whipped ricotta filled canoli, nougat-like, meringue based torrone with pistachios and dried fruit, baci di cioccolato chocolate cookies sandwiched with hazelnut ganache, a raspberry jelly nocciolati and the most airy, light ladyfingers that only led me on thinking how her Tiramisu is…

For the first time I actually opted for some coffee on the fact that Drago got a custom blend made from Lamill coffee. And after all that sweet fondling, a serving of their slightly long-pulled espresso hit the spot. Like an unforeseen sock in the face with its intense, bitter almost astringent qualities. I payed for the uber high caffeine content later though.

drago custom LAmill blend espresso
Black: This Espresso Don’t Mess Around

jashmine corpuz
Jashmine Corpuz: Drago’s Dessert Devotchka

Thanks to Jashmine Corpuz for making all this possible and being awesome.

By the time the feast was over I realized my journalism class was about to start in ten minutes…all the way in Pasadena. Oh well, ditching school and many other “important” things in life for food is the story of my life. And I don’t care really, when those experiences are worth it…like this.

Drago Centro
525 South Flower Street
Los Angeles, CA 90071-2200
(213) 228-8998

Drago Centro in Los Angeles

Drago Centro on Urbanspoon

Straying from "the usual": Thaitalian and the Alcove Cafe

Thai and Italian, how does that work you say?

Very Nice Actually

As for the latter…not so much unfortunately.

I understand how it can be hard to stray from your “usuals” every once in a while, sometimes we need some security in our lives. But there are so many great options out there, but along with those oppurtunities come great risks. Sometimes the oppurtunity cost is great as in Thaitalian in Pasadena, but more often, it is dissapointing as in the Alcove. (I usually don’t thrash on places or write about bad experiences since stuff happens sometimes but just to prove a point…)

Thaitalian…man, a Squid Ink Risotto with a Thai Basil Seafood Stir-fry, a tart, authentically fish-y Tom Yum soup packed with cubed veggies. This was just one of those meals, the creamy, pallid pitch-black Risotto actually Al Dente, circling around tender mussels, clams, calamari, shrimp, scallops hell….i even swear their was one of those chewy “veggie shrimp” that they serve at those vegetarian chinese places. With my new veneration for bivalves, probably my new current “favorite dish” at the moment. They also have curry Pasta, Pizza and Mozzarella Egg Rolls if you’re into that sort of thing.

Alcove on the other hand…*sigh*. I was dissapointed with this place, it was good….but just not as good as i expected. It sounded so promising. Don’t get me wrong, i’m willing to come back and get their juicy Lamb Burger again with a cup of their Immortal Tea blend but maybe I’ll go somewhere else for dessert, somewhere where they actually bake their Chocolate Dipped Coconut Macaroons on premises. A cool place to hang out for wine, coffee, tea and conversing though.

49 E Colorado Blvd
Pasadena, CA 91105

The Alcove Cafe
1929 Hillhurst Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90027
(323) 644-0100

Giving in to "blogger pressure"-Mozza, just do it

Google the word Mozza and you could probably write a book about the posts on it. After months of reading and reading and then reading some more about this place i’ll admit…i did feel left out. I was probably the only blogger in L.A that hadn’t wrote an appraisal about it. If everyone else is doing it, it must be cool right?” Well i’ll tell you this much, i went in as cynic as…well, as me and came out like one of those religious zealots that just found god or something.

Wasn’t so thrilled about the 7 or so reservation attempts only to find out or the “30 minute wait” that turned out to be nearly an hour and i still don’t know what came over my brother to actually drive to Melrose but given all that, it was still worth it. As hectic as it might seem it’s actually runs pretty smooth. Complete strangers converse and even share food. Friendly waiters offer breadsticks to those anxiously waiting.

Can’t decide between the appetizers? The Eggplant Caponata, studded with pine nuts and some sort of wine, is something that won’t dissapoint, not to mention keep you from eating your hand. After your first bite of a pizza at Mozza, you will undoubtedly agree that Nancy Silverton is the “Bread Queen”. Flaky, crisp, even in the middle. With charred edges that aren’t bitter but smoky. A Wild Nettle Pizza with Sheeps Cheese and Fennel Salami if you’re adventerous or a classic Margherita if your traditionalist.

But a meal at Mozza is not a meal without the Butterscotch Budino Pudding. Easily, my favorite dessert at the moment. Light, silky with a pleasant burnt taste. It may not taste sweet enough on your first half-spoonful, but dunk one of the buttery Rosemary, Pinenut Cookies and it goes through a miraculous transformation, thanks to the ingenious savory qualities of the Rosemary and Fleur de Sal.

This is just what L.A needed.

Mozza Pizzeria

641 N Highland Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90036
(323) 866-5300

2nd Night In N.Y: Dabbling with Dumplings and Truly Living the Good Life

My brother always claimed that no dumpling place in L.A had matched Dumplings the ones’s he’s had in N.Y. So I was really looking forward to trying what N.Y had to offer, in case of dumplings.

Unfortunately the dumpling place that he went to was closed or something. The door was open but everything was dark and empty. So we ended up going to his second best place for dumplings, this place was the famous one that always got written up with all these reviews a Zagat ratings in the Window.

But sadly, the dumplings came up short. Dumplings are supposed to be small delicate things with the right amount of filling and not too thick. These seemed to be “americanized”, huge, thick and overstuffed. And you know what’s the first thing that suffers, flavor. The bland dipping sauce didn’t help neither.
These had nothing on Mei Long Village’s delicate things.

Il Bagatto: Truly Living The Good Life

This was the real highlight of the day. Since I didn’t come prepared with any addresses or specific places I’ve heard about, we ended up going to another one of my brothers “usual” places, this place it was Italian Place in the East Village that started his whole infatuation with Penne Arabiata, Il Bagatto. Having Lombardies the night before and having that stupid idea that if I “over-eat something” , I’ll eventually get tired of it. I didn’t really want to have “Italian again”. I know its really complex with many variations but for the most part or what’s offered in most restaurants, it’s the same garlic, tomato, starch deal. How truly stupid of me for thinking that.

After walking ninety-something blocks from Times Square to East Village, I was in some serious need of some nourishment. Especially after only having those dappy dumplings all day. It was 8:30PM, we were still waiting for someone so they sat us down in the bar and my brother and his friends started drinking. I actually could of also since the bartender also asked me, but I didn’t want to sound like an idiot ordering a “martini, shaken not stirred”, since that was the only thing I thought up when I thought of drinks. Soon it was 9:00 PM, then 9:15. I was growing more and more delirious from food deprivation every second. Finally I realized how stupid I was for not ordering an appetizer.

I ordered these Canneloni Beans cooked with tomatoes, garlic, shallot and rosemary. Man, frijoles never tasted so good, and I should know. The beans were cooked to a creamy consistency. First I spread it on some bread, but being used to eating it with a tortilla this was just weird. So I started eating “straight de la hoya”. Think Refried Beans, Italian style.

After this, my brother’s friend had finally came and it was really time to eat. They ordered some fancy Italian wine and the waiter even gave me a glass. Of course, I started drinking it. I still don’t know much about wine but I could tell, this was a good wine. There were 10 specials that night. But I was still curious about “Vegetables Marinated in Mom’s Secret Sauce” they had in the menu so opted for that.

We agreed on having some Anti-Pasto plate with Figs and some Grilled Calamari as an appetizer. The grilled squid was very chewy, almost gummy and tasted like smoke. Nice change from the usual fried calamari that’s offered mostly everywhere else. The Anti-Pasto Platter was brilliant. Italians have a gift for pairing foods, they have perfected it. The deep saltyness of the Prosciutto brought out the natural sweetness of the already candy sweet Fig, add a little sliver of the basil and you got the perfect combo of sweet, salty and flavor. I normally cringed at the thought of eating deli meats but this changed me.

To Be Continued.(I just wanted to post this one already so you could read everything else.

Il Bagatto
192 East 2nd Street (btwn Ave. A & B)
New York, NY 10009
Phone/Reservations: 212.228.0977

1st Night in N.Y: Pizza Epiphamy and a GOOD Vegan Chocolate-Coconut Cake

Arriving an hour earlier than expected (thanx to favorable winds), the change was dramatic. Everuthing felt different, the energy, ambiance whatever you want to call it. I knew I was no longer in L.A. It’s a weird feeling, unexplainable. I’m still trying to get over it. That still didn’t stop from enjoying Lombardies.

I remember a time when I had not yet discovered my passion for food, my brother had taken me to Lombardies pizza and being mesmerized by it. I wondered… if it did that to me before, what was it going to do to me now? Then came the moment of truth., The place sure had changed since the last time I’d been there. I remember waiting for a table in a small little checkered-tabled dining area. Now it was thrice as big and even had a place underground. It seemed like they realized that they were the first pizzeria in the U.S., and and got a little bit too cocky.

I’ll admit, I was beginning to worry that this was not going to be the same Lombardies that I once had. But I was quickly relieved. We ordered a small, 6 slices, with Pepperoni and Beefsteak Tomatoes and of course the famous shreds of basil and Pecorino Cheese that made it famous. Watching everyone else around us devour their thin as paper pies consoled my worries., And then it came, the first pizza, with all it’s glory. It almost seemed to good to be true. I took a while to admire it with all the colors of the Italian Flag, the charred blisters of thin light bread, the popped up Pepperoni, the fresh Mozzarela and Basil. This truly was a masterpiece.

And then came the first bite, the thin yeasty bread, the chewy mozzarella and the peppery basil all dancing in my mouth. This was truly a slice of heaven. The crust was light, filled with air bubbles caused by the heat of the oven. Bites turned into slices, slices turned into half the pizza and faster than I knew it, I was about to finish my half and then I stopped, to appreciate it one last time. I didn’t want it to end, but like we all know, All good things must come to an end.
And then…………………………………………………there.
– Everything was finished and that was that.

Most people would stop there, but not us. Not me and my sweet-toothed brother. You see, we are some of the few people left who haven’t sacrificed the joy of eating because of the latest fad diet, damned we were going to be if we were in what is considered to be one of the biggest food Meccas in the world and just “fuggetabout” one of the most important parts of a meal, dessert. After roaming the streets on a Wedneday night and catching a shot in what used to be CBGB’s, we found ourselves in a dilemma. That famous cupcake place had just closed. You would think that in a city that is known for “the city that never sleeps”, you could get a cupcake at 10:30PM! Disappointed, we started walking. Eventually we walked in to the first Café, for this little tea bar named Teany.

Little did I know that this little place was a also a N.Y Foodie exclusive. Vegan/Vegetarian, or “conscious food” is what I like to call it. My Favorite!!! And apparently owned by Moby. With a selection of 96 different teas and they even had a Vegan “Coconut Macaroon” cake! How lucky was I!!! Seriously!!! This kind of stuff never happens to me. The cake was unlike any vegan dessert I’ve had in L.A. This actually tasted like a dessert, not some sweetened condensed chunk of soy. This was truly decadent, even if it was vegan. A huge double decker slice of chocolate cake slathered with chocolate icing and coconut. Rich, where other vegan confections were just well…vegan, amazingly moist where others were painfully dry. And what better to compliment this than a buttery Caramel Loose Leaf Black Tea? Caramel and
Coconut. Two of my most favorite things in the world, enjoyed without feeling too guilty

All this? in just a matter of hours?

I don’t know l..A….N.Y made a pretty good first impression.

Lombardi Pizza
32 Spring St
New York, NY 10012-4173 View Map
(212) 941-7994

teany cafe
90 Rivington Street
New York, NY 10002

Informed Indulgences: My Dinner ar La Vecchia Cucina

My time is coming, sooner than i think. Pretty soon i’m going to have to decide what it is that i am going to do with my life. Will it be something along this newly found passion that i have for food? Or will my consolling affection with music prevail?

In my chaotic attempt to make a decision, my brother in my support, had a friend who happened to know someone, that knew someone that that knew someone else that was married to the new Head Chef/ owner of this italian place in Santa Monica, La Vecchia Cucina Italiana . He happened to mention me and my affection with food and seemed intrigued.

By next tuesday, we were having dinner their. The aroma of garlic and olive oil, the noisy chattering of blatant Westsiders, the fancy pyramidal set tables and me with my usual levis and back-patched black sweater…i felt like a fish out of water. But like so many times before, i was not going to let that ruin it for me.

I was really looking forward trying it out and meeting him. Italian food was probably one of my first cuisines that i’ve had other than Mexican. (even though it was probably some sort of enriched pasta product with a fake “Ragu” sauce, but it doesn’t matter!)
I was also really looking forward to the complimentary bread and olive oil that are given in most italian restaurants, me being the carb-a-holic and all. And soon enough, a big steaming basket full of fresh bread was in our table ready for my carb compelled indulgence.

This was probably the best complimentary bread and olive oil blend that i have ever had. The bread was warm, crusty, and toasty on the outside and soft as pillow on the outside. The oil was was the perfect accompaniment to this, especially since i had a craving for anything doused with garlic. I usually don’t like eating olive oil by itself but this was different, not having that “fruity” taste that most store brands have but this rich, smooth taste. It was full of shredded basil and was infused with garlic, but not the Prestos kind of garlic that leaves you reeking of garlic for days on end, but enough.

I don’t know why I’ve been having this huge craving for garlic and this hit the spot. I decided to try shrimp one more time(I don’t know why, i’m starting not to like shrimp anymore) and get theLINGUINE MARE E MONTI , Linguine noodles in a pesto sauce with butterflied shrimp and Shitake Mushrooms. It was alright, the noodles were perfectly Al Dente but the sauce was a little bit too creamy for me, and the shrimp…well, i guess i just don’t like shrimp anymore. That still didn’t stop me from finishing it though.

The best dish was the Penne Arabbiata that my brother got(like always). Exquisitely spicy with a little bit of tangyness. My dad’s INSALATA ALLA TIBURCIO, Baby mixed greens topped with roasted pine nuts, sun dried tomatoes
and goat cheese tossed in our raspberry vinaigrette was also quite good. Sweet enough to be a dessert, just how i like it.

After finishing, the owner/chef Mark had recognized my brother and came to ask us how it was. He was very nice, he answered many of my questions about culinary arts and what it took for him to get there. Very informative.

Like if we hadn’t had enough calories already, my brother had told my about the chocolate cake they had there. He said, they’ve had the same jewish lady make it for years and it my brother had told me that it was exceptionally rich compared to other ones we’ve had before, of course we hadto get it. “Rich” is an understatement. This is one of “the world’s going end and you know you’re going to die” kind of things to eat. Me and my brother could barely finish one slice! And thats us. I could almost hear my heart crying for mercy….poor little heart

By the end of the night, i know i probably ate like 4 days worth of calories, but i didn’t feel bad. It was worth it.

La Vecchia Cucina Italiana

2654 Main St.
Santa Monica CA
(310) 399-7979

La Vecchia Cucina in Los Angeles