Tag Archives: italian

Giacomo’s & Mike’s Pastry

Two of my cousins went to MIT, and the third one is currently still enrolled there. When I asked about things to do in Boston, I got very mixed suggestions. One of the suggestions was pretty solid all across the board, Italian food at Giacomo’s on the North End.

The place is small like most places on the North End, so there’s a wait. A line forms outside the restaurant and people are willing to stand for up to a couple hours just to get into this restaurant. I wonder what happens when it starts to snow.

caprese salad-bufala mozarella,fresh tomato,basil and virgin oil

fried calamari

shrimp and lobster pasta.

half lobster & mussels pasta.

Giacomo’s is worth waiting for, because the wait isn’t about just standing around. You can have someone in your party walk half a block to Mike’s Pastry to pick up some treats.

They bake quite a few different treats in their shop.

This, however, is what they are known for, cannolis.

Delicious, cream-filled treats.

Here Michelle enjoys a cannoli with the line to Giacomo’s in the background.

While Mike’s Pastry makes a great pre dinner snack, just up the street past Mike’s is Modern Pastry. They are famous for their sfogliatelle. It’s a flaky, light pastry with filled witha  creamy filling. Unfortunately with as full as we were, these were readily handled before we could get any photos.

So if you’re ever in Boston, make this Italian meal tour on the North End. You won’t regret it.

Pizzeria Olio

Our friends moved to the Mid Wilshire area and invited us all out to their new place. Not only was their new home a great place, but the location is great. They can walk just about in any direction and there’s a place to eat. That’s just what we did.

We took a stroll through their neighborhood and ended up at Pizzeria Olio, but there were plenty of choices with Robata Jinya and Burger Kitchen right across the corner. Apologies for the yellowness of the photos. Pretty much all the light on the patio came from a street light on the corner.

They have a lot of custom sodas and even hot chocolate with fire-roasted marshmallows.

Margherita – Crushed tomatoes, fresh local mozzarella, fresh basil and Tuscan olive oil

Prosciutto & Chard – Smoked prosciutto (Speck ham), sautéed Swiss chard and cherry tomatoes topped with shaved Parmesan

Wild Mushrooms & Herbed Ricotta Cheese – Fire roasted mushrooms with herbed ricotta cheese, caramelized onion and French brie

Prosciutto & Fig – One of their specials. The sweetness and soft texture of the figs compliments the saltiness of the ham very nicely.

You won’t find dessert on their menu. They have different flavors of gelato and some other special things.

Pizza dough, caramelized sugar crust, ricotta cheese, and Nutella.

I’ve heard Pizzeria Olio compared to Pizzeria Mozza. Both places make quality wood-fired pizzas with fresh ingredients. I would have to say that I prefer Mozza’s pies more, but Olio is more than a fair compromise, and when you factor in the price and the wait at Mozza, it’s hardly a compromise. I’d be glad to return to Olio. Plus I can walk across the street after for some ramen.

San Diego Beer Tour: Day 2

The next morning we woke up ready for a day full of beer.

First stop, Green Flash! Look at Green Flash, all corporate with a glass front on its new building.

Green Flash has lots of room to grow into their new digs.

Even their tasting room setup gives plenty of space for visitors. There is a whole patio outside, where you can catch some rays while enjoying your beer.

Starting with one of my favorites, Le Freak.

Trippel, Summer Saison, Hop Head Red, and Double Stout.

I absolutely love that all these breweries are in industrial parks. AleSmith looks like it could be a retail store.

I don’t have very many pictures of AleSmith for some reason. I do recall enjoying their brews and that these women were looking at a dog.

Back to Hess Brewing for a pit stop. We couldn’t buy the growler Tim wanted the day before because of their special event. Another nitrogen pour of Ex Umbris and we were on our way.

Tim wanted to drive to the next spot, but I thought he might draw too much attention to himself with the Hess flag flying behind the all terrain golf cart.

The next stop was Ballast Point. While I enjoy their beers, this was my least favorite tasting room only because it was much too small. Even AleSmith’s tasting room was larger than this.

That still didn’t stop us from picking up a few drinks. This is a beer trip, right? Big Eye IPA, Marlin Porter, Sculpin IPA, and Amber Ale.

After finishing up we realized we should probably eat something, so we went with a friend’s recommendation of Lorna’s Italian Kitchen. He said it was the standard by which he compares all other Italian food. We showed up and were quite skeptical when we saw the address was in a strip mall, but we were too tired to look for something else. I don’t know if I would call this a measuring stick for Italian food, but it was very good.

Vegetable Soup. Nice hint of spiciness in this cup of soup.

Meat Lasagna. Cheesy goodness.

Linguini with Clams. This actually reminds me of some of the pasta I ate when I was in Italy.

Lunch was followed by one of the best naps I’ve ever had. We woke up trying to figure out if we could catch the Mayweather/Ortiz fight anywhere, but we just ended up at Oggi’s because all my beer drinking called for some wings.

I enjoy comfort food so much more when I drink beer. That only compounds the calories we drank earlier in the day.

Of course there were hot wings. The wings were decent, and the heat slowly built up, one wing after the other.

What better way to cool down the fire than with a pint of McGarvey’s Scottish Ale. Remember what they say. If it’s not Scottish, it’s crap!

The day’s bounty: Bottle of Green Flash’s Le Freak. Growler of Hess’ Ex Umbris. Bottle of AleSmith’s Grand Cru, IPA, and Wee Heavy. Bottle of Ballast Point’s Sculpin IPA.

Remember when we got married a year ago?

Getting married was pretty fun. Let me refresh your memory. To celebrate such an awesome event, Michelle and I decided to have dinner at Osteria Mozza.

I’ve only had the Mozza pizza to go. I was excited.

We were celebrating, so cocktails were in order. We both ordered the Gold Rush.

Small bites to start.

Bufala Mozzarella with prosciutto di Parma. The cheese had the texture of rich ice cream.

Burricotta with radicchio, spiced walnuts, honey & fried rosemary. This had a great flavor combination with the radicchio and herbs giving off a slightly bitter flavor, and then you’d hit that cheese and walnut making it sweet and creamy. Bam! (Yeah I said bam.) The only downside to this dish is it’s very hard to eat with and semblance of elegance. The bread is so toasty there’s no way to cut it. You just have to bit right into it and let it fall apart.

Grilled Octopus with potatoes, celery & lemon. Perfectly grilled, with very minimal flavors added to it. I would love to have a full plate of this. I mean a regular person’s plate, not a nice restaurant’s plating plate. I mean, come on! The octopus has eight legs. Surely you can spare some more.

After appetizers I switched up to beer. Saxo, the last bottle in the house.

Orecchiette with sausage & Swiss chard. It felt like something that you could make at home, very unpretentious. With a little bit of spiciness to it and some bread crumbs for texture, this pasta was probably my favorite.

Squid Ink Chitarra Freddi with Dungeness crab, sea urchin & jalapeño. This dish is served cold, much like revenge. (Yeah, I went there too.) I love the way you get heat from the jalapeños on a cold dish. Great combination. What even more incredible is that I think I’m not longer allergic to crab! Remember when I had crab at the Wolvesden? Maybe I just need to stop eating shitty Chinese restaurant crab where it sits in the tank with all its dying compatriots.





Ricotta & Egg Raviolo with browned butter. This dish is a favorite among a lot of people, but it’s a little too rich for my tastes with the egg and ricotta. A little more saltiness would be more to my tastes, but who am I to say how they should prepare this dish? Apparently lots of people already love it the way it is.

Agnolotti, burro e salvia. This picture doesn’t capture it well, but these ravioli-like pastas are tiny, and yet they manage to stuff four meats into them. I’d like to get a pot full of these bad boys and snack on them during a Monday night football session.

After being stuffed, we forced ourselves to have some dessert. We asked for small scoops of the gelato and sorbet. This is the strawberry sorbet. This is not small. That waffle cookie is about the size of your palm with fingers spread. It was delicious and refreshing though, a great finish to an excellent meal.

Osteria Mozza lives up to all the fanfare of its name, and it does so with a quiet elegance, something that comes from a place that knows what it is and where it stands. It has no need to shove how good it is down anyone’s throat. It’s just good food.







It’s like a poor man’s Bottega Louie

Walk into Eatalian Cafe, and you’ll feel like you walked into a knockoff of Bottega Louie. It sits in Gardena, pretty much as close as you can get to West Compton in an industrial area, where on one travels through at night. The restaurant is a very large space, formerly a textile factory and like Bottega, it’s white. Very white. There’s even a spot where you can look at dessert pastries and gelato, much like the dessert display at Bottega. Still, while it brings up that familiarity of everyone’s favorite large downtown eatery, I think it stands out okay for itself on the food.

I believe this one was the Penne Capresi.

Four Cheese Gnocchi. This dish doesn’t do much as far as appearance goes. The four cheeses sauce is delicious though.

Gnocchi in meat sauce. While the sauce is good, I feel like the gnocchi is overcooked, making the gnocchi dishes a bit weak.

Tagliatelle al Ragù. This pasta was cooked just the way I like it, having the perfect amount of bite.

Pizza Gitana. Cherry tomatoes, speck, and mushrooms.

Something tells me we should talk as a group before ordering. Another mushroom pizza.

Pizza Prosciutto Crudo. This was nicely salted, a lot lighter than I originally expected. All the pizzas were cooked well, with a nice crisp crust, but this was my favorite pizza.

Here we are enjoying our meal. Less talking. More eating. You can see in the background just how white everything is in the restaurant.

Eatalian is definitely a place I would come back to check out again, as their menu has a variety of items to try. Heck, this place doesn’t even have its liquor license yet. Think about how awesome it will be to enjoy an Italian meal with some wine and beer?

Michelle Cooked This.

Most of you know Michelle as a writer. She isn’t just a fantastic writer. She has many other skills, some that she doesn’t even know she possesses, waiting to be discovered. All it takes is a little encouragement practice.

Michelle made this upside down Italian pot pie. Tomato sauce, mushrooms, sausage, zucchini, and cheese. All flipped over a toasted doughy crust, soft on the inside and crisp on the outside.

It was cheesy, delicious goodness.

Good job, wife! Now we stand a chance in the cooking round of “Best Couple in the World.” We already got the comedy and choreographed dance part down.

That’s Amore!

With all the new restaurants out there to try, sometimes it is just nice to get back to an old favorite. C&O Trattoria in Marina Del Rey is always a treat. It’s just some good, hearty food. Plus it doesn’t hurt that they sing Dean Martin’s “That’s Amore” during dinner in order to trick you into drinking more house wine.


Complimentary bread. We’re not sure whether to call these garlic balls or garlic knots, but the oil/garlic mixture they’re tossed in is like crack.

The special. Linquine Mare. Seafood, sun dried tomatoes, asparagus, and mushrooms in a cream sauce.

A nice, standard spaghetti and meatballs. I would say more fat content in the meatballs might be nice, but it’s still delicious without any changes.

Let’s not forget Michelle’s favorite, Linguine Pollo Marsala. Always good.

There were only four of us eating this dinner, so leftovers were plentiful. That’s the great thing about this place. You know you’re leaving with leftovers. Just remember to ask them for some more garlic balls right before you pack up your meal.

Argentina: Not just for steak.

When people find out that we’ve returned from Argentina, they immediately ask us about the steak. The steak is incredible, but I feel like Buenos Aires is starting to offer so much more. Eat steak, but here are some other things you definitely want to check out.

Azema is a restaurant, named after the head chef and owner. This place is a fusion restaurant, combining foods from his travels to Vietnam and Morocco. Michelle’s favorite part in all this is that you can tell them how spicy you want it, and it actually ends up with a good bit of heat.

Fried dumplings. They’re like Asian empanadas.

Shrimp curry. They tend to overcook their shrimp in Argentina. The shrimp were a bit softer than I’d like, but it was great to taste some different flavors.

Michelle went with a Moroccan style lamb curry, and based off the sniffles she got the spicy she had been missing.

Los Inmortales, a pizza joint that’s very popular. If you ask for it by name people know.

Pizza is a pretty big deal in Argentina. It works out well for them, because cheese, olives, tomatoes, ham, and pepperoni are regular items in their diet anyway.

Pepperoni and mushrooms. The crust on their pies is well balance. It’s light but not too doughy.

You can’t see it, but under the layer of cheese is ham, covering every square inch of the crust. The sweetness of the ham against the saltiness of the olive and cheese worked well.

We checked out Sudestada, an Asian fusion joint. I was impressed with how many people were using chopsticks.

Hopefully they recount the orders for hanging chads.

Dumplings for starters.

Chicken curry. Beautifully presented.

Pork chow fun. This dish is okay. It was nice to get some familiar Asian flavors that we were missing during our trip, but it’s nothing too special.

Michelle loves hot dogs, so even though we had just eaten a couple hours before, she had to try an Argentinian hot dog. They call them superpanchos.

They offer all kinds of toppings to garnish their hot dogs, but to Michelle’s dismay none of them were jalapenos.

Whether or not you’re a fan of beef, you should visit Buenos Aires for a food vacation. There are enough restaurants challenging the traditional standard of parrillas. They’re doing it well too, combining the leisure eating style with different types of foods. This gets a big thumbs up in my book.

Reversing the effects of a diet.

Is it possible to take thirty days worth of wedding dieting and negate its effects in less than half a week. Yes, and it’s delicious and awesome. The foundation of ruining any good healthy body is a hearty breakfast.

Banana pancakes, eggs, and sausages at Overland Cafe.

Eggs Florentine. I at least had chicken sausage to slow the diet reversal.

Here’s something I knew about Palm Springs but it slipped my mind this trip. It’s hot during the summer, and when it’s really hot, the locals leave. That includes a lot of the restaurant owners.  A lot of places we wanted to go packed up and left for the summer. Our first meal in Palm Springs was Al Dente, a recommendation from one of Michelle’s readers.

Jumbo Shrimp. Grilled perfectly.

This spaghetti was only slightly al dente for a restaurant with the name Al Dente.  Still it was delicious. Michelle had the lobster ravioli, which was creamy and rich. It just doesn’t photograph very well.

Michelle was drawn into this place by a sign that read, “World’s Best Bloody Mary.” It’s even written on their glasses. It must be true.

Michelle’s omelet.

I forget what this was called but it had salsa and hot sauce so I ordered it. I did not regret it.

This is how Michelle rolls. The home-made hot sauce was awesome here.

Michelle’s fish tacos. The pickled onions I did not like. They were way too overpowering.

This we liked. Macaroni and cheese with lobster meat. It was delicious, but I got too excited and burned the roof of my mouth. Not being one to learn my lesson, I actually kept burning the roof of my mouth bite after bite. Totally worth it.

I still need to go back to Palm Springs to  get my Bacon Flight at Cheeky’s and a burger from Tyler’s. Maybe I will take the Bacon Flight and put it on a Tyler’s burger. Writing that sentence just made the urgency to return to Palm Springs go up exponentially. *sigh*