Lunch Specials for Tuesday, October 24, $7.99 plus tax for Dine In or Pick Up Only (11:00am-2:00pm)

*Specials are subject to change without prior notice. Please feel free to call and verify specials before coming in (213) 742-0303.

Pasta: Penne Vodka Pollo

Sandwich: BBQ Chicken Sandwich With a Small Garden Salad

Salad: Broccoli Apple Salmon Salad With a Lemon Vinaigrette

Pizza: Small Prosciutto Pizza With Mushrooms & Onions

Today’s Chef’s Special ($12.95 plus tax – all day long): Salmon Lemon Caper Sauce

 

Lunch Specials for Monday, October 23, $7.99 plus tax for Dine In or Pick Up Only Monday – Friday (11:00am-2:00pm)

*Specials are subject to change without prior notice. Please feel free to call and verify specials before coming in (213) 742-0303.

Pasta: Spaghetti Scallops With Mushrooms & Sundried Tomatoes in a Light Pesto Sauce

Sandwich: BLT Sandwich With a Small Garden Salad

Salad: Corn Avacado Chicken Salad

Pizza: Small Cheese Pizza Plus two Toppings

Today’s Chef’s Special ($12.95 plus Today’s Chef’s Special ($12.95 plus tax – all day long): Tilapia Spicy Pomodoro Sauce

 

Italian Food and the world’s love affair with it.

Italian Food and the world’s love affair with it.

In 2016, Italian cuisine was ranked by CNN as the best cuisine in the world. OK, admittedly this wasn’t the bulletin with the continuous live feed of crucial world events, more of an of-Broadway part, but it still has some merit. No cuisine is as widespread as Italian, and while it lacks the high finesse of its French rival, its simplicity is part of the attraction. I’m not sure I can justify why I love Italian cuisine in just five reasons, but here goes.

Italian food embraces the demonised carb

Here’s a country with over 310 forms of pasta. Pasta rolled and folded around anything from nettles to prawn mousse, layered or filled and baked for lasagne or cannelloni or crusted up for mac n’ cheese. And then there’s all the other stuff Italians do with dough from pizza to panettone, focaccia, cornetto and panini – which in the hands of the lads at Modena’s Da Panino become some of the world’s best toasted sarnies. In Venice they’ll take stale bread and turn it into a polenta-like peara, bread sauce, while in Tuscany they’ll add it to soups such as pappa al pomodoro or salads such as panzanella. And don’t forget their dreamy ways with rice, from risotto to arancini.

Italian food celebrates nightshades

While the rest of the world shied away, all over Italy they found ways to work these vegetables into their cooking. So much so that capsicum and chilli has become synonymous with the south, the eggplant with Sicily’s caponata, and tomatoes with, well, the whole country thanks to that ubiquitous “red sauce”.

Italians love to cure

Not only were Italians early adopters of the nose-to-tail trend with cucina povera (peasant cooking) dishes such as osso buco, but they love to preserve and cure the abundance of the slaughter house to enjoy throughout the year. There’s not much to say here other than recite a litany of words that sound like a prayer answered for most good foodies: salami, sopressa, pancetta, gianciale, salsicce, mortadella, speck dell’Alto Adige, cotechino, lardo, zampone, coppa, mazzarelle, capicolla and bresaola.

And then there’s what they do with milk and cream… sigh!

Whether it’s panna cotta, gelato, mascarpone, parmesan, ricotta, Taleggio, gorgonzola, melty fontina, burrata, pecorino, dolcelatte or tiramisu, the Italians have a way with cream. And that doesn’t even include turning it into butter. Oh, and tiramisu would not be possible without another great Italian invention, the espresso machine, so better add a latte and cappuccino to the list, per favore.

But in the end it’s really all about one thing: simplicity

Everything flows from the beautifully basic tenet that Italian food is about enhancing good ingredients at their peak. So many great dishes, from pizza margherita to spaghetti carbonara, are about just a handful of ingredients. It’s classic flavour combinations – think chocolate and hazelnuts, tomato and basil or melon and prosciutto – that underpin so much of the Italian food we cook at home. So there you have it, and I didn’t even need to mention hillsides of porcini, but when you can do so much with just flour, milk and salt, you really don’t need to!

Lunch Specials for Friday, October 20, $7.99 plus tax for Dine In or Pick Up Only Monday – Friday (11:00am-2:00pm)

*Specials are subject to change without prior notice. Please feel free to call and verify specials before coming in (213) 742-0303.

Pasta: Spaghetti Chicken Pesto Sauce, Onions and Mushrooms

Sandwich: Chicken Salad Sandwich With a Small Garden Salad

Salad: Chicken Avocado Bacon Salad

Pizza: Small Prosciutto Pizza With Black Olives

Today’s Chef’s Special ($12.95 plus tax – all day long): Tilapia With Roasted Potatoes & Salad

 

Lunch Specials for Thursday, October 19, $7.99 plus tax for Dine In or Pick Up Only Monday – Friday (11:00am-2:00pm)

*Specials are subject to change without prior notice. Please feel free to call and verify specials before coming in (213) 742-0303.

Pasta: Linguini Prosciutto With Sundried Tomatoes & Mushrooms in Pink Sauce

Sandwich: Philly Steak Sandwich With a Small Garden Salad

Salad: Primavera Salad With Baby Shrimp

Pizza: Create Your Own Calzone Two Toppings

Today’s Chef’s Special ($12.95 plus tax – all day long): Salmon With Spicy Pomodoro Sauce

 

Lunch Specials for Wednesday, October 18, $7.99 plus tax for Dine In or Pick Up Only (11:00am-2:00pm)

*Specials are subject to change without prior notice. Please feel free to call and verify specials before coming in (213) 742-0303.

Pasta: Cheese Tortelini In Pink Sauce

Sandwich: Buffalo Chicken Sandwich With Small Garden Salad

Salad: Greek Salad with Chicken

Pizza: Small Smoked Salmon Dill Pizza

Today’s Chef’s Special ($12.95 plus tax – all day long): Tilapia With Pink Sauce

 

Lunch Specials for Tuesday, October 17, $7.99 plus tax for Dine In or Pick Up Only (11:00am-2:00pm)

*Specials are subject to change without prior notice. Please feel free to call and verify specials before coming in (213) 742-0303.

Pasta: Spaghetti Meat Sauce

Sandwich: Sausage Sandwich Grilled Onions & Bell Peppers With Small Garden Salad

Salad: Caprese Chicken Salad

Pizza: Small Four Pepperoni & Sausage Pizza

Today’s Chef’s Special ($12.95 plus tax – all day long): Salmon Lemon Caper Sauce

 

Lunch Specials for Monday, October 16, $7.99 plus tax for Dine In or Pick Up Only Monday – Friday (11:00am-2:00pm)

*Specials are subject to change without prior notice. Please feel free to call and verify specials before coming in (213) 742-0303.

Pasta: Spaghetti Pancetta With Mushrooms in a Light Pink Sauce

Sandwich: Caprese Sandwich With a Small Garden Salad

Salad: Baby Mix Green Salad

With Blackened Chicken, Onions Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Hearts of Palm, 1000 Island

Pizza: Small Cheese Pizza Plus two Toppings

Today’s Chef’s Special ($12.95 plus Today’s Chef’s Special ($12.95 plus tax – all day long): Tilapia Spicy Pomodoro Sauce

Mortifying Italian Mispronunciations

Mortifying Italian Mispronunciations

Most English speakers can’t fathom that something as small as saying a word with an ‘-o’ on the end instead of an ‘-a’, or vice versa can make much of a difference, but it can.

And you don’t want to find that out for the first time when some Italian Mamma chases you down the street with her rolling pin, while everyone else howls with laughter. Read, and burn the following words into your brain – you will thank me one day!

#1   Let’s Start With Pecorino.
It’s not even complicated to pronounce. Everyone who considers themselves a food-lover knows pecorino romano cheese made from goat’s or sheep’s milk, and yes, take note that is ‘pecorino‘ with an ‘-o’, because if you say it with an ‘-a’ at the end (pecorina), you have left the realm of cheese, and are now talking about a sexual position.

And while there may be a couple of fetishes out there (don’t tell me, I don’t want to have to bleach my brain), not many people really want to be confusing their cheese with a suggestion from the Kama Sutra.

Not many people really want to be confusing their cheese with a suggestion from the Kama Sutra.

#2   I Love Figs
So do many other people. You get fabulous figs in Italy, juicy, sweet luscious figs like these:

Yum. Best figs int the world. If you ever travel there, and figs are in season, I urge you not just to try them, but to gorge on them.

One caveat: be very cautious that when you ask for a fig, you say ‘fico‘, and not ‘fica‘.

If that’s too much for you to remember, just learn the plural, ‘ficchi‘, and desist from the singular, because, in Italian, ‘fica‘ is the equivalent of the extremely derogatory ‘c -word’. It really, really is that bad. Trust me, you do not want to say that anywhere you can be misunderstood.

#3   Penne
Recently I chatted to the Italian owner of a restaurant. He actually turned bright red and snorted coffee through his nose recounting some of the innocently inappropriate pronunciations of Italian food he head heard.

He gave me one I hadn’t come across – ‘penne‘ – you’ve seen it – the quill shaped pasta.

I wasn’t aware that you could get this simple word wrong, but you can.

How Do You Say Penne

No, I don’t want my Marinara sauce served over ‘p*nis’. And if you end up with a slow-witted waiter with a high libido, and unused the failings of English speakers, you don’t want him thinking that’s what you just ordered either.

What you need to know is that if you don’t make quick with the first ‘e’ (pen/neh), and drag it out to ‘pehh/neh‘ you are phonetically saying ‘pene‘, which is the Italian word for the appendage which distinguishes the male of the species from the female, if you get my drift.

#4   Anno And Ano
On a similar, though mercifully unrelated to food note, don’t confuse ‘anno‘ (a year, as in Anno Domini – the year of Our Lord) with ‘ano‘.

Subtle one again – the first ‘a’ is brisker, the second is longer ‘aaah/noh‘. The second one means ‘ass‘ and I do not mean ‘ass‘ in a ‘Donkey from Shrek’ way.

Go ahead and replace ‘anno‘ with ‘ano‘ in a phrase like ‘Anno Domini‘ if you’re feeling brave, but don’t complain to me when the righteous folk beat your sorry ano.

#5   Calzone
There is another relatively common mispronunciation that I can’t really fathom getting wrong, but then I’m diligent about details: ‘Calzone‘ – the folded pizza thing seems simple enough, but apparently people sometimes leave out the ‘l’, especially when they are trying to get the Italian pronunciation right, which is very unfortunate.

‘Calzone‘ means ‘trousers’ (and folded pizza) in Italian, but when you remove the ‘l’, you are being rude again. Very rude!

It means…well, work with me here: male appendage, 1 syllable, 4 letters (aren’t they all…) first letter ‘d’, last letter ‘k’. Or change the first letter to a ‘c’. Capisce? Saying this to an Italian is inflammatory, to say the least.

Saying ‘vorrei ca*zone‘ (‘I would like ‘****’) to a waiter is just nasty, no matter how many fillings you add.

#6   Mozzarella Di Bufalo
Another verrrry common error (and one I’ve dealt with before) is ‘mozzarella di bufala‘. If you are going to say it either get it right, or say buffalo mozzarella.

Don’t say ‘mozzarella di bufalo‘ which translates directly as ‘mozzarella from a bull buffalo’.

Because I’m telling you now, no-one (with the exception of deviants and perverts) wants to go there. It brings up a whole Pandora’s box of unseemly, distasteful and upsetting connotations which I don’t want waltzing through my mind while I’m enjoying my Caprese salad, thank-you very much.

#7   Casalinga Is Italian For A Housewife
There are loads of dishes described as ‘alla Casalinga‘, which is used much like Bonne Femme in French – it implies a simple home-style meal.

Just don’t say ‘Casalingua‘, (linga – leen/gah; lingua – leeng/gwah) because that adds another seamy dimension which you may not be looking to explore when really all you want is a nice glass of wine, and a good meal.

‘Lingua‘ means ‘tongue’. You don’t need to be a linguistic genius to figure out why the little word play between ‘housewife’ and ‘tongue’ is mighty popular in porn titles in Italy.

#8   Pronounced Conservativi
Just for good measure, let me add that ‘preservativi‘ are not preserves. If you want preserves, ask for conservativi.

When the hot Italian girl asks you if you have preservativi, she isn’t asking if you have jam (that somehow sounds wrong, but I can’t quite work out why).

Lunch Specials for Friday, October 13, $7.99 plus tax for Dine In or Pick Up Only Monday – Friday (11:00am-2:00pm)

*Specials are subject to change without prior notice. Please feel free to call and verify specials before coming in (213) 742-0303.

Pasta: Fettuccini Chicken Fajita

Sandwich: Chicken Caesar Sandwich With a Small Garden Salad

Salad: Caprese Chiclen Salad With Balsamic Glaze

Pizza: Small BBQ Chicken Pizza

Today’s Chef’s Special ($12.95 plus tax – all day long): Tilapia With Roasted Potatoes & Salad