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Archive for the ‘fresh pasta’ Tag

Bestia, the Besty   Leave a comment


Reservations at the highly-rated Bestia in industrial Los Angeles are hard to snare. Although unable to reserve a table, we did, nonetheless, get two seats at the chef’s counter. (Thanks to my brother.)

Some people might not have appreciated the view. However, we were thrilled to have our line of vision occupied by the well-orchestrated crew preparing colorful, creative salads. Interestingly, we didn’t begin our meal with a salad. We ordered one later.

Our well-versed server suggested sharing several small plates. His subtle nod of approval when we decided on the crab crostino suggested we were off to a great start. Ordinarily, squid ink aoili, crab and Thai basil might vie as the leading flavor. Instead they all win.

I can’t resist bone marrow. It’s served here with spinach gnocchetti that we scraped it into.

Next, agnolotti, one of six pasta offerings; house-made, of course. The mini ravioli-like “parcels” were light and savory. Coated with brown butter and filled with braised oxtail, it was silky and surprisingly light. Toasted pistachios and currants added texture and sweetness.

Finally, the chopped salad, a combination of Brussels sprouts, endive, mint, salami, and fried lentils — all thinly sliced, er chopped.

We had to have dessert. Really! Imagine bananas Foster with peanut butter ice cream. I couldn’t. The ingredients, only a playful mind could conjure, was childlike in the best possible way: fun, crunchy, salty and sweet. The ice cream is made in-house.

Bestia is in a reclaimed warehouse. It’s loud, lively and its accolades are well deserved. I can’t wait to return.

Bestia
Five Plates
2121 7th Place
Los Angeles

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Meals Manufactured One at a Time   Leave a comment

Factorysign

The Factory Kitchen blends so well into the industrial area near downtown Los Angeles that skepticism, and perhaps a little fear, become part of your mental landscape the closer you get to the restaurant. Fortunately, the valet station provides some reassurance; and once you enter the sparsely decorated, but entirely functional space of this upscale eatery, you’re transported to, well not quite Italy, but, at least philosophically, some distance from where your car is parked.

However, the menu does get you closer to Italia than you might imagine even though courses aren’t antipasto, el primo, or el secondo. Instead, they’re more aptly named: “to begin…,” “to continue or share…,” and “by itself.” I began with the pomodori, a colorful plate of heirloom tomatoes with red onion, shallots, basil and doused with a vinaigrette. This was summer on a plate.

Factory tomatoes

The mandilli di seta, previously unfamiliar to me, is a signature dish. Almond basil pesto and fiore sardo are spread on sheets of fresh pasta and folded handkerchief-style on the plate. What it lacked in visual allure is compensated for with silky texture and combined elements of the ingredients.

Factory pasta

factoryprociutto

From the “by itself….”we ordered the prosciutto, featuring a mound of the freshly sliced meat, on a crown of puffed sage-dough. Awkward to eat, it was like a billowy, elegant pizza. The tonnetto, pan-seared albacore with green cauliflower and other grilled vegetables was creative and enticing.

factory tuna

The Factory Kitchen fits into its neighborhood, until the food arrives. Then it stands out.

The Factory Kitchen
Four-and-a-half Plates
1300 Factory Place
Los Angeles, CA

Italian Chiapas Style   2 comments

Napolipizza

I was surprised at the diversity of restaurants, in addition to Mexican, in San Cristobal de las Casas: Argentine, Indian, Japanese, Italian, French, Thai, among others – even Burger King and Subway can be found. After my mini mole marathon I was ready for something else: Italian. There are several to choose from.

napolipizzaI

We opted for Napoli Pizzeria, located in the central historic district. It has three tables inside and three more outside, calling it small is an understatement. Yet, the flavors belie the diminutive space. The pizza oven is in the dining area, which can get pretty warm, but it also provides a direct view of the woman whose job it is to roll out the dough and load it with toppings.

napolipizzaII

Besides pizza, two types of pasta are served. Both are freshly made on site and carefully measured, again in full view, before being taken to the kitchen for cooking. I ordered spaghetti pomodoro, a basic fresh tomato sauce with parmesan cheese. It was comfort food Italian style made in a Mexican kitchen. The fettuccini with pesto was also ordered. The pine nuts were evident and provided a nice balance to the basil mix. Both pastas were cooked al dente and the hearty servings left us more than satisfied.pizzanapoliIII

 

Pizzas are available in three different sizes. We ordered two mediums with the intent of have leftovers later. Although the crust was thin, it was sturdy enough to hold the toppings. These included pepperoni, chorizo, and a variety of vegetables.

Napoli Pizzeria
Cuatro Platos
Real de Guadalupe
San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico