What better way to celebrate Easter than to have lunch at Forma in Santa Monica. It started with a small party of three. Terri invited Sandi and me to attend mass at St. Monica's since she was doing a reading at the 11:30 a.m. Gary, Joyce, and Gunter were also attending the same service. The most important question was where should we eat lunch after mass. Forma immediately came to my mind. I knew that Sandi and Gary were going to go along with that and I was certain that Terri, Gunter, and Joyce would not complain. It was Terri's 1st day to have alcohol since she gave it up for Lent so instead of ordering by the glass, we ordered a bottle for the 3 alcoholics (Terri, Gary and me).
The restaurant was full at 1:00 p.m.which did not surprise me. Mario, the owner was at the bar working on this Easter Sunday. I was excited for the newcomers since they were in for a treat. We, of course, had to have the Crispy Artichoke Salad which was a hit. Sandi and I had to have the Cacio e Pepe; homemade spaghetti, black pepper, extra virgin olive oil tossed in Pecorino Romano and the Tortellini; mushrooms, light cream truffle oil tossed in Bella Lodi cheese. See note below on Bella Lodi Cheese. We ordered both to split. The others followed suit except for Joyce who had the Jidori Chicken Sandwich with avocado, mayonnaise, greens, bell peppers and goat cheese on ciabatta bread with fries. She enjoyed the sandwich and the delicious fries. She only ate half of it so she could eat the other half for dinner. The pasta dishes are all finished by placing them in the big wheels of cheese which had been previously scraped for more cheese flavor. Everyone loved their dishes. Terri couldn't get over on how delicious the pasta was.
We were all full but we intended to order dessert. Before we got the dessert menu, two desserts arrived compliments of Mario which was very nice. A Chia Vanilla Petit Pot with blueberry preserves and a Nutella Bread Pudding which was so light in had a flan consistency. In our excitement, I forgot to take pictures of them; I only managed to take a picture of the "after". I told everyone how delicious the Banana Pecan Tart with Chocolate was and that they had to try it. So we ordered 2 Banana Pecan Tarts to share.
Easter is not just about Easter eggs and bunnies. It's about celebration, giving thanks for all our blessings and spending time with family and friends. It was nice to see Mario spending time with his family. I thank him for the extra calories he bestowed on us.
Bella Lodi Known as the Black Parmesan, Bella Lodi cheese is an exquisite Italian cheese made by only one dairy in an ancient town of South Park Adda. The cheese is matured for 18 months, during which it develops its unique texture, colour and smell. It is often associated with its characteristic black rind. This peculiar blackened rind is achieved only when the wheels are hand coated with a mixture of clay called "umber" (ochre), grape seed oil and carbon black. The coating on the rind differentiates it from various Parmesan-style cheeses as well as is a tribute to the Lodi tradition. Bella Lodi is made without preservatives or added allergens, using milk that comes from cows in the Lodi area. It is white in colour, with an intense and fragrant smell; full flavour that is not too sharp or salty. The characteristics do not change much even in summer. There is a version of Bella Lodi that is produced with "GMO-free vegetarian rennet".