Friday, June 29, 2018

The Last Supper

The last evening for the Limjap's had to be a bit special. My 8-year-old nephew, Lewis's request was a"steak" dinner.  I had bought some Ribeyes recently when it was on sale so I ended up cooking them on the grill. I used the Salted Steak Recipe. The steaks turned out perfect! I first served a nice salad. To accompany the steak, I made some mashed potatoes and mushrooms sautéed in butter and Mirin sauce. As usual, Lewis only wanted steak; no potatoes, no salad but he did like the mushrooms.

In case you are interested in the recipe, here goes. You sprinkle lots of kosher salt on both sides of the steak. Be generous and don't worry about over salting them. The salt will draw out some water from the steak. You can do this for an hour but I left mine marinating for several hours. I took them out of the refrigerator and rinsed them in cold water to get rid of the salt. I patted them dry and added fresh thyme and Lawry's seasoned pepper. I let that sit for 30 minutes. Just before cooking them on the grill, I added some olive oil on the steaks.  After one side was cooked (about 5 minutes), I added butter and did it one more time after they were flipped to the other side.

Dessert was leftover Key Lime Pie that Sandi made. The tangy pie was perfect after a heavy dinner.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Dinner with Family and Friends

Any excuse to get together and eat seems to be my motto. Since my brother Dino and his wife and 2 youngest sons were still here, I cooked my go-to chicken with mushrooms and artichoke hearts. This is a no-brainer recipe I invented and it involves your favorite spaghetti sauce and jars of hearts of artichokes in oil. This chicken dish has a lot of yummy sauce which is perfect with mashed potatoes. Since it was a late dinner, I decided not to have salad but serve fresh asparagus with a mayo-mustard sauce instead.

We had a variety of desserts. Sandi made her famous Key-Lime Pie with a chocolate crust. The Trinidads gave Dino a box of beautiful desserts from Artelice Pâtisserie in Los Angeles. The Napoleon and the cream puff were super delicious. Unfortunately, my stomach did not have room for all the desserts.

I don't think anyone left hungry. It was late enough that Sandi and I had a good excuse not to go to the gym the following day.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

C & O Trattoria

Gary and Ramon invited us for dinner at the C & O Trattoria in Venice. It was the first Sunday of summer so everyone was out including all 11 of us. We were seated on their patio which was a bit chilly but it was not a problem because they later turned on the heaters.

As soon as we were all settled on our seats, we started eating their wonderful and famous "Killer Garlic Rolls". I have never seen a group eat so much of these rolls as they replenished the plates non-stop. I was surprised we were still able to eat our meal! We started with the Calamari Fritti which was nice and crisp and my favorite, Baked Stuffed Mushrooms; stuffed with Italian bread crumbs, red wine, garlic and smoked mozzarella cheese. They're the best-stuffed mushrooms I've ever had.

I also had the most delicious Veal Picatta; tender veal sautéed with shallots in a lemon Pinot Grigio sauce and capellini on the side. I couldn't keep track of who ordered what but fortunately, since this was a group of generous people, everyone offered me to try their entrée. There was a delicious Linguini with Lobster, Fettucine Pesto with portabello mushrooms, asparagus, artichoke hearts, pine nuts and sun dried tomatoes. There was a Linguini Mare with spicy tomato sauce. Someone else had the Capellini Shrimp with artichoke hearts in a garlic butter white wine sauce.

Someone ordered the Pappardelle Pasta with boneless short ribs. I believe Grace had the Linguini with Clams and Rocky had to have his beef, Short Ribs which was slow pan roasted with a Chianti wine sauce.

At around 8 p.m., one of the staff members distributed a large laminated sheet of paper with the lyrics to the song "That's Amore". He told us to get ready to sing. Shortly after the distribution of the lyrics, the music of the song came from the loudspeakers and everyone sang "That's Amore". Even my 8-year-old nephew Lewis sang!

Everyone was full but it was unanimous that we order and share some desserts. We were also celebrating three birthdays: Gary, Ramon, and Dino. It was a happy birthday indeed for the three and the rest of us. Thank you, Gary and Ramon, for a wonderful and fun evening.

C & O Trattoria is located at 31 Washington Blvd. in Marina del Rey, 8 doors from the famous Venice Pier.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Vincenti Ristorante

Travelzoo had another special that sounded enticing to me. The 3-course meal offered a choice of an appetizer to share, an entrée and a choice of dessert for each, all for $29.00! I haven't been to Vincenti in years so this was a good deal to check out to see if the restaurant was still good.

My friend and I chose the Crispy Calamari and Zucchini with their house made Tartar sauce. That was crispy, tender and just delicious. We had a choice of Ravioli with Ricotta, Spaghetti Bolognese, Petrale Sole with lemon and capers and Jidori Chicken Stew. We both had to have the Spaghetti Bolognese. We were glad we did because it was cooked the traditional "Italian" way; aldente and a sauce that only good old Madre Italiana would have cooked.

For dessert, my friend had the Chocolate Terrine with Raspberry Sauce and a scoop of gelato. I chose the Tiramisu. I was disappointed with my tiramisu. It didn't have enough coffee flavor. The dusting of chocolate on top was not enough to carry the flavor. The chocolate terrine was much better though we found the gelato to be much too tart.

Vincenti is located at 11930 San Vicente Blvd. in Los Angeles.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Double Birthdays at Lawry's Prime Rib

Triple celebrations; Lawry's 80th birthday, Gary & Dino's Birthdays. We took advantage of the 80th celebration of Lawry's. We had a nice corner table and our server, Ms. Pat Thomas took very good care of us.

We started out with their succulent Shrimp Cocktail which is always good. It was hard not to overeat the warm sourdough bread but we all had to restrain ourselves so we could fully enjoy our prime rib. Right after we inhaled the shrimp, Ms. Thomas came to mix our salads with precision and grace. Lewis, my 8 yr. old nephew didn't even want to try the salad. We had to threaten him to at least try it or we would order the salmon for him instead of the prime rib. Then and only then did he try a crouton and immediately made a funny face before he could chew it. What's new and interesting is that the salad now has a bit of applesauce and Worcestershire sauce; still delicious.

We were lucky to have my favorite carver Anthony serve us our California cuts (we opted for an upgrade in cut). Everyone had the creamed corn except Lewis. He didn't want anything with his meat except the Yorkshire pudding. Only Grace and Lewis didn't finish their prime rib. Gary, Dino and I had no trouble cleaning our plates (what else is new)?

The English Trifle came with our meal. The 2 birthday boys got theirs with candles with Ms. Thomas and another server to sing "Happy Birthday".

It was a wonderful triple celebration. As always, Lawry's held it's excellent reputation in food and service. Thank you, Ms. Thompson and Anthony, for a job well done!

Monday, June 18, 2018

Osteria La Buca

Gary and I were invited by our brother Dino, his wife Grace and his two boys to dinner at Osteria La Buca. None of us have ever been there before. It was quite busy and though we were too early for our reservation, they were able to accommodate us.

For starters, we ordered Crispy Octopus with fennel, pistachio, avocado, and basil. Lewis, my 8 yr. old nephew was the only who refused to take a bite of the octopus which we didn't mind so there was more to share with everyone. Dino ordered a "The Classic" Pizza with prosciutto. It was so delicious that Grace thought we might need another pizza and everyone unanimously agreed. This time we got the Guanciale with mozzarella, tomato, chili, rosemary, and olives.  That too vanished quickly.

For entrées, Dino ordered the Spaghetti Cacio Pepe; black pepper and aged pecorino. I was afraid to order that since I have had very good ones and I didn't want to be disappointed. Grace had the Bucatini Carbonara with pancetta, poached egg, and black pepper. She shared her pasta with Lewis. Luigi had the Short Rib Ravioli with pecorino, black pepper, and vincotto. It looked delicious.

Gary and I shared an order of Pappardelle Bolognese and Bucatini Carbonara. Both were delightful and aldente of course. There were no leftovers.  This family knows how to eat...with gusto!

Desserts were to be shared. We ordered one Budino which was not bad at all. The other dessert took the cake; Chocolate Zabaglione which is comparable to a chocolate mousse with pieces of crunchy chocolate biscotti served with the housemade fiore di latte (flower of milk) ice cream. Our very friendly and capable server, Janell informed us that they splash it a bit with olive oil on top. I've never had anything like it. It was interesting to have the different textures in this decadent mousse.

We left the restaurant very happy and pleasantly full and plump! Osteria La Buca is located at 5210 Melrose Ave. in Los Angeles, California.