Summer food events are a dime a dozen, but Angeleno Magazine manages to present a consistently solid line-up year after year at their steady Live and Dine LA event held at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows. This year, there was no award presentation, leaving a core group of favorites to sample their eats in the courtyard surrounding the gorgeous, 130-some-year-old, 80-foot tall Moreton Bay Fig Tree.
Attendees sipped Brugal Summer Hounds, Pavan Sangria Cocktails, Macallan 12 Fine Oak, iced Handsome Coffee brew, Solsticio Wines, 123 Organic Tequila margaritas and more as they savored dishes from some of the most popular restaurants in the city:
There’s this dish at a place that I just learned is within delivery distance of mine. It’s really delicious, and just when you thought it was enough to cross “osso buco risotto” or “veal rice dish” off your list – you are pleasantly surprised by another push, a kick of flavor at the end. A spice. Sweet green peas…relief. Throughout, you are delivered that creamy, slow-simmered richness. It’s more of a flavor than texture study, but it’s such a good one thatÂ you want to keep on reading.
All the reasons you wouldn’t have ordered the risotto entree in fear of the one-note go out the window with Osteria La Buca’s Osso Buco Risotto. Say that ten times fast. Or, just order it – it’s off-menu. You can also try a reliable plate of burrata, prosciutto and tomatoes to start. What also was a big hitÂ was another off-menu pizza with figs, kale andÂ tomatoesÂ – but it would be unfair to go further into that. Just consider this a vouch for their other itemsÂ on the menu.
The best thing is that the prices are reasonable – perfect for that quick dinner delivered straight to my place withÂ zero emissions andÂ zero guilt. And if you feel like dining there, the atmosphere is pleasant – and is even about to get upgraded at the end of the month.Â Until then,Â it’s painted pink in solidarity in the fight against breast cancer and proceeds go straight to the Susan G. Komen Foundation. What a great cause and reason to dine at Osteria La Buca – all the while enjoying some great rustic.
There are few Italian restaurants that strike meÂ as havingÂ an authentic charm it can call its own. But now that I’ve been introduced to to the hospitality and cuisineÂ of Marino – I can now point to a place that prides itself as much on attentive serviceÂ as its food.Â Great conversation andÂ the freshest ingredients: I canÂ only describe it asÂ The Italian Way. I’m a fan.
Sal Marino – son of original restauranteur Ciro, who first opened Il Grano in Santa Monica – personallyÂ took care of Caroline on Crack, Joshua of FoodGPS and me one night at the restaurant nearby Paramount Pictures. As our team of servers came out with our food, we were increasingly overwhelmed by not only the quantity but also the presentation of things on their menu. We started out with an antipasti dish that included eggplant, zucchini, beets, sweet roasted red and yellow peppers with capers and cipollini onionsÂ seasoned withÂ marinara. Decidedly seasonal, the dish whetted our appetites for the real heavyweights to come.
The baked artichokes were rich, creamy and stuffed with two different cheeses. Though they look small, they were so rich as an appetizer I could have actually shared one. Call me weaksauce.
The fried calamari that came out were noticeably fresh and had a perfect breading. Apparently, the calamari doubles as that also supplied to sushi chefs – not your typical filler appetizer with something to hide from being fried.
The Risotto alla Salsiccia e Funghi came paired with a delicious,Â house-made Maccheroncini sauced with an Amatriciana marinara (tomato with caramelized white onion and pancetta). The risotto in particular was my favorite – okay, yes, I am partial to risotto – but the homemade sausage in the risotto was especially good, as was the fact that three different kinds of mushrooms were included: oyster, shiitake and porcini. The porcini is so delicate it actually dissolves into the risotto upon preparation.