Italy meets Los Angeles with the annual San Gennaro Festival this past weekend near Hollywood & Highland. It was a fun filled weekend for all! Sinatra favorites filled the air, along with other memorable tunes floating from the stage. The event included dancing, bocce, rides, games and of course "The Main Event" as Mario would say... Italian food!
Thanks to Medaglia D'Oro, we were invited to “the Heart of the Galbani Cheese Italian Feast of San Gennaro (stop and breathe here) to experience “Medaglia D'Oro at its Best”. One of the most delicious coffees I've had without traveling to Italy, no wonder they've enjoyed a successful 80 year run to-date. Their Italian colored festive red, white and green roasted coffee can is easily found on your grocers shelf or gourmet shops.
And what could be finer than lunching with the vivacious & charming Chef and now author, Antonia Lofaso. Proving nothing is impossible, Chef Antonia Lofaso is an inspiration and shining light to us all, especially moms, since authoring her first book, “The Busy Mom's Cookbook”.
With an impressive resume including past Top Chef All Star winner, Chef Antonia is single-handedly raising her daughter and running Black Market, a successful restaurant in Studio City, California. Combining organic farmer's market freshest ingredients, Black Market's menu changes on a regular basis with newly created dishes continually emerging. I look forward to enjoying her signature dish; Mussels swimming in a fennel chile broth.
Chef Antonia regaled us with amusing anecdotes about growing up in an Italian family and I could easily see how food, love, and caring are so closely intertwined...and bread...always bread! Chef Antonia shared a story of how when she told her mom the cable man was there fixing something at her home. "Did you make him a sandwich?" Was the only question her mother asked.
Our lunch was an espresso inspired menu thanks to the creative winsome efforts of Frankie Competelli, owner of Frankie's New York Italian Restaurant on Melrose. If the food doesn't win you over those crystal baby blue peepers of his will. Not nearly as colorful as Frankie's personality, the brown coffee infused meat sauce, over brown food, served with brown (more coffee infusement here) gnocchi was too much buzz for any bee. Thirsty? How 'bout an iced brewed coffee? Dessert? You guessed it, espresso cannoli. Maybe I should have ordered my chicken decaf?
Small wonder I haven't slept since I left there yesterday. Although the coffee was delicious, in this case it was best left as a beverage. Maybe Italy could have spiced things up with its green and red trademark colors on this lackluster white plate as well, since the only food not swathed in brown remained the few green lettuce pieces in my salad, which managed to escape the brown coffee dressing.
Black Market Restaurant
11915 Ventura Blvd, Studio City, CA 91604