On food and love

Food is love and the passionate food scene in LA is part of what makes it feel like home. I sit at a table or order at a counter and chat with bartenders, waiters, chefs, managers or owners who all exhibit passion for the food on the menu. From the simplest take-out Panini shop to my favourite fancier sit-down place, who hosts Anthony Bourdain days later, I am feeding my soul not just my stomach – just like my mother and hers before.

They say you’re more satisfied by a meal you prepare than picking up prepared food, I think the same applies to any meal that’s crafted – whether by your own hands or not. One sunny afternoon I sit down to a late lunch at Hostario del Piccolo, a friends favourite and one of Venice Beach’s hot spots, serving small plates of quality Italian food with a distinctly Mediterranean taste that takes me back to my own family cooking.

I bypass the enticing wood fire pizzas and pasta’s – though I’m severely tempted by the squid ink pizza crust and pasta carbonara special I have to pass due to a dairy allergy. The restaurant manager and I end up discussing the menu and, after mentioning a few items that caught my eye, I order based on her suggestions.

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With a buon-appetito  the meal begins with an heirloom tomato stack reminiscent of ‘village salads’ standard on Greek islands – though we’re officially dining in Italy so the olives are Italian and there’s hearty bread croutons instead of feta cheese. Italian or Greek, tomato tomahto, I scoop up all traces of the quality olive oil before the next dish arrives.

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A wonderful medley of roasted seasonal vegetables and octopus – the kind of dish that’s so simple yet relies on quality ingredients and precise cooking so the natural flavours can shine through.

It’s not until the final dish that I nearly give into the urge to look over my shoulder for my yiayia – surely her heart and gourmet cooking skills are behind this dish.

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The pork itself imbued with such flavor that the chef must have stood my by yiayia’s side for years, learning by watching her put similar dishes together with ease. I swallow the mournful ache of missing her with the next bite and enjoy – this is love, not just food.

 In loving memory of my yiayia November 16, 1926 – October 3 2012. To say you are dearly missed would be stating the obvious; one of the greatest gifts I ever received was you and it’ll be a lifelong love affair.

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About Christina @ Stars in the City

I like sun, sand, surf, tunes and vegan mac ‘n cheese with bacon. Oh, and sarcasm.
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2 Responses to On food and love

  1. Jules says:

    I love this! Your yiayia would be proud of you and your appreciation of all the things that make life great. Love you!

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