I went to Italy earlier this year and have spent some time and effort since I've been back trying to recreate certain culinary experiences to no avail. So now I'm looking for some help.
My typical day in Italy was to wake up and go to the nearest bakery and get 'pizza' bread. They actually just called it pizza. It was like a focaccia with olive oil lightly drizzled on top. It was at every bakery in every town or city we went to. Then I'd have a light pasta dish for lunch. Fresh fruit sold at outdoor stalls for a snack. Then a great Italian 5 course dinner followed by sorbetto.
I've managed to make some sauces myself since then and have done well trying my own recipes, but what about when I want to go out? I've tried a couple local 'Italian' bakeries (in Eagle Rock and Pasadena/Altadena) but I couldn't even find decent focaccia nevermind 'pizza' bread.
So alas, I'm looking for the following things:
1. (Bakeries) - A good Italian bakery, that makes Italian bread, not just French rolls.
2. (Restaurants) - A good Italian restaurant that has 5 course meals. A bit of a caveat, we're willing to spend a little money on this, but I'm not that interested in super glitzy, super pricey, super trendy, west side spots. It's just not my scene. And we don't drink alcohol, so the food is more important than the wine.
3. (Sorbetto) - Yummy after dinner Sorbetto! Strangely, that 'Melt' chain that's in some malls is really pretty good. Any other suggestions?
4. (Italian Neighborhoods?) - I've heard there's some kind of Italian section of San Pedro - is it an actual section? What streets is it in between? What's good there? I've looked at the Chamber of Commerce web page and some others but I can't seem to really find much information about it.
5. (Grocery Stores) - I'm not one for pizza or delis' but I wouldn't mind recs for little Italian grocery stores too! I've found a couple around that have been alright. I like trying different olive oils, pasta, sauces and getting pizzelles or other such things.
6. (Fresh Pasta) - Oh, and is there anywhere good to buy fresh pasta? I buy some at Whole Foods sometimes but when I was in Vancouver last year you could buy fresh pasta at Farmer's Markets - anything like that? I've been to Farmer's Markets in Eagle Rock, Glendale and that area, but never seen anything like it.
Thanks so much for helping me find the best Italian I can in LA!
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