A friend and I had made plans to dine here before visiting the travelling Phillips collection at LACMA. Then she realised that she had a dental appointment and had to cancel. Between friends who are forgetful/flaky and friends who have serious aversions to food, its a wonder I ever eat out. (I do love my friends in spite of their foibles, though.)
In any case. I had been desperately wanting to return to Angelini Osteria since I first ate here over (!!!) two years ago (my only excuse is that I am not home in LA often enough, or long enough, to go to new places as well as return to old favourites). And Ive been working on this whole its-really-okay-to-eat-in-restaurants-by-yourself thing, because otherwise Id be lunching all the time at Au Bon Pain and other similar places and would miss out on so much good food, although I have limited my experimentations in the past to places where theres a bar at which I can eat (ie, Jaleo in DC) so that I dont feel so lonely. But I really really wanted to go to Angelini Osteria, and I had two options: 1) to be chicken and not go or 2) to suck it up and go.
Obviously, I chose the latter. Otherwise, this post would have no point.
Lunch is served from 12:00-2:30PM on weekdays. I got there around 12:15, sans reservation (I had tried to make one on Opentable, but they do not take reservations for one online). Although Id been expecting to have been seated at the small bar in the back (which I probably would have preferred), I got My Own Table, All To Myself, in the centre of the room. There were only two other parties there when I arrived, so I (oddly enough) did not feel too lonely.
The waiter, wonderfully friendly, asked if I wanted a drink. Obviously I did. A glass of pinot grigio was brought, as well as the lovely bread basket which had nice crispy flatbread, breadsticks, and other types of bread I would have looked at if I werent so obsessed by the first two. An amuse of grilled swordfish, a good-sized 3 or 4 bites worth, dressed simply with olive oil and atop a small bed of mixed greens, was also brought to the table. Delightful, to say the least.
Now, what I wanted to eat was the bombolotti. Id had this when last I was here, and I wanted it again. Unfortunately, it was not on the lunch menu. Was there any way to order it, I asked, because really, it might be another two years (although hopefully not) before I return. So the waiter went and asked the chef (Gino Angelini was in house today, or at least, I assume it was him, as he came out to greet another table and they called him Gino. Maybe there are two chefs named Gino there, I dont know). Et voila, it was possible to have my bombolotti, and order it I did. And it was just as perfect as I remembered it the first time. The bombolotti was perfectly al dente (fresh pasta, the waiter said, as he warned me that the dish would take longer. Oh, but that didn't matter. What's 15 minutes after two years worth of waiting?) with the sauce - so simple, but divine. I really dont think it gets any better than this dish. Maybe someday, I will try (be forced into trying) other things on the menu. I did enjoy watching a waiter debone the branzino for another table. Someday.
Service throughout was friendly and prompt. As the restaurant filled (and was pretty much full by the time I left around 1), I did start to feel somewhat lonely, an island in a sea of jabbering voices. (Somehow, the acoustics in the restaurant are such that you feel as though you are in an overcrowded auditorium). But thats why I download books onto my palm pilot. Not as obvious as a magazine or newspaper, and easier to manage and carry around as well.
Although I wanted dessert, I was sadly full. And I had plans to grab a red velvet cake at Doughboys for later. (Yes, that plan was executed.) Tab came to around $22, before tip. Really, I need to stop finding restaurants that I like so much so that I can have a better chance at returning to them without letting too much time pass.
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