Monday, October 13, 2008
Angeli Caffe: Where Carbohydrates are a Girl's Best Friend
It's going to come out sooner or later, so I might as well just make the confession now. My name is Diana (fill in the blank) and I am a carboholic. I am afraid of eating meals that do not contain some sort of starch, rice, pasta or grain product, I get grouchy and irritable when I go more than four hours without simple or complex sugars, and I judge restaurants by their bread basket.
It's a tough lot being stuck with such a demanding stomach, especially in a city so committed to demonizing the humble carbohydrate, but I've managed to eke out a somewhat normal existence. It helps that Evan Kleiman's Angeli Caffe on Melrose Avenue is a few short blocks from my apartment. When times get dark, I know that I can always score a hit of quality glucose at the quaint Italian eatery that serves the best bread basket in town. (And it doesn't even come in a basket.)
The complimentary pizza bread arrives at each table steaming hot from the wood-burning brick oven. It is almost too warm to touch, but I can never resist immediately tearing through its crusty exterior to scald my tongue with the doughy interior. It doesn't even need the olive oil and fruity balsamic vinegar served on the side, but does benefit from a swirl or two of the superior quality products. I would be perfectly happy if my meal began and ended right here (as long as I had wine to wash it all down) were it not for the lasagna.
Okay fine, and maybe the perfectly crisp, tender rings of fried calamari. Oh, and definitely the Insalata Forte with locally grown organic baby greens, fennel, and Belgian endive dressed with a garlicky parmesan viniagrette too. The pizza should probably also be included, but since I can never get myself to order anything other than the lusciously decadent Lasanga Angeli, a meatless lasagna of fresh pasta, seasonal veggies, tomato-basil sauce, ricotta, bechamel and parmesan, I cannot personally vouch for the pizza's yumminess. I can vouch (and throw a parade) for the lasagna. My friend Joanne says it "Melts in [her] mouth." I say, " (groan) It (groan) melts (groan) in (groan) my (groan) mouth (groan)." And then I use the extra bread to mop up the sauce left in the bare bowl. (Groan groan.)
While I have eaten at (or ordered take-out) from Angeli at least a half dozen times since living in Los Angeles, I have never actually made it to dessert. I always want to save room for the chocolate chunk bread pudding (which I hear is divine), but like any good carboholic, cannot control my bread/pasta ingestion. No matter how hard I try to not finish the lasagna, or not tear into my third chunk of pizza bread, I always end up surrendering to the call of the glucose. And then I groan. And moan. And rub my overly-distended stomach until the pain goes away.
And when it does, I go back for more. Every single time.
Note to my fellow carboholic readers: Angeli is now offering patrons 15% off Tuesday-Thursday.