Touring Eataly

 What happens when you mix a Williams and Sanoma with an upscale Italian restaurant? Eataly, this wierd hybrid where you can buy olive oils and pastas while waiting for your table. Actually, there are 3-4 restaurants scattered in here, so very confusing. We’re at the largest, the pizza and pasta place called Le Cucine. 3 people means 3 things to try:

Starting with the Vesuvo pasta – with a creamy sauce, fresh basil, and sausage. I like my pasta al dente, but this was way underdone and salty. Would not order again.

We also had 2 pizzas. The first Massese, looks like pepperoni. It’s technically “spicy salami”. There was a nice heat, and a generous amount of mozzarella on a fantastic cheery crust, but it was very salty, and worst of all: the tomatoes were not fully drained so there was a slick of water on top of the cheese.

The other pizza was the same, but sausage. Great sausage, but same flaws. Come for the cheese market, but don’t stay for the phenomenal views of World Trade Center.

Noodling along through Chicago

Ok, I know it’s not real Chicago Italian-American food, but it’s a regional chain I’ve heard about. Noodles & Company makes all things noodlish, from Asian to Italian styles, and represents something you just don’t find in LA, hot hearty convenient food for a cold day.

I’m a sucker for good Mac and cheese, and very picky about it. So I knew it was a gamble to try their Wisconsin Mac & Cheese with meatballs. If you like the blue box, you’ll probably like this. The noodles are very hot and al dente, but the cheese sauce tastes powdered. The pile of factory shredded cheese on top didn’t melt and didn’t add much to the dish. The meatballs had great texture and a lot of rich flavor with a nice oven toasted crust, but were very salty. But within a few minutes the whole dish had congealed into a lumpy gross mess.

Pearl fared much better with the Bankok Curry. Pulled pork on rice noodles tossed with fresh herbs and vegetables in a nice light spicy gingery sauce. Certainly not Thai, and not a curry either, but quite delicious. Add a delicious dash of Siracha and you’re all set!