Italian Food

Film and Foodie: Eat Pray and Love

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The Film: Eat Pray & Love- Based on the best seller, Julia Roberts plays the main character of Liz, a lost miserable soul. Pretty early in the film she realizes that her marriage is not for her but she rebounds into the arms of the gorgeous James Franco, a younger man. However, he is not the answer. She comes to conclusion that she needs time to be single and figure some things out. First a few months of indulgent eating in Italy and then a quest for spirituality(balance).

Eat Pray and Love is entertaining but is does not quite live up to the hype. Richard Jenkins, James Franco and Javier Bardem are the brighter spots in the film.

The Foodie: Liz had to learn to let go and enjoy life. She decided to enjoy the pleasures of food its ok if muffin top happens. We watched Liz stuff her face in Italy with proscuitto and melon, pizza and chicken carbonara then prepare an American Thanksgiving dinner turkey. Then we watched her eat naan in India and down a Thumbs up soda with Richard Jenkins. In Bali, unfortunately, we did not get exposed to their cuisine. However, coffee and rice are cultivated there.

Nutty for Nutella: The History of Nutella

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Nutella cake
Nutella cake adorned with hazelnuts.

Nutella was made by Italian confectioner Pietro Ferrero.Yes, it’s the same Ferrero that brought us the delectable Ferrero Rocher (and Tic Tac’s too). Nutella was the solution to a less expensive chocolate. Since the supply of cocoa was limited during World War II, Pietro Ferro used hazelnut which was plentiful in the Piedmont region of Italy. This simple solution extended the supply of chocolate and began a trademark taste found in Ferro’s products.

At first Nutella, originally called Pasta gianduja, was sold in loaves and mothers would slice a slab and put it in between two pieces of bread. However, children being children discarded the bread and went straight for the sweet stuff. So, innovative minds went to work to outsmart kids wanting to have their cake and eat it too, by making Nutella spreadable.

Formerly sold in loaves in the forties, Nutella is now sold in spreadable form.

Although Nutella has been around since the forties, it was only imported from Italy to the United States in the early eighties. Now it is marketed in over 75 countries outselling all brands of peanut butter combined worldwide. Nutella is eaten on all types of bread, from bagels to muffins to toast. It goes great on waffles, crepes and crackers as well.

Here’s an idea for an informal gathering. Get some pretzels and fill your dipping bowl with Nutella…what a delicious treat! For more formal affairs, instead of chocolate, why not try Strawberries and Nutella? It’s a different taste, and sure to be the talk of the party.

Recipe for Nutella Cake:

Article by Monica Johnson

Studio City: Zach’s Cafe

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Goat Cheese and mushrooom lasagna

Nestled behind a small parking lot is a  white restaurant with green shutters which would remind one of a misplaced Bed and Breakfast establishment right off of Ventura Blvd.  Zach’s is one the best kept secret’s in the Valley but celebs like Megan Fox and Brian Austin Greene are evidently in the know. 

There is plenty of patio space with white plastic tables and umbrellas for shade.  Knowing the cuisine was Italian, I found the outside decore baffling.  As I am led by the hostess to a cute little section to right of the intial entry way, I notice the beautiful murals which help to create a great a setting of sitting in an Italian market place.

Matt, the owner decides that today we are going to do a tasting menu. He sends out some of the dishes which he believes best reflects Zach’s Cafe.  We start with a cream of broccoli soup.   Sometimes you get a cream of broccoli from a place that is too thin but at Zach’s Cafe it is creamy, hearty  and filled with broccoli bits.  It brims with flavor.  Along with our soup, piping hot rolls are brought to us.  Mozzarella cheese is cooked into the rolls.  The delicious rolls taste like they just came out of  your grandma’s oven, nice and moist.  Then we try one of the best sellers on the catering menu, the Adam’s Baby Greens Salad.  Salad lovers, run don’t walk to this restaurant because the salad is absolutely deliciously.  Read More.

Read More Restaurant Reviews: Restaurant Reviews

Penne with Braised Squash & Greens

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Penne_SquashThis chunky sauce is laced with chard and accented with smoked tofu. Convenient packages of peeled and diced butternut squash are available in most supermarkets in the fall and winter.

For more information go to:

Recession Busters: 10 under $10 at McCormick and Schmick Seafood Restaurant

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As a comfort food restaurant critic examiner for Los Angeles, I was asked to sample the 10 under 10 menu.  The special is running nationwide at select locations.  Click below for more info:




(In Photo: Inner Harbor Baltimore Location)

Recession Busters: 10 under $10 at McCormick and Schmick Seafood Restaurant

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Festivals This Weekend

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Every weekend in October

Butler’s Orchard in Germantown, MD

At 22200 Davis Mill Road an Annual Pumpkin Festival is held weekends throughout October, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pick a pumpkin; take a hayride; explore a hay maze; and enjoy crafts, food, and family activities.

 October 3rd

Oktoberfest Celebration at Whites Road Park in Lansdale, PA

Lansdale’s first annual Oktoberfest celebration will take place on Saturday, October 3rd from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at White’s Road Park. The festival will feature German food from area…

Sunday October 4th

Italian Family Festival at Bowers Museum in Santa Ana, CA

There will be music by a Sicilian Band and traditional dances by the Gypsy Folk Ensemble. Learn how to play bocce ball and enjoy delicious Italian food.

October 3rd & 4th

Oktoberfest at Corbett Field in Tuscon, Arizona

A FAMILY ORIENTED GERMAN FESTIVAL WITH ARTS & CRAFTS, MUSIC AND GERMAN FOOD. Visit the link below for more updates on Arizona Festivals:



In the Kitchen With Rocco DiSpirto

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If you think Rocco is hot wait til you feast your eyes on the cooking talent of our Latin Chef coming to the Multi Cultural Cooking Network in November. 

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