Italian Food

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.

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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. 

*Top Notch Original Programming brought to you by Spectrum Entertainment,LLC.

Kick-Off Italian American Heritage Month at Oliva in Sherman Oaks

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(Huge Portions of Bruschetta at Oliva Trattoria)

While dining with a group of six ladies, I had the opportunity to sample quite a few dishes at Oliva Trattoria in Sherman Oaks.  Read more below:

Kick-Off Italian American Heritage Month at Oliva in Sherman Oaks

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History of Gnocchi & Ancient Recipe

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Gnocchi (English pronunciation: /ˈnɒki/; Italian: [ˈɲɔkːi]; singular gnocco) is the Italian name for a variety of thick, soft noodle or dumpling. They may be made from semolina, ordinary wheat flour, potato, bread crumbs, or similar ingredients. The smaller forms are called gnocchetti.

The word gnocchi means “lumps”, and may derive from nocchio, a knot in the wood,[1] or from nocca (knuckle).[2] It has been a traditional Italian pasta type of probably Middle Eastern origin since Roman times.[3] It was introduced by the Roman Legions during the enormous expansion of the empire into the countries of the European continent. In the past 2000 years each country developed its own specific type of small dumplings, with the ancient Gnocchi as their common ancestor. In Roman times, gnocchi were made from a semolina porridge-like dough mixed with eggs, and are still found in similar forms today, particularly in Sardinia (where they do not contain egg, however, and are known as malloreddus).- Wikepedia

See this great link for recipe dating back to ancient recipe dating back to the 1300’s for gnocchi:  

Learn about Cavatelli:

Buca di Beppo Will Donate Proceeds to Lance Armstrong Foundation

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Oakley-Radar-Path-Lance-Armstrong-2-bigLAS VEGAS, Sept. 28 /PRNewswire/ — On September 30 and October 1, the casual-dining Italian-eatery Buca di Beppo is giving guests a delicious opportunity to show their support for the Lance Armstrong Foundation’s LIVESTRONG Day. (source:

All Buca di Beppo locations nation-wide will participate in LIVESTRONG Day by donating a percentage of proceeds from each meal served to the foundation. When guests bring in a special flyer, Buca will donate 20% of the proceeds from the meal. To print out this special flyer visit

To Read this article in full visit:

Italian Meatball Recipe

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SERVES 10 Ingredients


  1. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl by hand.
  2. Use your bare hands for best results.
  3. Roll meatballs to about the size of a golf ball.
  4. Drop raw meatballs into large (I use a stock pot) pot of sauce.
  5. (I have an incredible sauce recipe {#92096} I use for my meatballs).
  6.  Simmer for about 3 hours.

Having a Taste For it, What is Food to You?

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by Crystal A. Johnson












As a restaurant reviewer of Comfort food for the Los Angeles Examiner, I find that it is a tall order to review comfort food.  What is comfort food?  Many things to many people which bring them the comforts of home, culture or extended experiences. (Read more at link below.–Soul-Food-Restaurant-Examiner~y2009m7d20-Having-A-Taste-for-It–What-Comprises-Your-Description-of-Comfort-Food