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Healthy Restaurants in Napa Valley and Sonoma?

Thank you! We will do it. Do you know if there's any good sushi in the valley too?

Healthy Restaurants in Napa Valley and Sonoma?

We're headed to the Napa Valley and Sonoma for over a week and in addition to a gluttonous dinner at The French Laundry, we are hoping to find some places that are still local and organic but without the heaviness of some of the better known restaurants in the area. In other words, we don't want to gain 15 pounds in a week on vacation this time.

Can anyone help?

Brunello Trattoria in Culver City: Naples Born Owner, Family Run, A Must-Visit Place

I'll try to make this brief, but it's a necessary, long overdue report. Ok, first so you can somehow take me reasonably seriously (I only said reasonably, so I'm not claiming to be any perfect expert, but I don't want anyone thinking I'm a member of the Olive Garden fan club).

I am a self obsessed Italian food fanatic. My favorite places in town are what you'd expect: Angelini Osteria, Vicente, Mozza (prefer the Pizzeria personally, more down to earth), PIccolo, Madeo, Valentino, and Little Dom's (I know it's more Hoboken, but I'm a sucker for it) My family's from both Northern and Southern Italy, so I've been raised on all the soul gratifying grandma recipes. I go to Babbo when I'm NY, and I try to get over to Italy as much as I can save up for--At least once every two years.

Ok, so please believe me when I say that if you haven't tried Brunello Trattoria in Culver City, you need to.

There's been a lot of talk of the new restaurant scene in Culver City and understandably so, there are some great new places in downtown Culver (I should have included Fraiche up top), but no one seems to be talking about Brunello, which opened about 6 months ago about a mile east from Downtown Culver on Washington Blvd.

And I think I know why: There doesn't seem to be a publicist pitching, nor any payment to Los Angeles Magazine, not even any baiting of L.A. Times' S. Irene Virbila quite yet (at least I don't think yet) .

I work in Culver City. We order from Brunello twice a day for the office. I've tried almost everything on the menu and almost every special. I can tell you this place is the real deal and deserves some attention. A casual family run trattoria, with real, authentic Italian food.

The pasta is homemade and cooked al dente. They are never over sauced. The ingredients are fresh and local. The fresh baked bread is unbelievably distinctive and amazingly good (I do wish they wouldn't crisp t it up for the table when you sit down. It's good enough right out of the oven, soft and warm, or even soft and room temperature). The pizza is great and uses the same bread recipe for the crust (It's not super thin crust or anything, but it's just delicious). The recipes range from Roman to Neapolitan to Northern Italian, and most all of them bring you back to Italy. They even have good salads, which I don't even require of a great italian place.

Now, the ambiance here is not going to win any huge fans. It's a simple, clean, family run joint that hasn't been designed by the Dolce Group (thank god) or even by the guy who did Angelini Osteria. But it works fine. For good, passionate Italian food that feels like a little bit of Italy in Culver City...in Los Angeles, for that matter, it's the real deal. Brunello is from Naples. He's passionate about food, loves people who appreciate the passion, and has his whole family running the place. If you haven't gone, you need to go. We need to prove to guys like Bruno that you don't need a good publicist or a good buddy with open wallets over at Angeleno Magazine to be a successful Italian restaurant in this city. Maybe someone should give Jonathan Gold a call.

Sep 08, 2008
basilboy in Los Angeles Area

Sushi Zo, somesaid going downhill???

The best new Sushi in the city. Period.

May 01, 2008
basilboy in Los Angeles Area

One night in Rome, what's the place for the incredible dinner?

Message

Mar 16, 2008
basilboy in Italy

Dinner near L.A. Sports Arena?

Where do you go to eat and have cocktails before a show at the L.A. Sports Arena? Doesn't need to be fancy, just needs to be a good time. Ideally, would like to park the car at the Arena and walk.

Oct 29, 2007
basilboy in Los Angeles Area

L.A. Italian - Vincenti or Pecorino

What's the better of the two places in Brentwood? Or should we just stick to what we love and go to Angelini Osteria?

Oct 19, 2007
basilboy in Los Angeles Area

Italian Question

I learned this as a 14 years old in Pacentro, Italy, which is a small town in Abruzzo just a few minutes outside Sulmona. The best carbonara I have had in my life was served and they were truly offended if you tried to eat it without a spoon. Maybe it's just a question of family tradition if you had that experience in the north.

Oct 06, 2007
basilboy in Not About Food

Italian Question

I am Italian and when I was a kid visiting my family in Italy, I was taught to eat long shaped pasta with a fork and a large spoon, so as to grab the spagetti with your fork and roll the pasta in the spoon for maximum efficiency. I have always lived by it, and even in places like Babbo in NY, the practice seem to be commonplace. However, I notice it's not done in Los Angeles, even at the best of Italian restaurants. My question is this: Is eating spaghetti, linguine, fettucini, etc. with a fork and SPOON against etiquitte? I've always insisted that using the large spoon for long pasta is the Italian way because of my family in southern and even northern italy, but I could be wrong. This could be just a small town italian thing. I'm out to lose a bet here, any thoughts? Any Italians out there who can relate to my spoon necessity.

Oct 06, 2007
basilboy in Not About Food

"Must Haves" in Bologna/ Emilia- Romana

One of our best meals on our last trip was il bitone. It's a slow-food place just outside of the main square but right on one of the main streets in Bologna. They treated us amazingly and the food was incredible. There was also a serious lack of tourists and alot of locals. Also, you have to go to the world famous italian market/deli Tamburini, which is right in the middle of it all. You'll see alot of info on it out there. It's glorious. We've been to Italy 5 times now and visit our cousins in both northern and southern italy, so know you're in good hands.

Jul 12, 2007
basilboy in Italy

Mozza -- Batali in DA HOUSE!

Did he mean through Thursday or leaving thursday? Do you know?

Dec 12, 2006
basilboy in Los Angeles Area

Blair's in Silverlake

It does need updating...it's good, but it needs some inventive love

Oct 19, 2006
basilboy in Los Angeles Area

Rec a romantic restaurant

The Little Door, smoking patio, even if you don't smoke. It's like being in Europe for a few hours

Sep 28, 2006
basilboy in Los Angeles Area

What is the best Italian restaurant in Brentwood?

I've read about a place from two brothers from Abruzzo in Brentwood that's supposed to be the next great authentic Italian, anyone hear this too?

Aug 29, 2006
basilboy in Los Angeles Area

Best Breakfast in LA?

Bread and Porridge, the most amazing omelets in the city, they bring out fresh black beans and fresh pico de gallo with each order, the BEST. it's just that it's on the westside, so it's not easy for us eastsiders

Aug 29, 2006
basilboy in Los Angeles Area