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Tavern has always been one of my favorite places to eat, and it just happened to be the closest place to go for a bite one afternoon. Luckily it was Happy Hour from 3-7pm, and although the Blue room was noisy and packed with 20 somethings, the former market side is now a bar, and it was much quieter, while offering the entire menu.

The lamb meatballs with currant relish, pine nuts and feta for $13 was hearty enough to share, and filling enough to be a small savory meal for a small appetite. I loved the North African influenced spices in this warmly fragrant dish.

The short rib taco with avocado, red onion, aioli, cilantro and scallions for $8, and the curried cauliflower tahini yogurt, cilantro, and poppy seeds for $6, both had very tasty fillings, but in both cases, the tortillas were COLD! We ended up eating the fillings and leaving the cold wrapping on the plate 😦 The pickled carrot and jalapeno on the side were nice additions to perk up the fillings even more.

The Spanish fried chicken with cumin-chili butter and romesco aioli for $13 was my favorite plate of all. It didn’t need the aioli, but a glass of wine was definitely a nice compliment to the hot, crisp, absolutely perfectly flavored bites. If you only order one thing for happy hour or as an appetizer, order this!

My friend wanted dessert, so she ordered the frozen lemon tart, made with Meyer lemon ice cream and honey lime meringue for $13. The presentation with citrus sections and kumquats was dessert art for my eyes.

I got a snickerdoodle to go, filled with a peanut butter filling that was so big and decadent it took me several days to finish it, but I did 🙂

The Eataly finale ends on a sweet note 🙂

After perusing every sit down or take away option, my friend and I decided to eat lunch elsewhere. We made our decision based on our very picky standards; she has lived in and traveled extensively through Italy, and she has even taken cooking classes in Italy. I am just picky, especially after having eaten incredible meals in Rome for very reasonable prices.

The rotisserie had a lamb special that day, but once we got to the counter, they said, “Sorry, no lamb today, they sold it yesterday by mistake, so we have tri tip today”. Neither one of us wanted to pay over $20 for a small pizza or plate of simple pasta plus another $20 for a decent glass of wine.

Being in the newly remodeled Westfield Century City Mall, there were many other wonderful options, so we went to my old favorite Rock Sugar, and came back for a coffee and pastry.

We looked through all the pastry and dessert cases,

and the candy cases, including the chocolate cases, and gelato stand,

 but we decided on coffee and viennoiseries.

 I chose the raisin twist,

and she chose the almond cream. We tasted both but we each wisely chose our favorite. Because there were no seats, we ended up having our coffee standing up at the coffee bar, just as we would have done in Italy 🙂

Since we were fortified with some sugar and caffeine, we wandered upstairs to shop in the cookware and toys section, where we saw the SMEG500, a Fiat fridge!

For the ultimate Italian wine cooler/conversation piece! As the saying goes if you must ask how much it is, you should not buy it (you must apply to purchase it)!

Eataly Eyfest part 2 🙂

Most of the raw ingredients were fairly priced for the quality.

 

 

 

 A fair price for this quality of canned tuna.

 Olive oil sold by the size/weight.

The most outrageous price of anything I saw in the market; you can buy these salts online nearly anywhere for the same price as 1 OUNCE here, you can buy 2 POUNDS!

 Huge bulk quantities does not mean you get a price break.

 Large selection is nice to peruse…

 

I must confess that I did not like Eataly in Rome. There were beautiful products, from pasta to condiments, many counters serving snacks and sweets, and several options for eating both inside and outside, but it made no sense to me to shop or eat there when I was in ITALY, with authentic local options literally surrounding me. The only people I saw buying and eating anything there were tourists and they were mostly American, seeking perhaps the comfort of a known brand name from the US. The equivalent of this experience would be going to chain lobster restaurant in Maine instead of a local joint, or *shudder* buying a supermarket baguette in France instead of getting one from a boulangerie. WHY?!?!?!?! Just DO NOT do it. Taste at least one peach, ripe, fresh off the tree; you can always open a can of peaches afterwards, if you still prefer them 🙂

Eataly in Los Angeles offers a few products that are a challenge to find here, but those who know good Italian and European markets can easily find most things for for less. Bay Cities in Santa Monica is still my all time favorite place to shop for any Italian ingredient. A1 in San Pedro has a nice selection, and Eagle Rock Italian Bakery and Deli has many great products. I like keeping small businesses alive, and the personal interactions are as important to me as the presentation, so even though I love to peruse the big name financed stores, when it comes to actually buying, I will continue to spend my money with the smaller shops.

If you prefer one stop shopping with gorgeous presentation, then Eataly Los Angeles is your new mecca. Just as Paris has the gorgeous La Grande Epicerie, and tourist centric Lafayette Gourmet, Eataly is a feast for foodie eyes. My next three posts will be mostly photographic, so enjoy the eyefest:)

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