I eat: Osteria La Buca

Now-a-days, Instagram is my go-to to find where all the cool kids are eating. When I see a drool-worthy picture, I immediately go to Yelp and bookmark if highly rated. So what was it that attracted me to Osteria La Buca?

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THIS.

Cacio e pepe. And it did not disappoint. Creamy, cheesy, peppery goodness.

We also ordered another pasta and pizza.

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nero spaghetti – clams, squid, shrimp, tomato, chilis

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calzone – mozzarella, ricotta, pecorino, spicy tomato sauce, broccolini

The nero spaghetti was good, but the cacio e pepe was clearly our favorite pasta. The texture of both pastas was perfect.

I love broccolini, but it typically adds a slight bitterness to a dish. Combine that with burnt pizza dough and you have a calzone that’s somewhat off putting.

All in all, this was good meal that we scarfed down in under 45 mins.

When you spend more time on the road to the restaurant than in the restaurant itself… #soLA

Verdict: 3.5/5
Osteria La Buca
5210 Melrose Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90038

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Double Fakeout

Ever since I broke out my vegetable spiraler, I’ve been kind of obsessed with zoodles. I’ve made it for lunch numerous times, all with red meat sauce. Buuuttt, I’m really not supposed to have tomato based sauces since, ya know, that acid reflux thing. I’d like to say I’m a “fuck it, I do what I want” kind of person, but in this case, heartburn is a real bitch and something I’d like to not experience frequently. So, of course I was super excited to find a healthy recipe on Instagram that would allow me to have my beloved zoodles without the burn!

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Creamy Chicken Zoodles

The sauce is just mashed avocado mixed with almond milk and pinch of salt and pepper. If you wanna kick things up a notch, add red pepper flakes and Sriracha.

I eat: La Vecchia Cucina

I’ve been feeling stressed out lately, now that I have both work and school, so I took two days off two weeks ago and had myself a staycation in LA. I made sure to fill my days off with gluttony. From ice cream to chicken wings to a DineLA dinner, I did a whole lot of eating!

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Coffee Moo (salted butter saramel with coffee) from Mother Moo

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Linguine for days at Maccheroni Republic

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TEBASAKI!!! ♡

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Kimchi spam musubi

And what better way to end an extended weekend than with a DineLA dinner!

I usually have a hard time choosing restaurants for DineLA. I’ve spent hours before browsing through menus and reading reviews on Yelp, Open Table, and Urbanspoon. Yes, I do my due diligence. But this time, it was a breeze. One look at an Instagram picture of uni pasta from La Vecchia Cucina and I was sold. What can I say? I’m a sucker for uni pasta. I did check the menu though, just to cover my bases 😉

We managed to snag the window seat. TOTES romantic! And fantastic lighting for pictures! Since I looked at the menu beforehand, I already knew what I wanted…

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Capriccio Imperiale

Well executed. The lemon vinaigrette was light and refreshing, which provided a great starting point for the meal. Although the seafood was cooked properly, I wish the ratio of the different seafood was more balanced.

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Spaghetti All Ricci di Mare

Not bad, but def not the best uni pasta I’ve had. There was only one piece of uni and not enough sauce. However, the spaghetti was cooked perfectly.

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Affogato

No complaints, but honestly, I’m not sure how anyone can mess this up…

La Vecchia Cucina was my only opportunity to experience DineLA this time around and overall, I was pleased with my meal. I can’t say there were any aspects that I particularly LOVED, but I would definitely come back to try the other pastas on the menu.

Verdict: 3.5/5
La Vecchia Cucina
2654 Main Street
Santa Monica, CA 90405

I eat: Bottega Ristorante [2]

My first time dining at Bottega was SO AMAZING, I couldn’t wait to go back! I had to try the Egg and Pork Belly Confit, which Tyler Florence showcased on “The Best Thing I Ever Ate”. We weren’t able to order this dish the first time around because it’s seasonal; it appears on the menu starting in July.

Good thing I didn’t have to wait too long.

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We started off with one of Henry’s favorite wines (Buehler ’05 Cab) and a few appetizers: Polenta Under Glass, Monterey Calamari and of couse, Egg and Pork Belly Confit.

calamari
porkbelly

The polenta was just as delicious as last time, but the calamari, though tasty, was nothing extraordinary. Unfortunately, I wasn’t blown away with the Egg and Pork Belly Confit either. I LOVED the runny soft boiled egg, but unfortunately, the pork belly was overcooked. Oh well. I prefer braised pork belly over pork belly confit anyway.

bolognese

Next up was pasta: Pappardelle Bolognese. The fresh pasta was cooked perfectly, but the meat sauce fell a bit flat. I expected it to be more flavorful.

lamb

We shared two entrees between 3 people because we didn’t want to over-stuff ourselves (which we ended up doing anyway). Since Henry and I had duck last time, we went for the Wood Grilled Lamb (with local figs and polenta). The polenta was delicious and the figs added a subtle layer of sweet that balanced out the gaminess of the lamb.

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We also ordered the Smoked and Braised Short Ribs (with preserved Meyer-lemon spinach). The meat was very tender and the lemon lightened up the dish.

So even though our buttons were popping off at this point, we couldn’t leave without having dessert. I don’t remember the name of the 1st one, but who cares. Focus on the 2nd dessert: Zeppole al Lemoni – Italian donuts served with Meyer-lemon curd and Earl Grey infused jam. Hot damn, these were delicious!!!! I preferred the jam because the lemon curd was a little too tart.

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dessert2
I had put Bottega on a pedestal after my first time dining there. My second time brought Bottega back down to earth. Don’t get me wrong, I still love the restaurant and would recommend it to anyone. I just know that, other than the Confit of Half Duck and the Polenta Under Glass, most dishes aren’t the best I’ve ever had.

Verdict 2.0: 4/5
Bottega Ristorante Napa Valley
6525 Washington Street
Yountville, CA 94599-1300