Thursday, December 30, 2010

Maria's Italian Kitchen

                Established in 1975 by Maria Alfano, this Italian Kitchen is a blessing to LA. The owners were actually from Hoboken, NJ, but then fell in love with CA on a visit, and opened Maria’s Italian Kitchen. It is now open in 10 different locations in and around LA, serving fresh pasta, breads, pizza, salad, and much more! Here are a few of their lip smacking dishes.
            Like most Italian places Maria’s serve complimentary garlic bread. But these are not like any other you might have tasted. Drizzled with oregano and garlic and eaten with olive oil, the bread gives you an intro to what you are about to savor.
Garlic bread
Cheese fries
              As appetizer we tried their formaggio fritti. We weren’t familiar with what to expect but once we tried it, I am sure its something we will always have! Formaggio is a chewy kind of cheese, which is fried with bread crumbs to make it a fritti. The portion had just two rectangular pieces served with fresh marinara sauce and arugula leaves. Oh! What do I tell you about the sauce!! It was the best I ever tasted. You can taste the freshness, the juiciness and the sweetness of the tomatoes and when combined with the frittas, the combo is heaven! We also had cheese fries. These potato fries were drizzled with cheese and had just the flavor to tell you they were different. Frankly, I wouldnt say they are great. They were well done, tasted good but not extraordinary.

Formaggio Fritti
                For the main course, we tried three different varieties just to get the taste of the place. And oh! I forgot to mention, we had a guest this time. You will hear about her in the next few posts too, ‘cause we are having a holiday together. That is why we could try 3 entrees instead of just 2.
                One of them was vegetarian lasagna. This lasagna had spinach, portabella mushrooms, grilled zucchini, smoked mozzarella and sautéed broccoli. And of course their fresh marinara too! It was such a mouthful, and so yummy, I am waiting to try it myself some day. It was a large portion though, so unless you are very hungry, you might end up with a doggy bag.

Vegetarian Lasagna
                The other entrée was the Spicy shrimp and Roasted corn Risotto. For those who do not know, Risotto is simply rice cooked in broth of meat/ vegetable till it gets a creamy consistency and served with any kind of meat. The kind we tasted was accompanied by shrimp, corn, and red chilli flakes, sun-dried tomatoes and cream. It’s a treat for those who love seafood and its distinct flavor cause this dish is loaded with it!

Spicy Shrimp and roasted corn Risotto
                The third was ravioli a la marinara. The description on the menu reads “Delicious paper thin pasta pillows of Ricotta stuffed pasta. Light and delicious” And yes, it was just that. Inspite of being just the basic Italian combination, it tasted so special on my palate when the ricotto just melted in my mouth blending with the marinara. Hmmmm… I need to have it right now! And since it was just the right portion, you can enjoy it all you want, just until you can. It wont get too much into you.

Ravioli a la Marinara
                So maria’s Italian Kitchen is my best choice for fresh marinara, and cheese. I bet you will not leave unhappy after eating at this place! Enjoy yourselves….  

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