I wish I weren’t like this. But I am.
I usually go to a restaurant with my choice already made. I listen politely to specials, listen anxiously to the options they have run out of, and listen detachedly to what the server suggests as their favorite.
And then I read every single line of the menu, and choose the dish I’ve been lusting after while licking the online menu for the past several days.
But the first time I went to Bottega Louie, the menu was a Ouija board. It was a last minute decision to go there, and a complete dart-throw of a choice when I said: “Trenne,” listed as pasta with braised rib-eye and kale.
What landed in front of me, under the scrutiny of several hearty jousts of my fork tines, appeared to be: fried pasta. Before you get yourself all in a froth to the tune of“Dammit, must we fry EVERYTHING?!” hear me out.
Trenne is a hollow tube with open ends, just like penne. BUT! It is triangular, with 3 flat sides of starchy surface, and each side a tri-state area of its own. So here’s the geological breakdown. (Remember, this is for each individual salty little tube. So a whole plate of little universes to explore.)
MIDDLE: al dente
INSIDE: soft, having been relaxed by the absorption of the earthy braise broth of the near-shredded meat.
This is a dish with a trinity of balanced components, and all 3 are important. But, the ultimate reason it must be consumed, not just considered, is the pasta. We will all make pasta, eat pasta, and be served pasta, a thousand times in one lifetime. It is a bit of a foregone conclusion, an impact already made, a culinary backbencher. But this single plate of food will remind you how spectacular pasta can be, when texture is nailed.
And as it turns out, it is not indeed fried. I asked. I was that person.
It is “seared in an extremely hot pan until crisp.”
700 S. Grand Avenue
Los Angeles, 90017
And if you're not quite sure why this isn't about food trucks, the answers to that and more can befound here: http://thefoodessfiles.blogspot.com/2012/07/the-first-rule-of-bite-club.html
And if you really miss 'em, here's one of my favorites from the vault: http://thefoodessfiles.blogspot.com/2011/07/uncle-fester-latte.html