Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Chef Gordon Ramsay Where Are You?

Food and Hollywood should go hand in hand like black and white.  However that is not the case of the Gordon Ramsay at the London or otherwise known as The London West Hollywood.  Chef Ramsay’s eatery is located in West Hollywood and was a disappointment.  At first you might say perhaps it did not just live up to the hype but sadly that was not the case. I was so excited to obtain reservations at Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant as I have been a fan of his for years.  It only took me 5 years to actually try one of his restaurants, honestly to save up the money.  I have eaten at some of the best chef’s restaurants including Tom Colicchio’s CraftSteak – fabulous and Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill – where Tex meets the west.  To say I was expecting Chef Ramsay to kick their butt was an understatement.

Sadly Chef Gordon Ramsay has gone Hollywood.  As you walk into his establishment a sign welcomes you stating that he now has a “new small bites menu”.  The advertising states simply that his cuisine has been “re-interpreted for the California lifestyle.”  Whose California lifestyle?  Not mine that is for sure.  I found it pretentious and lacking in substance.  Even the Cesar Salad was pretentious.  The waitress advised us to pour it on the plate so it could be eaten.  It was presented in a bowl with the romaine spears pointed upward too difficult to cut let alone eat. 

The price did not fit the flavor.  I expected to be blown away with flavor and the infusion of fresh produce and herbs.  What I received was a lackluster bite of something flat.  The presentation was beautiful and for that he does rate an A+ but for flavor it was not present.  The atmosphere did have the cosmopolitan feel that Chef Ramsay was aspiring to but it could also be described as cold and contrite.

The restaurant is run under the direction of Executive Chef Anthony Keene and sadly maybe that is Chef Ramsay’s mistake.  I did not experience the fresh local produce with the new flavor of sophistication.

The question remains why did Chef Ramsay change his menu concept to small bites?  The bites were small and definitely created from out of left field but they certainly were nothing to write home about.  The best bite on the menu was the Grilled Spanish Octopus with parmesan dressing and marcona almonds.  Because of his TV show Hell’s Kitchen I had to try the Scallop and Asparagus Risotto with roasted mushrooms.  I am happy to report that the scallops were done to perfection however the risotto was undercooked.  It tasted like hard rice and we all know that risotto is pasta to be served rich and creamy.  I do not know what to say about the whole experience. 

Giving it the good old college try I ordered three desserts from the menu: English Sticky Toffee Pudding with Mascarpone Cheese and Brown Butter Ice Cream; Pistachio Crème Brule; and Pineapple Upside Down Cake with Cherry Ice Cream.  The desserts were small just like the small bite menu.  Ever since my trip to Turkey I will order anything that has Pistachio in it.  Needless to say the Country of Turkey does Pistachios better. 

The waitress was nice enough however the service was so slow.  I could have used a refill of the water glass along with a drink but it was roughly an hour wait just for the drink.  Good thing I was not in the desert I would have died of thirst.  

Of the tasting menu I ordered 10 items.  Of the 10 items I only thought was one was exceptional.  The rest I could have done without.  Not a very satisfying dinner. To say the least I stopped for Taco Bell on my way home and I DO NOT DO FASTFOOD.  That just goes to show you how under whelmed I was with the whole experience.  This place only gets One Fork Up – it was at least a clean establishment and did not give me food poisoning.

I just cannot get past my great disappointment I waited years to save the money to try Chef Gordon Ramsay’s food and I could have used the cash to pay for a pair of shoes.  I am not giving up on Chef Ramsay thou I have plans to try his burger joint The Fat Cow at the Grove.  I still have hope.

The London West Hollywood - 1020 N. San Vicente Blvd., West Hollywood, CA 90069

Friday, March 22, 2013

Emeril's Delmonico – New Orleans

1300 St. Charles Avenue
New Orleans, LA 70130

The food, the ambiance, the flare of old New Orleans all wrapped up in one sweet package.  Waking into the door way of Delmonico’s is stepping back to the 1920’s the elegance and clean lines of the décor can be observed from the hostess station.  The polite staff that are always there to refill your water glass before it is even half full is typical of the service you will receive. 

When Emeril Lagasse first purchased this 100 year old establishment the people of New Orleans were afraid that he would change the charm and cultural history of the building.  Perhaps they had thought he had gone too Hollywood on them.  New Orleans was pleasantly surprised to find that Mr. Lagasse had made the building an updated version of what it once was glamour and sophistication but no pretension allowed in the building.  It does not matter if you are the King of England or just a young couple celebrating your anniversary every one is treated as though they are special.  Just like in the times of the roaring 20’s it did not matter who you were you were just there to enjoy the atmosphere and enjoy a drink or two.   Yes, Mr. Lagasse got this one right. 

His food in not pretentious as you may expect when you walk in the door.  It is sophistication with a twist.  It can best be described as Old New Orleans with an up do. 

Although you may be overwhelmed by the menu at first glance my best recommendation is pick what screams at you first.  The Louisiana Crab Stuffed Artichoke is made with oregano, pecorino and smoked tomato.  Do not be scared to order it as it is not made like most stuffed artichokes.  The part of the artichoke that is stuffed is the heart of the artichoke.  It was so rich and filling I had to stop eating it as I had my eye on dessert. 

The salads are refreshing however I strongly recommend the soup of the day. The tomato crab bisque was fabulous.  Rich, smooth and creamy just like it should be made without LUMPS!!! 

The entrees are quite extensive from Dry Aged Moulard Duck Breast to the Louisiana Drum Meuniere.  My suggestion is the Louisiana Drum Meuniere made with fresh local blue crab, olive oil poached artichoke, roasted fingerling potatoes, and young arugula  grape tomatoes the flavor is an explosion in your mouth.  You do not know what to expect, is it tart, is it tangy, it is good!

A favorite of the locals is the Cuban Chorizo Stuffed Duroc Pork Loin made with red bean and rice congri, crisp plantains, mojo isleño, and Old New Orleans rum jus.  Rich with a spicy under flavoring the pork was done to perfection and tender.  You could see that the chef knew what resting meat meant.  If you want to experience what the locals already know then give this one a whirl.

The desserts are so fabulous you would think that this would be the one dish that was not perfection on the plate but you would be wrong.  There is always a dessert of the day and this day it was Strawberry Pie.  It is made for one with fresh strawberry and light crust.  However, if you are a traditional Emeril fan then you must have the Coconut Cream Pie.  It is just as good as his famous Banana Cream Pie that is served at his Restaurant in Las Vegas.  Rich creamy smooth with light flakey crust simply to die for.

This place rates a 4 Forks Up – service, ambiance, menu selections, taste, flavor and prices are not too outrageous as you might find at some other restaurants which I will be discussing later.  If you are visiting New Orleans this is must stop on your tour.  Emeril has 3 locations in New Orleans but this one is the one to visit if you want old fashion flare and touch of intimacy the other restaurants are in the French Quarter and rely on foot traffic.  Reservations are highly recommended.  











Monday, March 18, 2013

New Orleans Lousiana

  The food, the fun the drinks and sites.  New Orleans is a true delight.  The people are warm and friendly.  The food is fabulous and extremely fating.  But do not despair the walking should even up the calorie intake at least that is what I keep telling my self.  I lost weight just to come here and now I have gained it all back.  What can I say but a fabulous way to gain, food, drink, food, drink and yet more food.  If those early settlers could see the place now I wonder what they would think of it. 

This is true turn back to times long ago gone.  There is magic around every corner.  A vampire and pirate walk hand in hand down the city streets.  They are as they appear and live their lives to the fullest.  I am told that if see someone who you believe to be in costume that is actually how they life out their lives in New Orleans.  It sounds a bit dramatic but it really is true. 

New Orleans is now the 3 largest city in the United States to film movies and television shows.  It is called South Hollywood.  I went to New Orleans to get away from Hollywood I had no idea how many films are shot there a day.  During my stay Vampire Dairies was being filmed along with a movie staring Robert De Niro and Sylvester Stallone.  I had my heart set on meeting Mr. De Niro only for it to be crushed.  Too bad I think we would have made a great pair.  I am told that he loves food just as much as I do however on a man it shows a little better.  This was not the first time Sylvester Stallone had shot a movie in South Hollywood Expendables 2 was filmed in the Garden District.  I did manage to say out of the cameras way and was pleasantly surprised to find out that nothing was closed down due to shooting schedules you just merely walk around the cables laying across the street.

New Orleans has been through so much but this is one city that Does not give up.  The citizens live life to the fullest as not miss a single moment. After each disaster they commit to rebuilding.  You can see the damage from Hurricane Katrina throughout the 9th Ward but you can also see a community that pulls together and rises up from the ashes just like a Phoenix.  This is city I could settle down my own roots at just because of there desire to push forward just as I myself have pushed forward all my life. 

New Orleans is the city of hope and dreams and that is seen in every corner.  From the jazz that plays throughout the night in the little bars and alleys to the people partying in the streets without regrets.  The music plays until the band is tired but in New Orleans that can mean 4:00 in the morning.  This is city that should be on everyone's bucket list I know it was on mine.  I still have to join in the fun during Mardi Gras but that just gives me a reason to come back.

Take a trip down the old Mississippi and turn back in time.  Visit an old plantation and see the beauty of the oak trees.  I promise you this city will not disappoint you! Come join me in a glass of mint julep and toast the New Orleans people deep in community and joy. 

Friday, March 15, 2013

Royal House Oyster Bar - New Orleans

 Royal House Oyster Bar - 441 Royal Street, New Orleans, LA 70130

 The oyster tacos are fabulous although an appetizer pair it with oysters on the half shell and get your fill you are in New Orleans after all!  The tacos are nontraditional with a fried flour taco shell and topped with fresh slaw.  This establishment tops it off with a spicy sweet bar-b-que sauce. I highly recommend it.

The oysters are in the half shell are shucked to perfection however need a better cleaning.  My napkin looked like I just got done playing in the Mississippi River.  But that cleaning does not stop you from experiencing the fresh sweetness of these oysters. Perhaps on the best oysters I have eaten across the United States.

My companion had the fried alligator.  The batter was lite but needed a little more kick.  The creole was missing part of New Orleans was missing from the taste.  That was a little disappointing since we were in the creole capital.  

The staff has that southern hospitality that we have all been hearing about since the south rose up. If you have a question never be afraid to ask there is no dumb question in New Orleans just a sober question.  Your glass will never be half empty in New Orleans as soon as you drink it down it is filled to the top again. Try the Mint Julep if beer not for you.  However, try at least one hurricane while you are in town its strong and sweet.

Take a seat upstairs overlooking the street the view is amazing.  I could sit and people watch all day from the balcony.  The price is the same as that which you will find in the French Quarter so do not be alarmed.  This place gets 3 Forks Up.  The atmosphere and friendly staff is true to the southern charm.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


 GIGI RESTAURANT AND LOUNGE -319 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA

One day while taking in the sights I came upon this little café on Market Street.  From the outside it looks tiny but it is deep so there is plenty of seating.  This place does not market to the tourist it is a local paradise.  It is sandwiched between two other café’s in the historical Olde City, Philadelphia.  It has a large outside seating area inconspicuously tucked on the side of the restaurant with a private outdoor terrace.  Gigi’s specializes in its own version of International cuisine and tapas.   Open Monday – Saturday 11am – 2am and Sunday 10am to 2am.  The dinner menu starts at 5pm.

For lunch the burgers and made fresh daily.  Try the Ahi Tuna Sandwich topped with avocado, lettuce, tomato, citrus lemon aioli served on a brioche bun.  The Ahi is fresh and not fishy tasting.  I chose mine blackened to perfection.

The Barnegate Bay is served all day till 11pm so it’s a great combination with a beer later at night.  It consists of pan-seared lump crab cakes topped with lettuce, tomato, avocado, scallion aioli served on a brioche bun. 

If you want to indulge in Tapas then I suggest the Prince Edward Mussels simmered in white wine, garlic, herb and paprika chili broth.  It has a kick so be sure your beer is by your side.

If fish is not what you crave then there are the Jerk Chicken Skewers and Cheesesteak Empanadas.  Although the menu has them down as tapas they are quite filling if you top it with a salad or soup. 

The menu in itself has something for everyone.  They even have your traditional buffalo chicken wings and pizzas.  The atmosphere is warm and inviting. The locals populate this establishment during lunch so do not be surprised if there is a crowd.  Three Forks up for the price, menu selections and atmosphere it is a great place to people watch.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


More Than Just Ice Cream  - 1119 Locust St., Philadelphia, PA

Yes that’s right this place has more than just Ice Cream. I scream you scream we all scream for ice cream. Open Monday – Sunday 11am – 11pm.  A great place for a late night treat.

This establishment has everything from a satisfying breakfast to a hometown diner menu.  Follow that up with a waffle sundae and you are good to go.  The inside is like an old time ice cream parlor.  The staff is warm and friendly.  It is not uncommon to find a staff from the medical center enjoying a late night snack.  So go ahead indulge I am sure a doctor will come around shortly to resuscitate you. 

The Quiche of the day is served with a balsamic mixed green salad. If you are carving something a little bit more then there large plate selections are for your taste buds.  Try the Cajun Turkey Meatloaf topped with stewed tomatoes.  To tempt your taste buds you can order Asian Grilled Salmon with wasabi mashed potatoes or Southern Fried Chicken – yummy. 

Do not forget to try there Famous Mile High Apple Pie made with layers of sweet honey crisp apples topped with the finest flakey butter crust drizzled with warm caramel.  If it is not on the menu you can ask the staff to make you something your sweet tooth will envy. 

Try a slice of the Southern Pecan Pie after all how often to you make it to the south? So indulge in a few calories remember you are in Philly and this is a walking a town.  Take a walking tour to get the burn some of those calories. I recommend the Original Ghost Tour of Philadelphia.  A hot fudge sundae than a tour of the city with a resident dressed up in Halloween attire is my recommendation because there is nothing more pleasing than sweet thick hot fudge sundae.  I truly enjoyed mine.  Nothing says fun more than sweets and a fun way to burn off the calories. 

Take the Original Ghost Tour of Philadelphia.  A guide dressed appropriately will take you on a candle light stroll along the back stress of the secret gardens of Independence Park, Society Hill and the Old City.  The guide is knowledge about the secrets and history of Philadelphia so if you really want to learn the city’s secrets do not miss out.  For more information call 215-413-1997 or log onto  I promise you will not be disappointed.   
The food at the More Than Just Ice Cream rates 2 1/2 Forks Up it was pleasing but not spectacular.  The ICE CREAM was fabulous along with the Mile High Apple Pie.  The sweets rate 4 Four Forks and I have the waist line to prove it.  I just could not eat one dessert while taking up space.  The ghost tour gets 4 Forks Up because it was simply fun and the walk did me good.

Monday, March 11, 2013



This week I will be traveling to New Orleans to invoke some good old fashion Creole fun.  The food, the spices, the atmosphere.  I will be celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in the French Quarter.  Although there may be no green beer there will a party going on all around me.  

In New Orleans the festivities go on for weeks.  I am told there are six St. Patrick’s Day parades. One in nearby St. Bernard Parish that also celebrates the Italian and Canary Islands cultures. A block party will held at the Irish Channel section of the city. I have packed well with Aspirin and plenty of water so New Orleans look out Tammy is coming to town.

Is there a particular restaurant you want me try?  Please send me an email or comment.  So far I will be tempting my palate at Emeril Lagasse’s Emeril's Delmonico located on the famed St. Charles Avenue streetcar line.  Word has it that this is a legendary century old institution.  I am looking forward to viewing the architecture and stepping back in history.  This establishment is noted for its intimate dinning experience.  Unlike the other two restaurants in Emeril’s New Orleans this one does not survive on foot traffic but its old style Creole flare with a pinch of “Bam”. 

For breakfast I will be dining on beignets it is just not New Orleans without a beignet and coffee/tea in the morning.  Perhaps a real poor boy for lunch and a few spicy drink concoctions.  New Orleans is the city that never sleeps and to that end I will be enjoying food 24 hours a day.  Angeli in the French Quarter stays open late serving hummus to pizza.   The BackSpace Bar and Kitchen with a menu that expands from brie to red beans and rice to waffles and pancakes.  I will be once again on a diet once I return from my food excursion.

Not only is food on the venue for my visit but I will enjoy a few plantations.  Turning back the clock to the time of Rhett Butler and Scarlet O’Hara.  A little southern genteel culture.

Plantations were once the mainstays of a regional agrarian economy, as well as the bastions of a genteel culture.

So drop me a line if there is someplace special you want me to visit.  My forks as always will be in the upright position.

Sam’s Morning Glory Dinner

Sam’s Morning Glory Dinner - 735 S. 10th Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Take the name as is… This electric and warm dinner has been around since 1997 serving nothing but the freshest ingredients.  It is located in South Philly in the Bella Vista neighborhood.  If you visit on the weekend be prepared to wait at least a ½ before being seated.  The waiting area has a nice patio with tables and chairs to enjoy a drink or cup of coffee.  The inside is exactly what you would expect from an old dinner small with eat up counter.  You can watch the cooks make your brunch right before your eyes.  Nothing at this establishment is frozen. 

If you are in Philly for the week then you may want to avoid the crowd and visit Monday – Friday.  The atmosphere is always laid back but a little less hectic during the weekday.  Sam’s Morning Glory Dinner is up 363 days a year.  They only close Christmas and Thanksgiving Day. Monday – Friday 7:00 am – 4:00 pm.  Saturday and Sunday 8:00 am – 3:00 pm.  Only open for Breakfast, Brunch and Lunch.  CASH ONLY. That is what keeps the prices so low.  Although there may be a wait the food is fabulous and inexpensive.

The staff is always friendly and willing to answer any questions you may have regarding the ecliptic menu. 

The Monkey French Toast is a favorite in the neighborhood.  It is Challah French Toast stuffed with caramelized bananas and mangoes tipped with caramel sauce and whipped cream.  I was happy to say that I walked this feast off after brunch.  I strongly recommend trying this dish if you are only in Philly for the day it is a once in a life time chance to indulge in sweet breakfast treat.

They also serve a mean Pecan Waffle with whipped peach butter to Challah French toast with homemade strawberry sauce.

For something lighter and healthier try Frittatas.  Since they are made from scratch allow 15 minutes.  The Neighborhood Frittata is made with roasted red peppers, spinach and provolone.  Or try the Tofu Scrambler made with tofu, spinach, mushrooms, pepper and curry seasoning. Yes there are grits on the menu.  I preferred the Tofu Scrambler over the Neighborhood Frittata only because it is not often that a restaurant knows how to serve firm tofu with vegetables without it turning to mush.  You can substitute for egg whites for a minimal charge.  

The Brunch menu also serves up salads and sandwiches from the Waldorf Chicken Salad to the Shrimp Salad Samwich. Yes I said “Samwich”. There is always something for everyone.

This establishment is off the beaten track.  If you are walking there from downtown Philly you may think second guess yourself on the neighborhood but this place is no second guess.  This area is warm and friendly and a local gem.  Ask anyone for directions and they will be more than happy to help you find your way. 

Sam’s Morning Glory Dinner is a straight up Four Forks Up.  Warm friendly staff, fresh ingredients and inviting atmosphere makes it an experience you do not want to miss.  This place holds its own against any $20 brunch.  

Friday, March 8, 2013

Reading Terminal Market

Reading Terminal Market – 12th & Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA

Located in downtown Philadelphia this establishment holds a block long of fresh vegetables, meats, and foods from around the area.  That does not include its wonderful dessert sections and fresh teas and coffees.  If you are attending a conference at the Convention Center I highly recommend that you stop in for a bite between seminars.  The food is the freshest you will find from local farmers and growers.

Even Hollywood knows about Reading Terminal Market.  This market has been the back drop in many movies.  Often used as backdrops are Pearl’s Oyster Bar and Martin’s Meats.  So if you are strolling through Reading Terminal Market some day do not be surprised if you run into Tom Hanks or Nicole Kidman.  The photographic backdrops it provides in several theatrical releases are stunning. It is best know role was in National Treasure in which Diane Kruger and Justin Bartha duck into Reading Terminal Market to avoid capture.  Brian De Palma also used Reading Terminal Market the film Blow Out. 

My favorite area in Reading Terminal Market I must admit is the yummy dessert shop.  The Flying Monkey Bakery has a long line but it is worth the wait.  The cupcakes are huge and delicious.  Each item baked from scratch with a touch of whimsy.  Remember the old black and white movies when Our Gang would eat whoopee pies?  Well The Flying Monkey Bakery has them and they are huge.  I suggest a fork and knife because one bite and the whoopee comes right out.  The selection of flavors are endless and include Banana Foster, Creamsicle, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Coconut, Cookies 'n Cream, Chocolate Covered Pumpkin, Lavender Honey along with Classic just to name a few. 

The ever popular Pearl’s Oyster Bar serves broiled or fried fresh seafood platters and homemade snapper soup.  Get there before the lunch crowed or you may not be able to find a seat.  This is a popular destination for the locals who work in the downtown district.  I recommend the fried clams and snapper soup.  The snapper soup is rich and warming on a cold winter’s day.  It is packed with flavor that you would not expect at a market. 
The Down Home Diner has been newly renovated but that does not change the home goodness.  It is authentic home cooking with a Southern twist.  This is a meat lovers heaven serving up scrapple, bacon, sausage, pork and bar-b-que goodies.  It serves gourmet sandwiches and fresh salads.  The ingredients come from the market itself.  So if meat is not your choice of ingredient do not be discourage there is more health friendly items on the menu.
If you are unable to pick one item then try a little of everything the merchants are more than friendly.  There are ATM’s located throughout the market as some of the local shops only take credit.  But credit cards are accepted at most establishments.
The Pennsylvania Dutch even has several specialty shops to delight anyone’s taste in food and crafts.  Beiler’s Bakery is an Amish bakery serving homemade baked goods such as sticky buns, pies and apple fritters. Perhaps you want to try the Dutch Eating Place which serves breakfast and lunch.  They are famous for their blueberry pancakes.  They also serve up apple dumplings, deli sandwiches and scrapple.  The Dutch Eating Place only takes cash. 

The Reading Terminal Market is must see for its photogenic back drop to its food and shops. You have not experienced Philadelphia until you have taken a stroll through Reading Terminal Market.  A definite Four Forks Up destination.

Monday, March 4, 2013

La Fusion Restaurant - San Francisco

La Fusion Restaurant - 475 Pine Street, San Francisco.  It is located in the Financial District of San Francisco so there are no other eateries located around this establishment.  It is lonely at night and this area does not stand out so do not be surprised by the location just go and enjoy.  Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30 am - 3 pm; Dinner Mon-Sat 5 pm - 10 pm. CLOSED SUNDAY.  Even the Chef needs a break once and awhile.
La Fusion is a blend of Latino Nuevo cooking.  It marries Latin cooking with American flare.  The restaurant only serves about 30 guests at one time but the experienced staff and the management work well together to keep the patrons happy and coming back.  There are tea lights on the tables and a modern costmary atmosphere.   At first glance you may think that this place serves small portions but I assure you the portions are quite filling and there are always leftovers.  The price is worth the menu selections. It is not cheap but it is not expensive either.  So those who complain are just not use to good food. 

The Fried Empanadas are served with huacatay and piquillo pepper aioli.  They are served warm and a taste explosion.  I recommend the seafood and vegetable empanadas. They are light but be careful because they are still filling.  I should have only eaten half my portion but I could not stop eating it became an addiction.  But that’s ok I still made room for my entrée and dessert. 

This establishment is known for its Truffle Mac and Cheese and it does not disappoint.  It is so easy to be heavy handed with the truffle but the chef here knows how to handle that ingredient.  The cheese was so creamy.  There were no lumps just pasta done right with truffle and cheese.  It definitely was not Kraft Mac and Cheese. Just a side bar if you go you have to at least sample the Truffle Mac and Cheese without doing so it is like going to San Francisco and NOT seeing the Golden Gate Bridge.  So do yourself a favor and order a side of Truffle Mac and Cheese.

I had to indulge in the Arroz con Pollo just because of the cilantro rice.  The chicken was tender and juicy.  The chicken skin was crisp and light with so many flavors in every bite.   It fell right off the bone.  Many places refuse to add cilantro as an ingredient and only use it as a garnishment.  It was nice to see it used correctly and with a heavy hand. 

Praise must be given to the dishes and the staff.  My hat is off to Chef Enrique Urrutia.  Four Forks Up the food and service was impeccable.  This is not a place to take children. I will be coming here more often.  If you are staying in San Francisco for a weekend I recommend this place as a stop on your itinerary.  

Friday, March 1, 2013

Pizza D'Oro - Costa Mesa, CA

Pizza D'Oro – 145 Baker Street, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Continuing the theme of hole in the wall restaurants the list would not be complete without this local eatery just off the 55 Fwy in Costa Mesa.  This little pizza joint has been owned by the DiPietro Family.  The interior is tired and true.  It has the appearance of an Old Italian Restaurant.  Not much has been renovated or if it has it is hard to tell.  But that just adds to the charm.

The prices are affordable.  Each pasta dish comes with soup or salad and to die for garlic bread.  The salad is not much but you are not paying $8.00 to add salad like most Italian restaurants and that in itself is a plus. 

There are daily specials seven days a week not only Monday thru Friday for the lunch crowd.  This establishment caters to the locals, the college students and community.  If The Lab is packed turn down Baker Street towards the 55 Fwy and enjoy a cheap meal.  The portions are large so do not go telling Gordon Ramsay we do not want him to cut them down to size.   Here you end up with two meals for the price of one.

Sunday and Monday is all you can eat spaghetti or lasagna this meal includes garlic bread and dine in only soup or salad for around $6.25.  Seriously where can you pay so little for pasta?  Just warning you that you are free to have a second plate but you will not need it as the pasta serves at least 2 hungry people.  The sauce is homemade with lots of meat.  If you do not want meat then ask for extra mushrooms instead.  The sauce explodes with tomatoes and garlic.  No fancy sauces at this establishment.  But they do have clams and linguine with white or red sautéed garlic sauce.  Again they are heavy on the garlic but that is what adds the flavor.

Pizza is another story.  I have never seen a Pizza that is 28” x 30”.   The menu also has pizza by the slice.  A Giant Slice of pizza is 14” x 6” more than enough for 2 people to share. 

So if you want an authentic Italian meal but do not want to spend the high prices you find in nearby Newport Beach I recommend Pizza D’Oro.  The interior my need a make over but your wallet and stomach will be happy.  Family owned and operated for over 40 years so they must be doing something right.

This place rates 3 Forks Up for affordability and flavor. The upside plenty of parking.