I know the “If you’re here, you’re family” motto belongs to The Olive Garden but, trite as it may be, the description couldn’t have been a better fit for the Ladies this outing. Maybe it was because the Ladies able to make it were all moms in various stages of motherhood, sharing about babies, breast feeding, and birthing. Maybe it was the wine. Maybe it was indeed the fact that we were in a quaint little Italian restaurant. Whatever the case, this month’s outing to downtown LA’s Colori Kitchen was especially hearty, warm, and sumptuous.
Jen’s original pick for the evening was Bestia, a hip Italian restaurant in the Arts District known for its understated, simple yet purely Italian cuisine. Yelp! posts told us, however, that our lack of a reservation might leave us waiting in line for an hour or more. Not a good thing for the Ladies, especially with one of us being pregnant and more than one of us certified as winos. Instead of risking hunger and humiliation, we ventured instead into the heart of downtown to Colori – maybe not as trendy, maybe not as crowded, but likely as delicious (and certainly easier on the ol’ credit card).
Still, without a reservation, we weren’t so lucky. Colori offered us a table but asked if we could hurry things along so they could turn over the table quickly (for those wise enough to make a reservation, it being a Friday night and all). We agreed to speed eat, helped along by a server who effectively jockeyed us towards our meal’s end. He opened our bottles of wine (bring your own, no corkage fee), told us the specials, and took our antipasti order in under five minutes flat.
Things started with the a rustic, zesty bread that, when enjoyed with the accompanying hummus seemed to melt in my mouth. Then came the antipasti: the Caprese, a dish of fresh, tangy tomatoes, soft mozzarella, and basil, a light olive oil drizzled on top; and one of the specials, thin-sliced calamari steaks topped with buttery sauce. We all tried the calamari, but Lady Lady was hands-down the dish’s biggest fan. I found it a little chewy, a a little salty, but I’m not one to judge since, even when breaded and fried, calamari is not a favorite of mine.
Still, there was no complaining, not with the soothing effects of my Shiraz kicking in. Soon enough came our entrees. Mine was one of the specials – the Tagliolini with mushrooms and tiger shrimp in a tomato sauce. I must have already been tipsy when we ordered: mushrooms? But I had high hopes. And sure enough, I was satisfied. Actually beyond satisfied. Really more like purely delighted (although very full after a few bites – thank goodness for doggy bags – and apologies to my dog)! The sauce was both luscious and earthy, the pasta beautifully cooked, the shrimp toothsome and juicy. Lady Lady, who lived in Italy for two years (and correctly pronounced her order) had the same thing, calling it authentic and yummy.
I also tried Lady ThickLeg’s Ravioli di Zucca (pumpkin ravioli in a creamy walnut sauce) and Lady Wilkutabitch’s Lean Cod with Mussels and Prawns, and found the, both delectable. When I return, I’ll certainly order the ravioli if my Tagliolini isn’t available, a simple yet rich pasta dish that’s got just the right amount of sweetness. Amazing!
An LWD isn’t complete, however, without dessert. We ordered the flan (not my choice) and the cheesecake (definitely my choice). My problem with flan is the texture. The ones I’ve tried before fell heavy on the slimy side. But, being a Lady, I said I would try Colori’s flan. And this flan, I liked. It was not as firm as our cheesecake, of course, but dense enough, and not too sweet. Now the cheesecake – do I even have words for it? The best words would be: yes, more, mmmmm (if mmmmmm were a word). The layers of it were distinct but subtlety mingled – the whipped cheesecake and a spongy cake. Not over-rich, but powerful enough to make you stop and savor each bite. Simply lovely.
So a great night and a lesson learned for the Ladies about reservations, although it’s more in our culture to keep things spontaneous. Even when rushed, this outing proved how great it is to be. Lady, and we are definitely family, even if we only get together once a month.
429 W. 8th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90014
Second location on Figueroa