Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Angeli Caffe: Gnocchi so good it demands to be photographed

I told myself I wasn’t going to take any pictures.

I told myself that I was going to be a regular person who doesn’t walk into a restaurant and immediately think about the lighting or glare from the street lights outside.

I told myself I was going to enjoy the moment – the company, the food and the overall experience of dining out without the pressure of capturing every edible morsel on the table.

I told myself all these things as I drove to Angeli Caffe, Evan Kleiman’s cozy Italian gem on Melrose, last Wednesday night, but somehow the words got lost midway through our meal.

The evening started out as planned.

I resisted the urge to take glamour shots of the pizza bread – incidentally my favorite restaurant bread in the city – and I turned my head the other way (toward a live person) when the persimmon and pomegranate salad arrived at our table for four.

Instead of fawning over my camera like I usually do, I actually focused on the conversation bubbling up around me, and was even able to contribute to the discussion without resorting to food bloggerisms like, “Ugh, the shadow on this frisee is horrible. Someone hold up their iPhone.”

It was pleasant being normal and talking about ordinary things like shredding string cheese into the thinnest pieces possible (Note: I don’t do this.), and people who utilize the public transportation system in LA (really?).

We were laughing, drinking our bottle of Sauvignon Blanc like it was water, and I didn’t even get the itch to reach for my camera once.

Or at least I didn’t until the ricotta gnocchi of the day arrived…

The dish of supple gnocchi balls made with cheese instead of potatoes (our waiter informed us that this makes them “lighter”) commanded immediate attention from all corners of the table. The scent of the brown butter and sage sauce tickled our nostrils, urging us to make sudden and indecorous moves with our forks.

Or, in my case, with my camera.

I whipped out my Sony cybershot with the agility of a figure skater, turned on the Droid light application on my phone, and got to work.

It was a thing of beauty.

The gnocchi. Not the photo (my arm got tired and I had to surrender the dish to my other photographing companions before it got cold).

Regardless, the memory of the best gnocchi I’ve had in Los Angeles will live on. In my mind and in this shoddy picture that, shockingly, doesn't really bother me. Because even a perfect picture, taken with the best possible camera, in the best possible lighting, is incapable of doing this arresting dish justice.

Angeli Caffe
7274 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90046-7667
(323) 936-9086


Mike T. said...

I disapprove of whatever dark force had convinced you not to take pictures. I'm glad you finally came to your senses. Oh and FYI, it's Kleiman.

Ashley said...

For the record, LA has the cheapest pub transport system of any city I've lived in. 50 cents per day, thank you very much!

The point of all of this is that maybe if I pub transport it over to Angeli, I will feel less guilty about eating out...? Add it to the list!

Esi said...

I take public transportation! Haha. Must try this gnocchi. My only experience with ricotta gnocchi is one I made and it was very reminiscent of baby food.

Diana said...

Mike - Haha, thank you! I was thinking that since I had already been to Angeli and written about it, I didn't need to do any "work" that night. Fool's thoughts.

Ashley - If it makes you feel better the prices are really reasonable! And they have a knock-out vegetarian lasagna too...

Esi - This version is definitely NOT reminsicent of baby's food. It is simply delicious. :)

Jenn said...

Wow those gnocchi look big. Big is good. Looks deliciously awesome!!!

weezermonkey said...

I love Angeli's gnocchi. I'm glad you photographed it. It enjoys being photographed.

Anna A. said...

Pizza bread and cheesey gnocchi? Can I come with you and Ashley next time. BTW, I am a proud owner of an annual TAP metro card.

yutjangsah said...

that was some good ass gnocchi bro. i hope you've bought some string cheese and taken just a fraction of a hair of it and pulled. THAT SENSATION is addictive! like popping packing bubbles but BETTER! Aieeee. Aieee. Aieee. okay, soldier, keep on marching.

Diana said...

Jenn - They were on the bigger size! But not too big. Perfect big. :)

Weez - It does! It even stopped to pose for me. Such a cooperative little ball of cheese.

Anna - Of course! You are welcome on all carbolific outings.

Sook - No. Just no.

Kung Food Panda said...

One, I'll say I love the whole droid light app & camera action. Saw it last night! :)

Second, I love gnocchi, so I think I gotta make a visit here! :)

Diana said...

Danny - Isn't the droid light amazing?!?! Best application EVER! Cathy wants to come out to try Angeli too so you guys should come out together. We do gnocchi and lasagna.

SinoSoul said...

I've been told once and again Angeli also has fine "pizza", which... really intrigues me. Were these better than Cube's gnocchi? Hard to believe.

Gastronomer said...

After Petrossian, we hit up Evan's house of pasta.

Isn't gnocchi made with cheese called gnudi?

Diana said...

Tony - Yep, better than Cube's gnocchi. And Osteria Mozza's. Only one that could be a close call is the old version of Osteria La Buca's gnocchi in fume sauce (prior to their expansion).

Cathy - You are indeed correct! :)

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