LA: Italy’s Little Kitchen, The Laugh Factory and Tony P’s

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to meet my roommate’s parents, and I did not pass it up. I am always interested to see where my friends come from. The plan: some good food in L.A. and some stand-up comedy at the Laugh Factory on Sunset Blvd.

Italy's Little Kitchen on Lincoln Blvd. between Marina del Rey and LAX.

Before the comedy show, we dined at Italy’s Little Kitchen, located between Marina del Rey and LAX. After a glass of red wine and much deliberation, I decided on the shrimp florentine topped with melted mozzarella cheese (and extra garlic/light salt, as recommended by our friendly, witty waitress). It sounded so tempting that three of the four of us decided to order it. I was initially somewhat disappointed with this – I was hoping to lay eyes on more of the plates, perhaps even a forkful. Shit happens, though, you know?

I typically would not think of topping shrimp with mozzarella cheese (or any cheese, for that matter), but man did this combo work. After they cooked the pasta and shrimp and added the garlic sauce, they covered the dish with the cheese and baked it until melted. I come from a family of Italians who love their home-cooked pasta – so I typically am somewhat jaded to pasta dishes. This is the only pasta dish I can think of in the past year that I’ve found myself pondering a few days later. Don’t fill up on the bread before dinner – the leftover sauce in the bottom of the dish is worth the wait.

Well, all right, having just wrote that I remembered the lasagna from Arnoldi’s in Santa Barbara (a really interesting place – from live musical performances to backyard bocce ball courts). I will write about it when I go again, I haven’t been in a few months.

Back to Italy’s Little Kitchen, it’s a good place to stop because it’s right on Lincoln Blvd. and easily accessible if traveling along the coast of Los Angeles. Swing by and order the florentine and let me know what you think. It is somewhat of a romantic setting (minus the view of KFC on one side), so don’t be shy about bringing a date. Ask them to close the blinds if you don’t like chicken.

Ready for a digestif, we arrived early at the Laugh Factory on Sunset Blvd. There’s one thing in particular I suggest after my experience: I would recommend buying VIP tickets ($35) instead of general admission ($25). VIP tickets guarantee a seat and allow you to enter an hour early to catch the end of the previous show, whereas general admission tickets only guarantee admission a few minutes before showtime, but you still must arrive early (and wait, not enter) to ensure you get a seat. I don’t know – being able to get in and have a seat and start having a good time seems worth the extra $10 to me – but the choice is yours.

Either way, in addition to the price of admission, there is a two-drink minimum (either alcoholic or non-alcoholic). My route took me to order the former. The beers were reasonably priced around $5, but some of the cocktails were pricey ($12-$15), although not surprising for Hollywood. Since we were early and first in line, we lucked out and were seated at a table in the corner, close to the stage (side view). It gave us a really cool perspective on the club – we could see the stage and the people in the balcony on the other side of the stage, and we could see the faces of the people sitting in the middle pit (which is nice for when the comedian interacts with the audience… you can see who he/she is talking to).

Tania Raymonde

Did we court any celebrities? No. Did we fall in love with any of them? Of course. For all you LOST fans out there, we saw Tania Raymonde sitting in the balcony – honestly, right in my line of sight.

She’s an awfully nice looking girl, I must say, very beautiful, a completely different image of her dirty-skinned days of LOST, although I must admit, at times, I dug the dirty-skin.

So long story short we did not court her, and I am sort of sad about it.

The next day we decided on Tony P’s in Marina del Rey for lunch. Upon entry I was very pleased with the place – many pictures of sailboats hung on the walls, and the patio provided a view right out over Marina del Rey. We could see the boats shove off and the others being attended to – most notably one man climbing his mast. The food was enjoyable – I had the soup/salad/sandwich combo of clam chowder (not bad, big pieces of clam), Caesar salad (nothing special) and turkey sandwich on a round roll with bacon and all the works. There was nothing wrong with the meal, I simply feel I could have gotten it anywhere. They did have a really nice beer list, though, so I got to enjoy some Kona Fire Rock Pale Ale.

After lunch at Tony P’s, we drove home to Santa Barbara on a beautiful March Sunday afternoon. Check out the pictures of the trip along Route 1. It’s always nice when the drive is not a chore.

Nice to meet you Mr. Sharp!

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