A Quick Escape to Maria’s Italian Kitchen

maria restaurantI have been slammed with work lately. Our team is in the middle of launching a major initiative in June and all of us are working non-stop to make it happen. It’s way past midnight now (hello Jimmy Fallon) and I still have loads of stuff to do for tomorrow! 😯 It’s hard work but nothing rewards me more professionally than having the opportunity to learn something new every day.  I’m incredibly blessed to be working with some of the most talented people in the industry who is willing to share their knowledge and work truly as a team.

My boyfriend came to rescue me and took me out to dinner tonight. We were both craving some hearty starchy food (probably from stress) so we decided to check out a neighborhood Italian restaurant, Maria’s Kitchen, for some pasta dishes. I wasn’t too sure about eating Italian at a chain restaurant inside a strip mall but the buy-one-get-one-free coupon he had convinced me to give this place a chance.

The interior of the restaurant reminded me of a trattoria I dined at when I was in Manhattan – an atmosphere warm, cozy, colorful and tasteful. The place was packed with family and regulars enjoying a Thursday night Italian supper!

Maria’s had everything I look for in a nice Italian restaurant. Reasonably-priced food – check. Good selection of table wines (Robert Mondavi, Clos Du Bois, Blackstone, Wild Horse) – check. My favorite Caprese Salad – check (Maria calls it Capri Salad). Robust dessert menu – check. Handsome Italian waiter named Roberto – check (okay, he’s name was probably Chuck but he was dark and handsome). 😆

We started out with the usual – the Capri Salad.

maria capri

I had the full portion of spaghetti with Bolognese sauce (you can order half too if you’re not stressed). The pasta was cooked perfectly al dente and the sauce had a slight sweetness that I enjoyed. The sauce was a little on the oily side but it had a wonderful flavor and reminded me of spaghetti served in Japanese coffee shops (I must say that Japanese really know how to cook Italian – who knew, right?)

maria bolognese

My boyfriend ordered the spaghetti with meatballs. Meatballs were very satisfying and I loved the tanginess of the tomato sauce!

maria meatballs

We shared the Tiramisu for dessert (or should I say I ordered it and ate it?). The mascapone cheese in the middle had a unique flavor and texture, like it was mixed with cream cheese to add the umph or something. It was a little too sweet and dense for me as I usually like my tiramisu light and airy. But it still hit the spot nonetheless.  Nothing relieves stress like a piece of rich dessert.  I knew I didn’t have enough Weight Watchers point left for this, but the rule goes out the window when you’ve worked 12 straight hous! 😡

maria tiramisu

I’m really glad I found this place. Maria’s kitchen will definitely make many appearances in our future dining endeavors. And they gave us another coupon for free entrée — another reason why we’ll be coming back real soon! 🙂

(It’s time to stop blogging and go back to work!)

Maria’s Italian Kitchen
23331 Mulholland Dr., Woodland Hills CA, 91364 (and several other locations)
★★★★☆

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