Aside from the excruciating heat wave from May to September and a constant mocking of having the 818 area code, living in the San Fernando Valley, is, like omg, totally awesome. Come on, people, stop with the judgmental finger pointing and take a look around. Where else in the world can you find 15 Starbucks within a mile radius, witness historical landmarks torn down daily to be replaced by those new, shiny Westfield shopping malls, and enjoy little Lauren-wannabes talk in mysterious codes (yep, gagging someone with a spoon is a perfectly acceptable English phrase in this part of town)?
Well, whatever your opinion of the place may be, nobody can deny the fact that the Valley is, fur shuuuure, blessed with the abundance of dining options. For instance, Ventura Boulevard, the 20-mile blood vessel of the Valley that extends from Woodland Hills to Universal City, is the ultimate restaurant row, and any foodie’s dream. If you remain patient and carefully comb through the evil Jerry’s Deli and the homogenized Cheescake Factories of the world, you will surely find an original, one-of-a-kind gem you can call your own, even in this suburbia.
Ca del Sole is the needle I picked up in the Valley’s culinary haystack, thanks to my epicurean friend, in the cute, quite, upscale neighborhood of Toluca Lake. Inspired by the Northern Italian cuisine, the place exudes the beauty and the charm of a Venetian trattoria.
A bunch of us from work headed over to the restaurant for lunch to celebrate the end of a week-long training. We grabbed the table outside to accommodate the big party so I didn’t really get to see the elegant interior, but the patio area was so charming that I know I didn’t miss too much. It’s difficult to believe that this hidden place is only a mere blocks from the busy Universal Studios.
The lunch with my newfound friends and colleagues was truly enjoyable, and the wonderful variety of food we ordered was as colorful as the conversation.
The lunch special included a choice of antipasti or insalata, a choice of secondi (pork chop or pumpkin ravioli), and ice cream with fresh berries for dessert. I ordered the special with carpaccio and ravioli and everything was absolutely delicious. I was especially impressed with the pumpkin ravioli with crispy sage. The creamy sauce whispered to me that the autumn is just right around the corner and the aromatic pumpkin puree reminded me why this is my favorite season in a year.
Carpaccio, thin slices of raw organic beef filet served with shaved Parmesan, capers and extra virgin olive oil
Mezzelune, half-moon shaped pasta stuffed with pumpkin; sautéed with a light sauce ofbutter, sage, and parmesan cheese
Insalata Caprino, goat cheese from “Redwood Hill Farm” with Belgian endive, baby arugula,
oven-dried grapes, caramelized walnuts and 12 year old balsamic vinegar
Tonno, a seared Ahi tuna filet served on Swiss chards with roasted onion, oven-dried tomatoes, black olives, capers and herbs
Salmone, an Atlantic salmon filet baked in a paper pouch with herbs, asparagus and acorn squash
Ice cream with fresh berries
Don’t you think finding an amazing restaurant is very much like finding the person of your dreams? While you can’t help but wonder where the hell this person (or a restaurant) has been all your life, you simply cannot imagine living the rest of your life without him/her (or, it).
I think Ca Del Sole and I are going to be very happy together.
Ca del Sole: 4100 Cahuenga Blvd., Toluca Lake, CA 91602