By Jill Weinlein, 7/28/2011
One of my favorite summer activities is driving up the bucolic Griffith Park canyon on Vermont Ave. admiring the architecture of the homes winding up to the Greek Theatre. Built in 1929, the 5,700-seat theatre is modeled after a Greek Temple. The warm summer evenings tend to cool down in the canyon providing an idyllic temperature to watch top-named musical acts. The only drawback is the stack parking. I remember during one concert, my husband and I waited impatiently for over 30 minutes before all the cars in front of us left, allowing us to finally drive home. We looked at each other and said, “There has got to be a better way to park at The Greek.”
Just down the street on the corner of Hillhurst and Los Feliz, Louise’s Trattoria offers a brilliant solution to this frustrating dilemma. Every evening before a concert at the Greek Theatre, Louise’s offers a “Park and Dine” shuttle package. Park in Louise’s large lot, enjoy a nice Italian meal with beer, wine or soda and then board their van to be chauffeured up to the Greek Theatre. Parking attendants at the Greek happily move red parking cones in the VIP section to allow the van closer access to the venue. After enjoying a concert, the van awaits to whisk guests back to the restaurant’s parking lot. Once you exit the van, you have the option of driving home or stepping into the restaurant for an after concert Tiramisu and cappuccino.
Last Friday night, we visited Louise’s Trattoria to experience some of their new menu items. Our server, Senait, originally from Ethiopia, had a smile that lit up the restaurant. She recommended their new Montecito salad with organic greens. The colorful salad was topped with roasted red beets, fresh mozzarella, marinated tomatoes, sweet candied walnuts and tossed with a house balsamic vinaigrette, very healthy tasting.
Our daughter enjoyed the fresh mozzarella caprese sprinkled with sea salt, cracked black pepper and chopped basil, which she loved.
Since the Chicken Pomodoro dish is new, I thought I would give it a try. Parmesan and herb crusted chicken breast is topped with a fresh pomodoro salsa made with garlic, chopped bright red tomatoes, olive oil and basil. The salsa is chunkier than a regular tomato sauce and very garlicky. I recently read that garlic is a powerful antioxidant and can help manage high cholesterol, so I enjoyed every forkful. The crusted chicken is accompanied with a side of lightly sauced spaghetti.
My husband ordered the linguine Pescatore filled with sea scallops, tiger shrimp, clams, mussels and fresh salmon in a delicious garlic tomato sauce.
Since we dined on a Friday, we took advantage of their “Wine-Down Weekend” special. On Friday and Saturdays, patrons can order a bottle of wine for half-price. It costs less to order a bottle, than to order two glasses of wine, so why not celebrate the end of the week? We ordered a nice Italian Chianti to accompany our pasta dishes.
The last dish we tried was the broccoli ravioli filled with warm Italian cheese, served with a marsala-tomato sauce and topped with Gorgonzola cheese and sundried tomatoes. Deliziosa.
All of the desserts are from Sweet Lady Jane’s Bakery, except for the housemade tiramisu. We tried the hummingbird cake with layers of banana, pineapple, pecan and sweet cream cheese frosting. It was dense and tasted similar to a carrot cake. The luscious tiramisu had soft lady fingers marinated in espresso and layered with mascarpone cheese and cream. It was heavenly and a lovely way to sign off our meal.
As we left the restaurant, diners were swirling their wine glasses and enjoying a good Italian meal in a comfortable setting. I made a note to look up this summer’s concert schedule at The Greek.
Forget the hassle of stack parking, Louise’s Trattoria is the perfect solution to a delightful summer evening. Call to reserve a spot on the shuttle, the seating is limited per show. $$ Louise’s Trattoria, 4500 Los Feliz Blvd. (323) 667-0777.
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