The sun rises and sets on the staff at Milo and Olive. From 7 a.m., bakers start filling the chalk-scrawled bakery trays with house-made baguettes, bagels, and pastries, and at 11 p.m., the last waiter clocks out after a long night's work. In between, customers can watch the chefs work in an open kitchen as they begin preparing for lunch and dinner crowds by roasting vegetables, braising meats, and returning eggs to their rightful hens. Chef Jason Mattick lets the ingredients he culls from farmer’s markets inspire the majority of his afternoon and evening menus. Aside from creating leafy salads and small plates, these veggies crown pizzas from a selection that changes regularly, depending on the ingredients on hand. Mattick finishes each one—which could be topped with locally produced mozzarella or sustainably raised meats—in the restaurant’s wood-burning oven.
For a restaurant that essentially started on a whim in 1972, Valentino has proved itself to have immense staying power. In those early days, the vibe was informal to say the least. "We had a handwritten menu, a very personal approach, and offered whatever we had,” says owner Piero Selvaggio in an article for Eater. But this overt simplicity belies the restaurant's knack for trendsetting—they also owned an espresso machine in those early days, long before many places in the United States even dreamed of such a thing.
Today, Valentino isn’t quite the laid-back trattoria it once was. Just in the way people now expect most Italian restaurants to own an espresso machine, they come to Valentino’s expecting fine Italian cuisine devoid of checkered tablecloths and heavy sauces. The restaurant’s evolution is no surprise—Selvaggio has been running a restaurant longer than many of his competitors, and if his Michelin star signifies anything, he's likely still doing it better. Valentino's current-day menus—crafted by Sardinian chef Nico Chessa—keep the restaurant's flair for innovation alive with vegetarian and gluten-free dishes served alongside Italian classics made with farm-to-table ingredients.
In an attempt to keep things innovative and fresh, literally and figuratively, Valentino changes its menu with the seasons. Depending on the time of year, the menu may highlight duck-meat-stuffed crepes with fruit chutney made of apples, peaches, and pears, or feature a pasta with prosciutto, pancetta, and pecorino shavings. Appetizers may include 24-month aged prosciutto di parma and pan-seared diver scallops with lobster sauce.
The thousands of bottles that line Valentino's wine cellar have earned Wine Spectator's Grand Award every year since 1981, the year that wine was first invented. Emphasizing Italian, Californian, and French wines, the selection features everything from boutique-vineyard varietals to the extremely rare 1891 Brunello Biondi-Santi Riserva, one of only four bottles in the world.
Tradition trumps the passage of time at Vito Restaurant, which remains unfailingly committed to timeless Italian recipes and the ambiance of an elegant, bygone era. Tuxedo-clad servers navigate their way through a dining room decorated with ornate ceramic vases and oil paintings in gilded frames, taking orders and suggesting the ideal wines to accompany diners' meals. This sort of vintage charm is difficult to fake. Vito Restaurant earned it by staying true to the same ideals for more than 30 years.
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Scientists envision a future where crust scraps will be used to fuel Americans insatiable desire for fuel made out of crust scraps. Today's Groupon helps pass the time with $20 worth of cheese-spackled, toppings-topped, earth-friendly mealpies for $10 at Pizza Fusion, an eco-conscious pizzeria. 1905: Einstein's famous equation, E = mc2, hypothesizes a fusion-style reaction, while Einstein himself hypothesizes a romance between Meg Ryan and Tim Robbins. 1946: Designer bombs tested at Bikini Atoll create a variety of decorative cloud shapes, including beach ball, dolphin, and silhouette of the United States.1978: Attempts to use nuclear fusion to prevent magician David Copperfield from appearing on TV are largely successful. 2010: Simultaneous, worldwide experiments with nuclear fusion result in the renewed popularity of player pianos and the transformation of friendly cats into gigantic-instrument-of-mayhem cats.
Guido's Restaurant hasn't changed much since opening in 1979. It hasn't had to. The same fireplace still crackles by red booths that are both plush and spacious. The same carved wooden statues and floral accents line the walls and support the bar. And the same deep-stained hardwood columns and wine racks add a smoky sophistication, recalling a mountain lodge or Winston Churchill's childhood treehouse. When cast in low light, these exude nostalgia to create a vintage atmosphere ideal for dates or family meals.
The food is equally classic—Northern Italian recipes that have found their way from generation to generation. The authenticity is apparent in their ingredients. Swiss chard and fresh basil sink into the ravioli di magro, whereas white wine and porcini mushrooms complement the pollo toscana. And if that taste of wine isn't enough, high-end and more modest varietals from California and across the globe can be fetched from the cellar.
Santino's Tapas & Grill's friendly chefs and servers delight patrons with warm welcomes, a convivial tapas-bar atmosphere, and menu of shareable plates, delicious pastas, paninis, and steaks. The outgoing staff members pride themselves in making each guest feel at home, entertaining visitors with positive energy, witty banter, and sophisticated Vaudevillian comedy routines. As diners eagerly devour fresh salads, mouthwatering Spanish finger food, and juicy cuts of meat, a colorful display of weathered-wood accents, colorful artwork, and interesting cork sculptures excites the eyeballs.