Although La Vita E Bella is physically distant from its Italian roots, it preserves one of the most important parts of home: the coast. Seafood infuses its menu—from appetizers of garlic-marinated octopus to the Siciliana pizza, topped with tuna, onions, kalamata olives, and capers. The kitchen's emphasis on freshness persists beyond its sautéed prawns, though. Owner Giuseppe Forte heads out multiple times a week to purchase groceries for his chefs, ensuring that their bruschetta and pollo cacciatora contain crisp veggies and fresh herbs. Then there’s the crepes—three kinds enveloping such Old-World ingredients as champignon mushrooms and prosciutto di parma.
Yet it’s pizzas that form the base of the menu. More than 20 specialty-topping combinations include the salsiccia, which boasts sausage and broccoli, and the gorgonzola, which mixes its namesake cheese with walnuts. As diners match their slices to a selection from the sprawling wine list, they can tune in to the lilt of live accordion music, which evokes the ambiance of Italy's streets and keeps dates from trying to fill conversational pauses by reciting their favorite Matlock plotlines.
‘Tis the season—not only for twinkling lights and gingerbread cookies, but also Wonderland Market. The three-day holiday market attracts exhibitors from all over the country to showcase their jewelry, gourmet foods, toys, and clothing. Amidst the colorful wares and fascinating demonstrations by local chefs, customers wander from stall to stall in search of the perfect gifts for loved ones. Once they find the perfect toy or sweater, they can wrap and ship it directly from the market.