Monday, April 18, 2011

Closed on Mondays: Open for Business

Closed on Mondays, the brainchild of Aliza Miner, Savita Ostendorf and Marjory Garrison, is a recurring dinner series designed to support local food initiatives.  The dinners, which to date have taken place at Atwater Village mainstay Canele, take place on Monday evenings, when the host restaurant would otherwise be closed.  The dinners are a 3 course prix fixe with choices for each course and benefit a different local cause each time.

The most recent dinner took place on Monday April 4th and I attended for the first time, joined by my friend James and Jessica of TasterTotsLA.  The first course offered a choice of an escarole salad with anchovy-garlic dressing, breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese or chilled fat asparagus salad.  I couldn't resist the asparagus, which were if anything even fatter than I was expecting.  This (above) was a simple and well executed dish, which depended on the quality of the local produce to rise or fall.  Spring is definitely here.

The second course was a choice of house-made English pea ravioli or house-made ricotta gnocchi with lamb ragu.  Again, the choice was easy for me, for although I do like peas a lot, lamb is practically irresistible to me.  The ricotta gnocchi were light and the lamb ragu also included a healthy serving of olives.  The meat was tender and well seasoned.  Not as mind-blowing as the version I had last year at the Tasting Kitchen, which is etched in my mind, but very satisfying.

We all finished with the burnt sugar budino, which had a silky consistency.  The burnt sugar on top was as thin as glass.  Each spoonful of the budino with the whipped cream was smile inducing and the glass did not stay full for long.

The beneficiary of the money raised from the dinner is the Garden School Foundation, which focuses on garden-based school learning in parts of Los Angeles where children do not get exposure to growing vegetables.  The cost of the dinner was $35, excluding tip and beverage and is cash only.

Check out the Closed on Mondays website at to learn about upcoming dinners.

Canele: 3219 Glendale Blvd, Atwater Village. Phone: (323) 666-7133.  Closed on Mondays does not take reservations.

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