Carb Overload

Posted on: December 12th, 2017 by Carrie Young No Comments

When long-awaited Italian marketplace Eataly L.A. opened in early November- the pinnacle of a billion-dollar makeover at the Westfield Century City mall- it was an event. The three-floor, nearly 70,000- square-foot emporium of prosciutto and Parmesan beat out locations in New York, Chicago, and Boston for its sheer size. There are stations dedicated to wood-fired pizza, fresh pasta, made-to-order salads, and rotisserie meats, as well as a seafood concept run by Providence chef Michael Cimarusti, a wine bar and wine store, and a rooftop grill. And don’t forget the butcher counter, bakery, café and gelateria. Best of all, like an Italia-centric Costco, sampling is definitely encouraged- and super dangerous. Though the chain’s outlets span the globe- there are Eatalys in Tokyo, Dubai, São Paulo, and beyond- its recent arrival on the West Coast, land of bountiful fresh agriculture, seemed especially relevant. So while L.A. fills its aisles packed with balsamic from Modena, bright green Castelvetrano olives, and canned San Marzano tomatoes, there’s also dry-aged beef from Marin County, mozzarella made from Central Valley raw milk, and calamari caught off the coast of Monterey.

Eataly has sought to champion the slow-food movement and local terroir. And it’s those little hometown nods that elevate Eataly L.A. beyond megamall homogeneity: Mozza’s Nancy Silverton plans to teach classes at the in-house cooking school, and general manager Marino Monferrato has done stints at Cecconi’s and DeSanos. It helps that L.A. has long had a special affection for the unfussy Italian cooking Eataly traffics in. In a lot of ways, Eataly L.A. is a sign of the times. Angelenos want a culinary vacation condensed above a parking garage. As the food hall eclipses the department store as retail anchor- fueled by our growing obsession with festival-style dining- the appeal of such a broad destination becomes obvious. We used to shop at the mall, then eat. Now we eat at the mall, then shop. Besides, how else are you supposed to burn off all those carbs?

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