All the way down to the pizza crust dipping sauces – ranch, Italian, and marinara (below) – it’s all about the nostalgia and kitsch at the newly opened Jon and Vinny’s, a homage to Italian-American and nuova italiana cookery on Fairfax in West Hollywood in the former Damiano’s (an old haunt from my grad school days).
But when I met a colleague there for a working dinner last night (thanks to an impossible-to-get reservation courtesy the management at Sotto where I co-author the wine list), it was more about my nostalgia for an old Nebbiolo friend, the Mimo rosato by Cantalupo, one of my favorite Novara producers.
Ops and beverage director Helen Johannesen’s list is mostly delicious natty and old school French but her Italian selection is also solid (if red heavy).
The Mimo was the only Italian rosé wine among healthy French options and it showed beautifully with the spicy red thread that ran through the dishes, from the “little gems” (now a pseudo-Italian standby) to the bucatini cacio e pepe (are italics even relevant anymore?).
Waiting for my colleague to arrive, I snapped this image of Canter’s Deli across the street where I spent countless late nights in my 20s when living, teaching Italian, and playing music in LA.
My night ended with me Ubering back to my hotel and soundly asleep by 11, something that rarely happened during that time in my life.
In those days matzah ball soup and beer were the daily victuals. Today Nebbiolo and pizza dipping sauce are the order of the day. But Canter’s still sits there, unchanged and unmoved.
My, how things must stay the same for everything to change.
Ain’t you the blushing Gattopardo ;)
Crazy to see how the other side of the street has changed so much but canter’s not one bit.
Ernesto, I thought the tie-in to Piedmont made the allusion work well. Thanks for being here, man!