Monday, February 21, 2011

Venice: C&O Trattoria

Ever since I turned 21, I'm not a big fan of birthdays... cause it just reminds me that I am aging and slowly I will not be able to do the things I love to do and expect to get away with it, like eating like a cow! But with birthdays, it always means good food, and my HS friends and Diana were gracious enough to bring me to an Italian restaurant for an early birthday celebration a few weeks ago!

C&O Trattoria
31 Washington Blvd
Marina del Rey, CA 90292

C&O = Cheese & Olive. Actually located in Marina del Rey, next to Venice, the area has a very different vibe from the rest of LA. They specialize in Northern Italian cuisine but of course, there's a little bit of American influence in it.

Well known for their "garlic rolls," HUGE portions, and their nightly sing-alongs to "That's A'more!" The wait staff hands out lyrics to the song and when the music starts playing, the whole place sings along with it and the wait staff will come around and cheers with everybody!

Seated outside on a somewhat chilly night, but the heat lamps did it's job. Actually a little too well.


Chianti is the choice here and they either give it to you in a big bottle like this (around 10 glasses) or you go to a self-serve station. They run off honor system and you say how many glasses you've had. I like it :]

garlic rolls
The killer garlic rolls. One of the most amazing garlic bread I've had, anywhere. It's complimentary and right when you are seated, they fill a plate up with the rolls. They have servers constantly walking around with fresh rolls just in case you need more. I had to control myself before I spoiled my appetite, only around 8 or so! Salty garlicky goodness :D

Started off with the calamari in gargantuan size. Very very tender and the marina is bomb diggity here. They have "individual" and "gargantuan" sizes here, with gargantuan more for sharing.

insalata gorgonzola
Also ordered Insalata Gorgonzola to share.

insalata gorgonzola
Mixed greens, caramelized onions, roasted tomatoes, candied walnuts, and gorgonzola cheese, with a raspberry walnut vinaigrette. Sounds awesome doesn't it? I love how the cold and the hot elements interact with each other. It's a savory salad yet it's light and refreshing at the same time due to the dressing

angel hair
Capellini Shrimp. Angel hair pasta with shrimp, artichoke hearts, sun dried tomatoes in a garlic butter white wine sauce! Definitely the lighter of the pastas we got that night but sun dried tomatoes helped liven it up. Angeline barely made a dent in the gargantuan!

Linguini Pescatore. Similar to the capellini shrimp since the sauce is the same but this comes with swordfish, salmon, and shrimp for a seafood fest. Even at the individual size, it's still a huge huge plate. Props to Choi for almost finishing it!

linguini mare
Linguini Pollo Marsala. I'm a huge fan of marsala and this was just a savory creamy pasta. Grilled chicken, mushrooms, roma tomatoes and sweet basil in a Marsala wine cream sauce. Very rustic and savory dish. The sauce is definitely the star.

My favorite pasta of the night, Rigatoni Al Forno, a baked rigatoni with a meat sauce then topped with mozzarella. It's baked so the mozzarella on the top is baked to a bubbly golden brown. Savory and hearty pasta dish! I just wish I took a better picture :[

choco lava cake
Of course, they told the waiter that it was my birthday so I got the song treatment and a chocolate lava cake :P Who doesn't like a warm cake with gooey chocolate in the middle? It is sweet, very sweet, and very chocolately. We should've asked for some ice cream on the side!

Since Monica's pasta came out late (rigatoni), they gave us a free dessert and she picked the Tiramisu. It had a strong rum flavor to it which we loved. Wish it was a bigger piece though!

On that same night, they were about 6-8 different parties celebrating their birthdays and I can see why! C&O creates this fun and relaxing dining atmosphere which I love. The food's great and it's guaranteed no one will go home hungry or maybe even sober with their chianti wine policy :P But really, it's the great company that I had dining there that makes this place a top 5 for me in LA. Thanks guys :]

On the way to our car we see a "peace sign" walking signal! Somebody broke the appropriate part of the signal to make that. Genius HAHA.