Tag Archives: italian

Anima Pizza & Pasta

Right smack dab in the middle of Koreatown is Anima Pizza & Pasta, a restaurant that seems imported directly from Italy. It’s in walking distance of our apartment (think near Wilshire & Vermont) and we are so happy that it is! It’s actually in the same strip as another favorite restaurant of ours, so it’s twice the greatness. We discovered this gem late one night (think near 10pm) and we’ve been going back weekly ever since. The quality of the food far surpasses the dollar signs on their menu–it’s excellent food for a bargain. 

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Cafe Ugo Review

The sun is down and it’s a cool night in early December. The allure of downtown Culver City draws us in and after parking, we walk Main Street. It’s a hip area for that demographic that loves small plates and craft beers but we LOVE food and we want a meal. After checking out a few menus and feeling the auras emanating from each location, we are seated at Cafe Ugo.

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Service:
It was impeccable. 4/5. We wanted to sit outside and they brought us our own heating tower. It wouldn’t work so they got someone to fix it on the spot. We were slow to decide and our waiter put down the load he was busing in order to take our order when we looked ready. We didn’t even call him over. He had recommendations (and they weren’t based on price), he had patience, he had class, and he had a personality. My water was almost always filled, and if it wasn’t for a lapse near the end of the meal I would have given a perfect 5. When our heater went out, they immediately swapped out the propane tank for a new one. Just excellent.

Atmosphere:
A large restaurant with indoor and outdoor options, busy bar fronts and quiet back rooms. 3/5. The tables were just not a comfortable size. It was awkward but everything was clean and orderly. I didn’t love the makeshift walls for the patio but recognize their convenience for weather changes. While I had no major issues, there was nothing to set this place apart from a normal restaurant, dare I say, even a Cheesecake Factory.

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Food:
There are always faults when you aren’t at a Michelin restaurant but they aren’t significant here. 3/5. The ravioli needed more sauce. They were dry and the spinach filling did not compensate for the somewhat dry pasta. Still, they had flavor. The pizza was a true delight to eat. It hit every flavor profile. Salty cheeses with acidic tones from balsamic that were tied together nicely on a well made crust. The structural integrity was questionable, but this is pizza from Naples and not New York so that can’t be taken into consideration. The fried calamari was well cooked but the sauces were a necessity because the breading was not seasoned.

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Pricing:
Let’s just say they could have easily charged us more and while the portions were not massive, the food quality made it a good value. 4/5. It’s downtown Culver City, it’s a prime location, and it’s a specialty. Authentic Naples style pizza is not a common dish around here, especially with an 1000 degree oven and serving it uncut. We were more than happy to pay the price on the bill and tip accordingly.

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We were glad that we stopped by Cafe Ugo that night. It was enjoyable, we were relaxed, well fed, and left happy. We recommend it to groups of 2, 4, or 6 that are passing by or in the area. It might even be worth a little drive in non-peak hours. We’ll be back if we’re in the area and we’ll bring some family next time. And as always, stay hungry and fit!

Easy Cheesy Whole-Wheat Vegetarian Lasagna

The weather is getting colder (I actually saw little baby snowflakes today!) and the body wants warm food. What better to have on a cold night than a steaming plate of lasagna. Great comfort food with plenty of nutrients. This one has less fat than the average lasagna because you aren’t using ricotta. AND it’s whole-wheat! Can’t beat that. I got the recipe from here and then adapted it. Alright, let’s get to it.

Proved to be a wonderful dinner

Proved to be a wonderful dinner

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50-70 minutes 

Ingredients

  • 8 oz box whole-wheat lasagna 
  • 9 oz frozen spinach
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup powdered Parmesan 
  • 3 cups low-fat cottage cheese
  • a few fistfuls shredded mozzarella
  • 2 cups red sauce of your choosing

Directions

  • Cook your whole-wheat lasagna until it is just al dente
  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees F
  • Grease up a glass baking dish
  • In a bowl, mix the eggs, cottage cheese, and Parmesan cheese
Cheeeeeesayyyyy

Cheeeeeesayyyyy

  • Alright, now it’s time to layer this puppy up! Start by laying down the foundation: the first few pieces of lasagna so it covers the bottom of the baking dish
  • Next comes the spinach. Lay about half the spinach that you have on top of the noodles, somewhat evenly.

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  • Place another layer of lasagna noodle. Then pour all of the cheese mixture on top of that

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  • Then put a little bit more spinach on top of the cheese mixture. And then another layer of lasagna noodle!
  • We’re almost there, guys! Now spread the top of the noodles with your tomato sauce and then sprinkle the mozzarella on top.

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  • Now it’s ready to bake! Put it in the oven for between 50 to 70 minutes. Mine took around 60. A good way to tell if it’s done is when the cheese on top is slightly browned. Another way to tell if it’s cooked all the way through is to stick a knife through the bottom and count to ten. If the knife is hot, then you’re good to go!
Chris' protein shake behind it...

Chris’ protein shake behind it…

This was a wonderful dinner. Perfect with salad or some kind of greenery–and don’t forget the red wine! It doesn’t leave you feeling too heavy since it’s a bit less fat than the normal lasagna. And we had leftovers for like 2-3 days! I’m always happy because it means packing lunches are easy! Use this recipe to stay hungry and fit!

Bon appetite!

Bon appetite!

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