I spent a lot of time binge watching shows on Netflix this summer. One of my favorite shows is Chef's Table. If you've seen the trailers or is a fan, you know why it's so enjoyable. The chefs are extremely passionate about their food, the quality and sourcing, and are super creative in re-inventing familiar dishes. Furthermore, many of them have rags to riches stories and/or are involved in philanthropy.
One of the more recently episodes featured Nancy Silverton, an amazing baker + chef based out of LA. She is the genius behind La Brea Bakery and the Mozza-plex (Pizzeria Mozza, Osteria Mozza, and Mozza to go). After watching her episode and doing some research on her restaurants, I just had to go. They are some of the most affordable spots featured on Chef's Table, a splurge that my college budget can support. Furthermore, given her spunky attitude, you know her food has got flare.
Last weekend, we went to Osteria Mozza, an upscale Italian restaurant that used to have a Michelin star until all the Michelin stars left LA. "According to Directeur Général Jean-Luc Naret, Michelin Guide chose not to publish a guide on Los Angeles restaurants because Angelenos 'prefer to select the restaurant not based on the number of Michelin stars, but based on the number of stars who go to the restaurant.'" (NBC). To be fair, if you really wanted to catch a model-esque celebrity, you would go to the new juice bar with all the superfoods for detox, not an Italian restaurant.
If you go to Osteria Mozza on a Friday or Saturday, you would need to reserve roughly a month in advance. Reservations for Sunday through Thursday can be made just a week or two in advance. Insider tip from our waiter: Nancy works Tuesdays through Saturday at the mozzarella bar if you want to catch her in action.
Our meal begin with a complimentary amuse-bouche from the chef that had burricotta and olive tapenade. Our appetizers followed with Burricotta with braised artichokes, pine nuts, currants and mint pesto, and Smoked Mozzarella di Bufala with Porscuitto di Parma.
For primi, we got Orecchiette with sausage and Swiss chard and Calf's Brain Ravioli with burro e limone.
Finally, we ended with desserts of Cioccolato (bittersweet chocolate cake with Perugian chocolates), Strawberry Crespelle (sauteed Albion strawberries with spiced almonds), and Honey Baked Peach (hazelnut cake, poached blueberries, sweet corn gelato).
It was the most sublime dining experience of my life. Next up: Pizzeria Mozza.
SURF, short for Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship, is a quintessential experience for any Caltech student. It is a widely accessible research fellowship for Caltech students that funds your proposed research for one summer term. While many of my classmates did their first SURF the summer after their freshman year, I sent in my first application to the program as a sophomore. As a CS major, I was trying to chase meaningful work that intersected computation with the field of neuroscience. I ended up doing a SURF at the Stanford School of Medicine that first year, studying hand gestures in children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Since then, I’ve been working in the research space of applying computational analyses to ASD.
This summer, from the confines of my Brooklyn apartment, you could find me typing away on a tiny 13-inch laptop screen. At times I was looking for answers on countless Stack Exchange pages, editing a Jupyter notebook, or making blood flow measurements on a software called Arterys. This was my 2021 Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURF) experience.
Almost a year ago now, I was just about to start my first Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) at JPL. NASA had sent out an email to all of their summer interns containing a social media template to announce that we had been selected as NASA interns. Excited to show my NASA pride, I posted it on my Instagram story, unaware of what would come out of this small action.
Hey hey! We’re starting a series where I walk you through my best finds for food and drinks in the Pasadena region, and in the LA metropolitan area. Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, if you will (although, for copyright reasons we can’t call it that). As you explore your college options, I firmly believe that food and location are more important than your high school guidance counselor may lead you to believe. And I’m here to share my best finds from my time at Caltech with you.