Editorial — It’s time for dessert. The fifth and final installment of Los Angeles Foodie Club is served. The best part of dessert is the gooey sauce that tends to drown whatever lies in its path. Whether it be fudge, caramel, hazelnut, pineapple or a silky ganache, the players in this installment are just as smooth.
Los Angeles Foodie Club: Part Five
Brian Rodriguez: OLIVETTA (European)
Olivetta is the hottest new restaurant in Los Angeles. While primarily Italian, this spot maximizes in portions, and flavors, from all over Europe. The restaurant itself features four distinct dining sections. The jazz-styled bar/lounge resides in the rear. Outfitted with all the alcohol needed and an area for live music. While the main dining area takes center stage, with a glow that embraces the romantic while adding a flutter to the heart with its warm lighting and fun colors. While a reservation may be difficult to obtain, this is one restaurant that is rapidly rising on the ‘cant-miss’ spots in LA.
A player rivaling the rise of Olivetta is Brian Rodriguez. Relatively new to the squad, after arriving from Peñarol last August, Rodriguez has become an instant fan favorite. While he has yet to score, in under ten matches for the club, he has shown what he brings to a given match. Like the dishes at Olivetta, Brian’s game is a fulfilling plateful full of flair, especially when he’s got the ball for a dribble. With Los Angeles starting to open, you’ll likely have a better chance at scoring a seat to Olivetta than one at The Banc. However, when you do visit, keep eyes on No. 17, he’ll be the lightning bolt weaving past defenders.
HC Bob Bradley: MOZZAPLEX (Italian/Pizza)
As it’s name suggests, MozzaPlex isn’t a single restaurant, but a complex for cuisine. Like a modern-day mafioso, LA super-chef, Nancy Silverton, has taken ownership of the corners at Melrose and Highland Avenues. While the main Italian restaurant, Osteria Mozza, was planned first, it was Pizzeria Mozza, that opened first. It was an instant hit in Los Angeles, and only grew anticipation for the restaurant.
Shortly after, she added Mozza2Go, for the needed quick fix, and a third restaurant, Chi Spacca, that catered to carnivores with its magnificent meat selection. This is one of the few places in LA that is still operating, to some extent, during this pandemic. While the LA County native may not be thought of as the best, she is most definitely the most respected chef not just for LA’s food scene, but worldwide. A Netflix series, The Chef’s Table, highlights Nancy during Season 3, and is a must-watch.
This isn’t so much a player-to-restaurant comparison, as it is leader-to-chef comp. Bradley is one of the most respected managers in the MLS. While it would be easy to write-off his success with LAFC due to the incredible talent within the squad, he has more than proven his worth. In 1998 he coached a then expansion, Chicago Fire, to not only a US Open Cup, but an MLS Cup. In Los Angeles, he has played a major role in helping architect a club on a meteoric rise.
After three short years, LAFC has already begun to establish itself as LA’s team. While the Cup trophies have yet to arrive, 2019 brought with it the first trophy in the Supporter’s Shield. After just two games into 2020, it’s hard to tell what exactly the new year will have in store. However, if progress continues, another title is in the near future for the veteran manager.
Carlos Vela: BLUDSO’S (BBQ)
What do you get the person who has it all? Which restaurant gets compared to the player who’s incomparable? Like the beautiful game itself, the attention to BBQ has steadily risen in Los Angeles. With more and more southern comfort locations popping up, a thick slab of meat, drowned in sauce, accompanied by flavorful greens and not-runny Mac-and-Cheese, is no longer a sight rarer than affordable housing throughout the city.
However, even with the recent rise, it’s hard to top the original. Kevin Bludso brought his native Texan style Que, to Los Angeles, settling in Compton. The original location was just a shack, that attracted lines for miles, serving the best Que in the county. Meat slow cooked to perfection, ribs that slithered off the bone, greens that taste like Sunday after church and Mac-and-Cheese to make grandma proud. While the restaurant made a move to a larger location on La Brea, luckily, they deliver. Even in lockdown, you can get the summer started right.
LAFC have provided another example of the original being hard to top. While the talent within this squad is undeniable, it is the first signing that remains King of The Banc. Carlos Vela isn’t just the leader of the team, he is the heartbeat of the city. From the moment his iconic arrival photo was taken, to his record-breaking 2019 campaign, Vela has been the brightest star to go unnoticed within the galaxy that is LA sports stars.
Vela, like Bludso’s, offers the very best at what they do, in the style that is unique to themselves. The recipient of meaty tackles, skill moves with enough flavor to rival any side dish and a player with more sauce than anyone else in the league. Vela is that perfectly cooked, expertly seasoned piece of meat. A match at The Banc rivals a seat at any steakhouse, especially with players like Carlos. Personally, there is nothing better than great BBQ, a summer’s day, and time with loved ones. This summer, it’s looking like watching Carlos Vela, will be on that list, as it should be on yours.
What restaurants would you compare LAFC players to? Leave your comments below. For all things LAFC, food, or to debate silly comparisons, follow me on twitter, @trebtracy.