On a recent Friday evening in December, I offered to take my good friend MEM to the airport for her red-eye flight to the East Coast. In selecting options for our dinner, I was looking for a restaurant near LAX with the thought in mind that we would also visit El Segundo’s Candy Cane Lane to take in some holiday lights. I have been craving Italian food of late, and lucky for us Deluca Trattoria in Downtown El Segundo had reservations available on Open Table for the exact time we wanted! Walking up to the welcoming brick facade, you get a sense of the charm you are about to experience inside. Deluca Trattoria Wine Bar and Patio Lounge Bistro, which is their official name, is situated next to two other popular El Segundo businesses on Richmond Street, the Purple Orchid tiki bar and Second City Bistro.
We took a chance and ordered an appetizer called Acorn Croquettes, though neither of us were sure we had ever tried or even liked acorn squash, but it turned out to be a delicious plate of four mini croquettes set atop a tasty garlic-avocado aioli. And then garlic ended up being the theme of the night as we both ordered pasta dishes full of garlic. MEM got Spaghetti with pesto sauce and pine nuts, and I opted for rigatoni Aglio e Olio style. Big plates that were too much to finish, so both came home with me since MEM had a long flight ahead of her! And then because we both have a sweet tooth, which is one reason why we are such good friends, we ordered the dessert that a neighboring table had been enjoying. It looked wonderful from afar, and was even better in person. The Sicilian Cannoli had chocolate lining the cannoli shell and was then filled with a thick, creamy and tasty mascarpone cheese with candied fruit and chocolate chips. Two nice mounds of homemade cream were on the plate too. But the piece that brought the whole dish together was the generous drizzle of strawberry balsamic over the duo of cannoli. From afar it looked like caramel sauce, but we were pleasantly surprised to discover it was something even better! So by now you may have guessed that I am declaring the Sicilian Cannoli at Deluca Trattoria as my best bite of the week!
By Trish Procetto