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By Steven Li on 2006-01-29

January 29, 2006

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On our “road trip” to Venice, my friend and I stopped by a local breakfast/Italian dinner spot. We took the crowded of locals inside and on the patio as a good sign and put our name down for two. Just yards away from the sand and water, I realized that I’ve lived in Hawaii my whole life and never had brunch “on the beach!”

C&O was crowded with Sunday brunchers around noon. The two of us were quickly seated and presented with a plate of tempting garlic knots. The soft warm knots were just a tad crispy on the outside and simply tossed with a generous hand of melted butter of minced garlic. Famished, we finished the plate in a matter of minutes and were pleased when the plate was cheerfully filled with another half dozen of these addicting bites before we even thought to ask.

Brittney ordered the Sourdough French Toast with Whipped Mascarpone and Fresh Fruit ($6.95) She also added on a side of scrambled eggs and chicken apple sausage. Plain slices of white bread (surely not sourdough!) make for decent toast, nothing to write home about. What attracted me to her dish (and explains why I ate half of it) was the whipped mascarpone. Whipped cream and french toast go well but when you make it whipped mascarpone? Oh man, that’s a whole nother story! Thick yet billowly, the pure white cheese melted ever so slightly with the heat of the toast. A small square of toast with a generous spoonful of mascarpone and a smidgen of honey. Oh dear. Now if only they had used challah…

In an all out, why-not-a-heart-attack mode I had the Eggs Florentina ($12.95) Poached Eggs Sauteed Spinach and thick slices of Nova Salmon Lox were served atop Homemade Foccacia then literally smothered Lemon Basil Hollandaise Sauce. This was a rich rich dish. It tasted like the focaccia was dipped in butter then grilled. Delicious, but a little too much for me. The cool salty salmon contrasted nicely with the mound of sauteed spinach (I swear it was sauteed with an entire stick of butter). The hollandaise sauce was your normal rich bendict accompaniment, by this time all I could taste was butter here and butter there topped with more butter – couldn’t taste the lemon or basil element… I think I’ll ask for hollandaise on the side from now on. Restaurants pour it on so freely that before you’re even a fourth of the way through your meal everything is soaked and soggy with hollandaise. To sum up: the first two bites were good but it all went downhill after that. When there’s too much too rich food, you begin to lose any appreciation you may have had for the dish.
I try my best leave an empty plate at restaurants. Half of it is because I hate to let anything go to waste and the other half is because I don’t want to hurt the chef or cook’s feelings. But this was sooo much food. I could only get through two thirds before I felt like my insides were swimming in a vat of fat. So I got it to go. Probably not the smartest idea considering all the hollandaise sauce in there, but I’ll survive.

Will I come back? Yes. Will I have the Florentine again? Never.
Go for the garlic knots but be wise about ordering. They take the potentially healthy and make it unhealthy and take the unhealthy and add cup of butter. But if you’re seriously hungry and are considering quantity over quality while still demanding good food, then C&O’s your place.

C&O Trattoria
31 Washington Boulevard
Marina Del Rey, CA 90292
(310) 823-9491



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