Veggie Secrets of Pedro

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By Gretchen Williams, Dining and Cuisine Writer

San Pedro eateries have veggie secrets, delicious dishes hidden in the menu, created to delight the vegetarian and omnivoree alike.

The Whale &  Ale Pub is well known for beef and lamb, and yet their vegetable curry is a spectacular dish seasoned to perfection.

You can have it spicy if you like, served with basmati rice and Major Grey’s chutney.  The portobello mushroom burger is amazing, with all the customary burger trimmings and the best English chips.  The Whale & Ale’s signature salad with bleu cheese, walnuts and mushrooms, dressed with The Whale & Ale house dressing is always wonderful.

Nazalie’s on Pacific and 20th is a splendid answer to the veggie question — the tabbouli is terrific, full of fresh parsley, tomatoes and the traditional bulgur wheat.  The falafel is also a classic, with great texture, crunchy and savory with excellent garlic sauce and homemade pickled turnips for accent.  Nazalie’s is a San Pedro favorite.

The Chori Man is known for chorizo but his special secret is the soyrizo chile relleno burrito — full of flavor, fabulous salsas.  The Chori Man is becoming a destination for hipsters from Los Angeles but San Pedro is getting hip to this great little place on Alma Street.

Sirinat Thai has many vegetable entrees, noodles and rice dishes packed with goodness.  The garlic eggplant is splendid, served with brown rice if you like.

The green papaya salad is the secret of the menu, crisp and brimming with fresh vegetables — order it without the shrimp for a real veggie experience.  The sauce is bright with citrus and spices.

Women of Ischia

“All you see, I owe to pasta,” Sophia Loren once said.

Carmela DiMeglio Zuanich was a vision, the beautiful manifestation of Italian womanhood, her nip waist and full skirted frock embroidered with blossoms. It was as though the legendary Italian actress herself had come to San Pedro on March 14.

Stunning notes of opera rang in the rafters of Michael’s Tuscany Room as over 230 women, from infancy to 93, celebrated the history of their heritage.  The Women of Ischia was organized by Carmela Zuanich to bring women together, countering a similar dinner organized by the men each year.

Bruscetta, pasta and red wine brought the women together, and the pleasures of the table were shared, as well as the stories of the families brought from the Old Country. Many tales of hardship and sacrifice were told, daughters and granddaughters recounting the stories of their Ischian forebears.  Several women remembered the families made from “Ischian kids” and the “Pedro kids,” born before and after the trip to America.  “They loved Ischia, and yet they left, because they loved us more” said a granddaughter of Ischia.

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