The small store-front cafe has 10 red checkered vinyl-covered
tables inside and three outside -- perfect in this mild evening
weather. Ordering from the varied menu is challenging but I can never
resist ravioli ($9.60 dinner), the six round pasta pockets stuffed
with seasoned beef.
But first, it's salad or soup. The fresh cut greens have lots of
ripe olives buried in the center under shredded cheese and Carole's
creamy Italian Parmesan and garlic cheese dressing. Even the smallest
items are made fresh.
Soup is minestrone this evening, mildly seasoned with zucchini,
carrots, kidney beans and pieces of chunky tomatoes. My order of
ravioli comes with the best fat Italian sausage -- quite spicy --
which Carole gets from Ingardia Bros. The dish is good and hot,
essential in keeping flavors at their peak.
This is also true of the Veal Parmigiana ($13.45), a deliciously
tender breaded slice of meat served in a small casserole bubbling hot
from the oven. A serving of spaghetti with sauce on the side makes
this a rather heavy entree -- some steamed vegetables would have been
preferable. Toasted garlic bread is also served.
For co-owner and husband Dennis, Carole has created a hot dinner
dish -- Randazzo Chicken (10.95), that's also a favorite with diners.
The split, deboned double breast is tender and thick, lightly
breaded, covered with mozzarella and baked in olive oil and a squeeze
of lemon until it's hot and the cheese melted. Served with a side of
thin chewy spaghetti covered in thick marinara, it's irresistible.
Just relax and enjoy, you can diet tomorrow.
You can't leave without having dessert -- Carole is famous for her
cheesecake (slice $3.50, whole 10", $30), and several weeks ago she
created a new one -- Key Lime ($3.95), with a crumb crust and pale
green custard filling with a tart, citrus flavor that is just great.
If Italian spumoni ice cream ($2.75) is your thing, Carole has big
hunks of fruit, strawberries in a chocolate, lime and vanilla ice
cream. This is the time for husband Dennis' rich full-flavored coffee
($1.95), a 99% Columbian roast with a little vanilla and pinch of
Carole's key ingredient in her 12 year's experience is "keep the
quality up." She says she is not a 'gourmet chef', just a good coo.
And if you came to her house, you'd have the same good sauces and al
* MARY FURR is the Independent restaurant critic. If you have
comments or suggestions, call (562) 493-5062 or e-mail