La Parolaccia: You Won’t Use Bad Language Describing The Food!
2010-01-25 · By Chandra Clewley
Le parolacce was probably invented by the Italians, much like the Ferrari and the paparazzi. Since its inception, the word, which translates into “curse word” or “off-color word,” has become the main driving force in why we want to learn a different language in the first place. (Everyone wants to know how to say something crass in a different language. Why do you really think Lady Marmalade was such a hit song, not only in the 1970’s but during the turn of the century as well?)
It would make sense then that La Parolaccia Osteria Italiana, a true Italian café on Broadway would be named after those naughty words or “bad language” since that is what these types of small cafes inspired and thus were called for slang in good old Italy.
With no phone, television or Internet, and little means of communication besides these small gathering places, there is no doubt much gossip, debauchery and “bad language” took place in the local establishments. I imagine the more wine, the more inspired the language would become. On a side note, there are three main levels of Italian eateries, the casual local osteria, the more refined trattoria and the most formal ristorante.
We chose to eat at La Parolaccia on a Friday night around 6:30 p.m. and boy, was it crowded. I was touched by the fact that there were Italian’s running the restaurant. There was a big party ahead of us, so we waited in the “bar” area for lack of a better word, for about a half an hour. The bar is three high seats and a tiny bar. I am still torn on whether this adds to the charm of a casual Italian, or whether the middle room of the three room establishment would be better utilized as a larger bar area. I was struck by the Ferrari posters on the wall, La Parolaccia is definitely casual.
As we waited, full plates of steaming food would walk by us in the arms of the waiters and waitresses and it all looked incredible. It was nice to see a strong DOCG Chianti Classico and a Prosecco on their wine list. We were seated in the room with the Poisitano photo on the wall and a vintage Vespa in the corner. La Parolaccia really is a hodge-podge with random collected posters, and things that have accumulated over the years, I imagine. It started to become a game for me, as we waited for the food. Extra points if you can find the Capotoline Wolf and the Augustus Cesar bust.
We ordered the Insalata di Spinaci with fresh spinach, artichoke hearts and pine nuts which was your typical Italian salad; the Penne Cinqueterre: tube pasta, basil pesto, goat cheese and sun dried tomatoes; Lasagna Ferrarese: classic lasagna with meat sauce, ricotta cheese, tomato sauce, baked in the word burning stove that was in the same room with us; and the Reggiana Pizze: tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, porcini mushrooms and Italian prosciutto.
I wanted to try their house wines, since the white was trebbiano and the red was montepulciano. It isn’t often you find a restaurant that has house wine that is of the same origin as the restaurant in California, where it is just too easy to serve Lodi or something local. The food definitely impressed our group.
The tomato tapenade you get with the crusty bread that comes out first was delicious, the wood-fired lasagna was chewy and thick, the pesto came out with the goat cheese cold and it slowly melted as we ate.
Above all, the wood-fired pizza impressed us the most. It was absolutely delicious, and this is coming from someone who is not a fan of cooked prosciutto which, if cooked improperly, becomes chewy and stringy.
For dessert, we ordered the tiramisu, which took awhile to come out — though it might be because the party of 20 in the other room was being served at that moment in time — but was delicious.
The service at La Parolaccia is pleasant, and the family atmosphere was welcome after being over-exposed to “fancy” Italians that promise bold and end up flaccid.
La Parolaccia Osteria Italiana is located at 2945 E. Broadway, Long Beach 90803. There is also a location in Claremont. For more information visit their website: http://www.laparolacciausa.com/