Italian Love in L.A

I was thinking of the small package of pata negra.

In order of prestige, the ranking goes something like this:

  • Jamón serrano
  • Jamón Ibérico
  • Jamón Ibérico de bellota
  • Jamón Pata Negra

There is reportedly a fair amount of fraudulent labeling, but I think Costco is pretty trustworthy.


Not totally accurate.

The highest grade classification is now jamón ibérico de bellota (as of a few years ago). Pata negra, which used to be in the jamon vernacular as “The Best”, is now used as an informal term to denote a purebred Iberian black-hoofed pig.

All jamón ibérico de bellota, by definition, come from black-hoofed purebred Iberian pigs. Furthermore, these specific pigs have been raise in the dehesa, and are only given a natural acorn-based range diet, with no commercial feed.

In any case, if you are looking for the best, don’t stop at just “iberico”. Look for “jamón ibérico de bellota”, black label. Often in Spain, they use “Jabugo” also (Jabugo is a small town renowned for their jamón ibérico de bellota). And Jabugo truly is the best ham on the planet (I know, bold claim). Have fun!

(How we arrived at discussing the nuances of Spanish ham on a thread devoted to Italian love in L.A., I’ll never know…) :smiley:


You will get right in and right out. They recently expanded. Might be a little line to check out, but it won’t be bad.

1 Like

Zingerman’s is less expensive, I almost said cheaper, but its not cheap…

1 Like

That’s because I’m the mod on this one and not a very strict disciplinarian. I like to keep it a little more fluid. :slightly_smiling_face:

BUT! To bring it back to Italian Love. I was just told for the 99th time when asking to go somewhere. “You can’t go to blank until you go to Italy.” I called homie’s bluff. I’m planning the trip to Rome in the spring… probably a hop over to Ibericoland. :blush:


If you want to go to Spain as well, I’d fly there from the US and then Rome. Flying out of FCO has a good chance of adding hours to the already long trip home.

yea, @TheCookie don’t get a whole let. Just get some with other things like their canned seafoods from our local purveyor


I was kidding. I don’t have enough peeps to eat a whole leg. Baby steps. That site look…:drooling_face:

And while we’re mentioning wholesale-ish prices for charcuterie (and since we’re on an Italian food thread) we might as well bring up Guidi Marcello.

I haven’t bought any kind of ham there to my memory but they must have some and their other charcuterie is very competitively priced

1 Like

A paleta (shoulder), though is quite manageable, AND I find it often is less fatty than the rump, while still retaining all that great taste.

1 Like

Bay Cities also sells pre-cut packets of the Cinco Jotas good stuff, FYI.


the owner’s of bay cities are actually Basque hence the good selection of Spanish stuff


Pata negra?

I know I posted this already, but hey…

Excellent lunch at Cento Pasta Bar in DTLA.

House Red or White Wine
We had red. It tasted like a cabernet or blend - fruit, tannins, hint of cinnamon, nice compliment to the bolognese.

Bread, Burrata, Olive Oil, Crunchy Salt
Chef Avner served the bread with a “Tear it with your fingers. The knife is for the cheese.” Yes, Chef. @Bookwich described it best ”Crusty and light and chewy. A beautiful example of a baguette. It was served on a pool of fruity olive oil, with a sprinkle of finishing salt on the milky, delicate, superb burrata. Excellent sourcing of ingredients.” Indeed.

Gnocchi Bolognese
Excellent! light, not dense, flour gnocchi, cooked fresh & served hot with the perfect amount of luscious beef gravy. I topped it with a small dollop of the light, creamy burrata. This dish was my first Best Bite of 2020. :heart:

Gnocchi, Sausage, Swiss Chard & Fennel
I’m not a fennel lover, but this dish was so good. My cousin took one bite, her eyes rolled-up and she said “This reminds me of Italy”. :heart:

Beet Spaghetti, Goat Cheese, Poppy Seeds, Chives
Such a pretty dish, described by another diner as very good if you like beets. I do, just maybe not sweet pasta. I only had a bite and can’t completely assess. My vegetarian sister loved it. :slightly_smiling_face: I would like to try it again.

We weren’t sure what to expect when we walked in. It was moody & kinda’ dark, with boxes of wine piled up against the walls, eclectic art, a bit shambly, definitely not gussied up. A few downtown denizens quietly eating and a loud potty-mouthed rapper on the sound system, later replaced by The Weekend . No menus, just Chef Avner informing us of the days offerings. He was distracted and gruff when we arrived and I thought “Uh oh… I got us into this”. But I trust FTCers and had faith the food would save the day. It did. While sipping wine and watching him cook it all made sense and the surroundings became Cento Pasta Bar’s charm.

We were the last customers of the day. Chef was cool and he loosened up and even came outside to chat with us while we waited for a Lyft back to the hospital. It was kind of a rollercoaster day and the meal, the conversation and unpretentious setting was just the salve we needed.

Happy Lunchtime Pasta Eating!


I went the other week and I have to say, the pasta I had was incredible.
Best i’ve had in LA easily, and I’ve been to all of “the best” spots.
Avner is the messiah.

1 Like

Which pasta did you get?

Also what did you end up doing on 2/14

The Beet Spaghetti is Cento’s signature pasta! It’s pretty awesome and unique. A must get! Like you can’t go to Bestia and not get the Bone Marrow Pasta or the Bolognese at Pasta Sisters


I got the beet spaghetti, Cacio pepe, and a spicy red sauce gnochi. All were seriously excellent.

And for the vday I ended up at Marvin… it was a good time

1 Like

Owner behaved?

I feel bloated just looking at your meal with all those carbs. I do miss pasta the most though since going keto.

Edit: lol I just realized I replied to an old post