Posts Tagged ‘italian’

Hello music fans,

Putting my iTunes on shuffle, today’s bringer of melody is Italian gothic rock band Lacuna Coil. The original lineup in 1994 consisted of vocalist Andrea Ferro and bassist/composer Marco Coti Zelati, Raffaele Zagaria on guitars, and Michaelangelo on the drums, with which they released two demos. They originally called themselves Sleep of Right. After some lineup changes that included inviting singer Cristina Scabbia and second guitarist Claudio Leo, in addition to switching out Michaelangelo with drummer Leonardo Forti, the band changed their name to Ethereal in 1997. They came to soon find out that the name ‘Ethereal’ was already taken by a Greek band, so they decided on their current moniker.

Shortly after the release of their self-titled EP, Zagaria, Leo and Forti were replaced by Cristiano Migliore and Cristiano Mozzati and the group went on tour with Moonspell. In 1999, after a second European tour, the band released their first full length album In a Reverie to not great, but adequate reviews. They continued touring and went on to record four more albums. Off of their 2006 release Karmacode came today’s feature on this blog To The Edge. This song is a great example of this band’s vocal dynamic: not quite a call-and-answer, but definitely setting the male and female singers opposite one another. Scabbia sings each verse, while the male voice (Andrea Ferro) accompanies her in the chorus and it creates a powerful harmonic sound. Give it a listen:

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Buca di Beppo is pretty good, if you are with at least two other people. The Thousand Oaks location is huge compared to the fairly small strip mall in which it sits. I always thought the lobby was a bit small compared to the size of the rest of it. The walls are absolutely covered with old photographs and paintings and the tables and chairs are mismatched- all to give the illusion that you are a guest in an Italian person’s home. The bar area is also a bit small, but certainly functional.

The food is tasty, even by a large restaurant chain standard. The marinara and meat sauces are good, if not a little on the sweet side. I prefer the dishes either made without sauce, or with some kind of olive oil base, as they tend to make me feel only slightly less like a gluttonous pig after I have finished gorging myself on all they have to offer. The cheese-garlic bread is, well, amazing. I rarely have room left for dessert, so I don’t feel qualified to comment on those.

The service is hit or miss. With mostly young people working there, this shouldn’t be a tremendous surprise. That being said, the last time I was in there our server was very friendly, attentive and hospitable, especially since it was pretty late on a weeknight. He even comped our birthday cake dessert after it was discovered the frosted name on top was misspelled. Very nice to see they still care about giving every guest a pleasant experience.

Happy Friday everyone,

Today’s ‘Foodie’ comes from a small, nondescript Italian restaurant in Ventura, CA.

While I will concede Ferraro’s Italian Restaurant has nothing on traditional, authentic Italian food, it is pretty good. Parking is a little awkward, as they share a lot with about a dozen other businesses, so get a spot on the curb in front if you can. Very small and hole-in-the-wall-like, the ambiance in here is Spaghetti Co. (another hometown Italian dining staple) meets Sizzler. Dimly lit inside, when the front door opens, light floods in and kind of ruins whatever atmosphere is there. That being said, I don’t go out to eat for the way a place looks (who is with me?) The food is plentiful and quite tasty. Salads are crisp and fresh and their Italian dressing is among the best. Of course, let’s not forget the garlic bread- it’s tremendous.

Although they do not carry the largest drink selection, I noticed on their menu last time I was there that under the ‘Beer’ section, the following was offered: “Domestic:…[immediately followed by]- MicroBrew/Import: Bud, Miller, Peroni, etc…” This prompted me to ask our server what microbrews were available. To this our server scratched her head and told us that in 28 years, she never new they offered a microbrew. She then proceeded to ask me to describe what a microbrew is. I gladly obliged, but was a little confused at why something would be on the menu that isn’t offered. C’est la vie…

I am happy to report that they are more than happy to accommodate any changes you want to make to any item on the menu. I ordered the Chicken Francais, which normally includes lightly battered chicken. I asked if I could get it without batter, to which our server happily agreed. She then asked if I wanted capers, essentially making my dish chicken picatta, which is not included on the menu. While a little salty, it was very good.

Despite little hiccups here and there, this is a great little out-of-the-way Americanized Italian spot. Prices are fair, food is good and I will be back.