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Earth, Wind & Flour: Italian Home Cooking for Twenty-Five Years:

Marinara, lasagna and primavera exemplify Italian home cooking, and Earth Wind & Flour on Wilshire presents them and more with a traditional flare fused with some subtle variations on a theme to add their own tone to the music of the dishes.

The décor is earthy, the sawdust on the floor authentic and the playing cards on the ceiling are, er, interesting. With a menu that offers no surprises and all the mamma mia favorites, it was a straightforward matter of simply scanning the list and landing on a choice.

I settled on the vegetarian lasagna, (garden fresh vegetables layered with four types of cheese between noodles topped with marinara sauce, $8.49) while my dining partner opted for the chicken piccata, (breaded chicken breast topped with pasta and fresh vegetables, $12.99)

For an extra three bucks we opted for the added salad and could choose either the house or Caesar; I stayed in the house while my friend went Roman on me and chose the Caesar.

The house salad is rather standard, containing lettuce, tomato and cheese with a choice of dressing that, thankfully, is served on the side. Both salads were well presented with generous portions. Fresh ingredients and a tasty Thousand Island dressing made it a satisfying start to the ceremony.

The vegetarian lasagna is a very traditional recipe served piping hot in an oval ceramic panakin with a liberal serving of cheese, crunchy vegetables and nicely cooked pasta. The vegetables included spinach and carrots, but the party in power here was definitely the broccoli. I would liked to have seen a more balanced team of veggies and a little more pasta, however the marinara was good and the cheese tasty.

The chicken piccata is anything but traditional given that the usual mainstay of this recipe is a lemon caper sauce. Earth, Wind & Flour, however, uses a large breaded chicken breast topped with pasta, and a fresh veggie medley. My friend commented that the chicken was tasty and the veggies good, but she did miss the lemon caper sauce, so if you are a purist, it would be prudent to check the style and ingredients with the server prior to ordering.

All in all, we enjoyed our visit to Earth, Wind & Flour, and it is refreshing to note that they also offer complimentary valet parking. So, with very good service, a full bar for those wishing to imbibe and a relaxed Italian family dining experience at a budget price, I consider this to be a fun and easygoing dining option, perfect for an early evening family dinner or a relaxed chat with a friend over an unhurried meal.

Earth, Wind & Flour, 2222 Wilshire Blvd., 310.829.7829

Editor’s Note:

Though this editor hasn’t been to Earth, Wind & Flour in at least a decade, I still remember their amazing rolls. So delicious, so warm, so worth eating. In fact, I’m sure on more than one occasion I filled up on those rolls instead of the main course.

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