This past Monday, a group of third graders from Larchmont Charter West school visited Drago Centro in Downtown, where the kids cooked with chef/restaurateur Celestino Drago and Piccolo Chef instructors in the chic vault dining room demo kitchen, hobnobbed with representatives of the Italian government and trade commissions, sat down to a lovely lunch, and deepened their classroom lessons about the Mediterranean diet. (Read my story and see photos at Squid Ink.) They also brought a tray of gorgeous veggies from their Edible Schoolyard plot. Chef Drago made the job look glamorous and fun but also didn’t mince words about the rigors of becoming a chef. This event was part of the Club EATalian campaign to raise awareness of obesity in the U.S. and promote the benefits of the Mediterranean diet and Italian ingredients, which is organized by the Italian Ministry of Economic Development in association with the Italian Trade Commission and the Italy-America Chamber of Commerce West.
But here’s the exciting part that will turn into a rare case of 5-6:00 p.m. restaurant reservations being the hot ticket around town. In addition to more education programs that include free Piccolo Chef cooking classes focusing on healthy authentic Italian cuisine, the Club EATalian promotion includes FREE meals for kids at six Los Angeles area Italian restaurants starting this weekend, March 26, though April 10. Participating restaurants offering the Healthy Mediterranean prix fixe menu for adults and this deal for children are Angelini Osteria on Beverly, Drago Centro Downtown, Toscanova in Century City, Da Pasquale in Beverly Hills, Il Fornaio’s Beverly Hills and Santa Monica locations (one week only), and Marino Ristorante on Melrose in Hollywood/Hancock Park.
For grown-ups who want to avoid the single digit set in these dining rooms: don’t worry, they’ll be cleared out by 8:00. (Some overlap during happy hour, however, is unavoidable.) More menu details (subject to change) follow after the jump.
Adult Healthy Mediterranean menu: $25 lunch, $35 dinner. Kids menu: First course choice of pizza Margherita, ravioli stuffed with Swiss chard and ricotta, or grilled chicken breast. Gelato dessert.
Adult lunch/dinner menu $36 per person. Kids menu: First course tomato mozzarella pizza, rigatoni with meat sauce or roasted chicken breast with mushrooms. Gelato dessert.
Adult lunch $26, dinner $30. Kids menu: First course puree of minestrone soup or pizza Margherita. Second course spaghetti with fresh tomato sauce, penne pesto, or chicken breast milanese. Vanilla gelato dessert.
Lunch menu $27.99, dinner $32.99. Kids menu: First course minestrone soup. Second course pasta with roasted veggies or pizza Margherita. Fresh strawberries with vanilla ice cream dessert.
Lunch $30 per, dinner $35. Kids menu: First course minestrone. Second course penne with tomato sauce or mini pizza with fresh mozzarella and tomatoes. Sorbet dessert.
Adult lunch/dinner $34. Kids menu: First course pizza Margherita. Second course penne al pesto or fusilli with tomato sauce. Third course grilled chicken paillard with roasted potatoes or grilled sole fillet with steamed veggies. Assorted ice creams dessert.