Some days, finding parking at the Highland Park Whole Foods can be nightmarish--if not completely impossible! Today was one of those days. So as I exited the chaotic scene of mad housewives attempting to maneuver vehicles much too large for them, I came face-to-face with Nonna.
Nonna? That tiny space in the the strip mall by the liquor store? Yes, that's the one.
It was suggested to me a few weeks ago by a vegetarian friend of mine who swore they could make a vegan dish with advance notice. Although I hadn't made prior arrangements, I decided to stop by anyway.
Upon entering the place, I immediately asked to speak with the chef. I explained my dietary needs to him, and without any hesitation, chef Dustin Koerner spouted off a meal he could prepare instantly. The dish: Spaghettini with ramps and Calabrian chile.
Hmm...a pasta dish? Really? But I went for it anyway.
Soon after being seated, the general manager (a vegetarian), visited with me and explained several other potentially vegan dishes. The menu changes daily, but today's other vegan options included a baby beet salad with fuji apples (no cheese), and a cheese-less pizza with fresh herbs. Tempting--but I was satisfied with my glass of Barbera d'Asti and the complimentary dish of olives.
My Spaghettini was out in minutes--and I must say: the dish was flawless! Prepared with house made pasta and a touch of olive oil, the subtle flavors of the ramps and chiles really came through. The pasta itself was light and fluffy, and didn't leave me with that typical bloaty feeling sometimes associated with prepackaged pastas.
My unplanned visit to Nonna was extremely pleasant! My server (Lindsey) was fantastic--friendly, fun, and attentive! And the entire staff made sure my needs were being met. I visited with chef Koerner after my meal, and he enthusiastically spoke of some of the upcoming vegetable dishes this season. Keep an eye out on this place!
4115 Lomo Alto Drive