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Cafe 322 - Dinner and a Show

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Remember the good old days, when Italian restaurants had opera-singing waiters? Mario and Larry Lalli grew up in the good old days, in one such restaurant. Mario and Larry’s family has been in the restaurant business for over 50 years. The two cousins have continued the tradition begun by their fathers, previously with a pizzeria in Palm Springs, and now with Café 322 in Sierra Madre. Larry tears it up in the kitchen while Mario is master of the bar, where he mixes up his own specialties like the Italian Surfer and an espresso martini that weirdly tastes exactly like an espresso.

Cafe 322 is simple enough to find, Sierra Madre is really a one-horse town and that horse canters down Sierra Madre Boulevard. The address? 322 of course. Do not fear getting lost if you venture a little bit East of the Disney Bridge. And if you happen to have a gig at the Buccaneer, you are in luck - because Café 322 is right on the way. Mario might even come watch your band play after they close up.

The kitchen bakes everything fresh daily. The diamond-cut focaccia is unlike any you have ever tried before. The perfect sponge, combined with a crusty bit of salt on the top, make it impossible to keep your hands out of the bread basket. Cruets on the table ingeniously and whimsically contain the balsamic vinegar in a little glass bunch of grapes that hang suspended inside the olive oil. The balsamic and olive oil are of the highest quality, so they are the perfect accompaniment for the focaccia.