Valentino Ristorante & A Dirty Little Drucker

Let’s start with a restaurant review, shall we? Before gets too weird. And believe me. Weird it will get. (Scroll down if you prefer weird as your main and restaurant review for dessert.)

Valentino is technically SMA (Santa Monica adjacent) but claims to be SM, which may be why they feel molto bene (very good) about charging $28 for a half-assed portion of chicken cacciatore, and $44 for a postage-stamp-sized piece of sea bass.

*Portions not shown actual size.

I know that American restaurants take heat from waif-like smokers (a.k.a. Europeans) and the advocacy group known as Center for Science in the Public Interest (a.k.a. Buzz Killing Food Nazis) for huge portion sizes, and that fine Italian dining involves two or three small courses — primi piatti, secondi piatti, and so on. But it’s a recession. Three a la carte courses are pricey. And a girl has to have a bottle of wine (or two) with dinner, am I right?

Maybe the prices are high because of the INSANELY stocked wine cellar. I’ve never seen a wine list like that. It was a BIBLE. Heavy enough to double as a weapon. Our sommelier was from Sicily and both he and Paolo, our lovely waiter, made up for the slightly sterile dining room and the crazy prices.

Use your noodle.

And the meat ragu on perfectly al dente waves of tagliatelle WAS delicious. My chicken cacciatore — underseasoned, fatty cubes of chicken — probably fell just under the halfway decent line. And SPEAKING of halfway decent, here’s where we get WEIRD.

I have GUILT about posting this — let me make that clear. You may want to avert your eyes and stop reading. But I cannot be the sole mental keeper of this image. I must get it out of my head and pollute yours with it. Thanks to funny blog What Would Tyler Durden Do, I was introduced to Brian Peppers:

Yet it is real. It’s REAL. (Snopes has the yearbook pics to prove it.) I know I should feel sorry for him because CLEARLY something in his DNA strand went HORRIBLY awry, and his appearance no doubt contributed to his need to force himself on people, because even a hooker might pause before hitting that.

BUT STILL. I feel dirty. And now, so do you. You’re welcome! Happy Thursday!

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