THAT'S KIIIINDA WHAT I WANT, BUT NOT REALLY. That looks like a pile of clams some fisherman separated from the tires and tin cans in his net and slapped directly on a plate of Top Ramen, although the lone sprig of aging parsley is an admirable effort. I chose this image from the roughly 3,050,000 Google Image results because it was second on the page. But also because those are the size clams I need to satisfy the seafood pasta itch that has seized control of my mind and finances for the last year. And tomatoes. Fat plum tomatoes that explode all over your date when you poke 'em (the tomato, not your date). Basil everywhere - the real shit, straight out the yard. Pieces of garlic. I want it all in a red wine broth - not white wine, not marinara. Nice and runny, and lots of it. I basically want Italian seafood pho.

I want to eat to Frank Sinatra, on a table with a red and white tablecloth at a dimly lit leather booth. I want the waiter wearing a tux that's too tight for him, and I want him to whisper the day's specials into my ear as if he's telling me a secret. I will order with the slightest nod. I want the reddest wine there is. Fuck that. I want black wine. Seafood pasta makes me feel rich, and healthy, and like I might have a revolver under my waistjacket.

Of all the meals I can remember since this obsession set in, Sisley on Pico by Westside Pavilion came closest to giving me the pasta I've seen in cartoons and gangster flicks, absent only the big tomatoes, garlic chunks and the accompanying flavor. Representing Palms, Bamboo's version isn't runny enough and lacks whole tomatoes, but rules nevertheless. Kauai Pasta's clam appetizer had us floating our whole vacation, but without actual pasta I must disqualify. Matteo's on Westwood Blvd. gets high marks for mobster ambience, but its seafood pasta is marinara-based, as was Westwood Novel Cafe's. Michael's Bar & Grill in Burbank gets high marks for the elderly Italian-American waiter who has definitely killed a few men, but their pasta's alfredo. Antonio's on Ventura dumped canned clams on linguine and charged me fifteen bucks.

So my quest continues. Please give me your restaurant recommendations in the comments section, so I can review them for the site. And if you have an Italian grandma who wants to show me a thing or two, I'd be honored to poke her tomatoes.

Westwood Novel Cafe

Michael's Bar & Grill

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