Franco is a find, with its cozy, garden-like dining rooms impossible to discern from its storefront exterior. Located on a trendy strip of Melrose Avenue, the trattoria is a piece of classic Italy right in the center of bustling Hollywood. Everything about the experience is authentic. For starters, guests walk through the kitchen to get to their table, which gives them a chance to say hello to the cooking staff.

Executive Chef/owner Franco De Dominicis, as his name suggests, was raised in Italy. He trained at the Accademia delle Arti Culinarie di Napoli, and went on to apprenticeships in France, Spain, Germany and London. After moving to Los Angeles in the late ‘90s, he served at the executive banquet chef at the Jonathan Club in downtown LA and later as executive chef for the nearby Biltmore Hotel. What this means is that De Dominicis brings decades of catering experience to his intimate 4-year-old restaurant. Franco’s has a capacity of 90, and both the canopied indoor space and the outdoor terrace are available for buyout individually or together. The menu features the cuisine De Dominicis grew up with, including house-made pasta (with gluten-free options), pan-seared branzino and roasted chicken breast stuffed with spinach, apricot and plums. Off-site catering is also available.

I’m not used to encountering my fellow writers in the kitchen, but there we all were peeling onions, chopping leeks, zesting limes and pitting dates. The occasion was a Cozymeal cooking class, held in a Hollywood loft, to get the word out about Greater Palm Springs Restaurant Week. The 10-day culinary event kicks off on Friday, May 31, and runs through Sunday, June 9.

 

To the annals of great bakery hybrids like the cronut, duffin and cretzel, add the churro croissant from Los Angeles bakery Pitchoun! A flaky pastry dusted with cinnamon sugar and filled with vanilla custard cream it combines French sophistication with the childlike joys of theme park eats. Originally put on the menu for the month of November, the churro croissant has been extended through January and, perhaps, beyond.