Fat City! On Sunday you'll find it in Mitchellvlle, Md., where the Villa Rosa's 20th annual Festival Italiano will be in full swing.
It's an opportunity to work your way through Italian sausages, rigatoni, roast pork, grilled chickens, pizza, but only if you save room for the festival's pasticceria (pastry stand).
Chairman of the stand is Anita Sergreti, who not only teaches Italian cooking but whose husband had one of the area's first good Italian pizza parlors, Mario's on River Road in Bethesda.
The pastry stand will offer a regional array: cenci (lover's knots) from Tuscany, thin, crisply fried dough dipped in honey; Neopolitan struffali and pasti di granno , a latter being a traditional Easter pie filled with ricotta, raisins, whole-boiled wheat grains and spices; from Calabria, a small tart with an almond chocolate filling called bucconotti ; from Puglia, a braided cookie, taralle, and almond biscuits from Saspiri.
Think of it! Indulging your sweet tooth for a good cause -- the Villa Rosa Nursing Home.
The festival is on the grounds of the Villa Rosa at 3800 Lottsford Road; admission is free; the hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
When the Cantonese chefs were in Washington, cooking special Chinese banquets at the Kowloon restaurant, guess who came down to watch and get a few pointers? One of the chefs from the Embassy of the People's Republic of China.
Piles of fresh pasta are inundating Washington. And it's high time. From Capitol Hill to Silver Spring, almost weekly there are announcements of new locations at which to buy fresh pasta.
The Capitol Hill Wine and Cheese Shop is now making its own -- three kinds to start with -- regular, whole wheat and spinach pasta and their own sauces coming soon.
Out in Silver Spring, next to J.C. Penny, Italia has been making eight different kinds of pasta on its own machines, six days a week, not to mention fresh mozzarella cheese every morning. From Italia you can buy spaghetti and fettucine for $1.25 a pound, tortellini, ravioli, angolotti, gnocchi, manicotti, caneloni and lasagna. They also make calzone and pizza rustica, country-style pizza, hot and mild sausages and four sauces for the pasta -- tomato, ragu, pesto and walnut.
According to Arturo Vignola, one of the owners, "everything here is strictly Italian."
Fresh pasta, which is then frozen and shipped down from New York's famous Pasta and Cheese, is being sold to retailers by Mitch Berliner. It's available at Ambrosia in Mazza Gallerie, Neams in Georgetown, Sutlers in Arlington and Charles of Capitol Hill on Wisconsin Avenue.
And speaking of Mitch Berliner, he is now distributing what have to be the best commercially made English muffins in the United States. Wolferman's from Kansas City are the bakers and you haven't tasted an English muffin until you tasted these. There are only four muffins to a package. That's because they are so big and fat they weigh almost 1/4 pound a piece. Shipped frozen, the muffins are available at Chevy Chase Supermarket, Charles of Capitol Hill, Bradley Food and Beverage, Sutlers, Larimers and Neams. They should retail for $1.39 to $1.49 a package.
If, as I did not long ago, you find yourself on K Street near Le Sorbet and in need of a carryout lunch, don't go in after 2:30. Unless you want to pay eat-in prices for eat-out food.
There is a small sign posted at Le Sobet's carryout counter which says after 2:30 you can order carryout at the bar. And if you ask someone behind the carryout counter who is counting the cash register, you will get the same information. But that is all they tell you.
Only after you order the food and give the manager at the bar the money do you find out that a $2.25 carryout tuna sandwich is costing you $3.15, the same price you would pay if you sat down at a table, were served water, silverware and a napkin.
If you inform the manager that such an undisclosed charge is outrageous, he will tell you the owner has told him to charge that.
For the additional 90 cents you think they might at least have put one napkin in the paper bag.
One Olmpics event that has not faced a U.S. boycott takes place in October in Frankfurt, Germany. As a matter of fact the United States is sending a 14-member team. Chefs from all over the United States, including one woman (a first) will compete in the International Culinary Competition with chefs from 20 other countries.
Selection of the American chefs by the American Culinary Federation, from among its 10,000 members was based on regional competitions and past accomplishments.
The teams will be required to prepare both hot and cold foods. A dinner, featuring the team's hot entrees, will be served to members of the Washington Chapter of the Confrerie de la Chaine des Rotisseurs and the International Food & Wine Society this Sunday at the L'Enfant Plaza Hotel.
Kaft Foodservice, the people who bring ou macaroni and cheese dinners, is the sole sponsor for the American team.
And speaking of chefs, the 23-year-old chef who prepares meals for the First Family, in addition to assisting at official White House functions, has won an award.
Frank Ruta, a native of McKeesport, Pa., received the DeKuyper '80s Award for Epicurean Excellence. Sponsored by the De Kuyper liqueur company, the award is given to "talented young people in the world of food and drink."
Two more awards in the offering. This time for service to the public. On Sept. 23 the National Consumer's League will present their annual Trumpeter Awards "for forceful leadership to promote the consumer voice in government decision-making" to Averell Harriman and poshumously to the late President Johnson. According to the League "Governor Harriman and President Johnson appointed the first state and national consumer representatives in government."
Lady Bird Johnson will accept the award for her late husband. Harriman will be on hand to accept his award at a 6 to 9 reception at the Corcoran Gallery.
There is a new product on the market for people who like to use soy sauce but find the traditional varieties too salty. Kikkoman has introduced a low sodium soy sauce. Instead of containing 14.9 percent salt, the new version has 8.8 percent.It's still a lot of salt, but a great improvement and the difference really isn't noticeable in cooking.
Within the last few weeks two more PLUS stores have opened in the Washington area. A subsidiary of A&P, the stores offer substantial savings on a limited number of grocery items. The new PLUS stores are located on Southern Avenue in Oxon Hill, Md., and Leesburg Pike in Falls Church. That brings to 10 the number of PLUS stores in the metropolitian area.
Recently a third Basics store, a sub sidary of Grand Union, opened its doors in Laurel. Basics is a warehouse store, offering substantial savings on the full range of supermarket items but with a limited assortment of brands and sizes.
The Columbia Road farmer's market has expanded its hours of operation. Now in addition to operating on Saturdays at the corner of Columbia Road and 18th Street, it will be open Wednesdays from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. In addition to fruits and vegetables they are selling fish.