Lidia Bastianich and her daughter, Tanya Manuali, have come out with their eighth cookbook, “Lidia’s Celebrate Like an Italian.”
According to the never-wrong-about-anything Internet (slogan: enabling hearsay since the 1990s!) it was either Kate Moss or maybe Steven Tyler who first said "Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels."
Given that the source of this insight is either the princess of heroin chic and/or one half of the Toxic Twins, and that it's unlikely that either of them have ever absorbed every triglyceride of a Shipwreck Burger at Winghart's after a night out, their opinion is null and void on the whole skinny issue.
Because from skinny jeans to Skinny Cow ice cream I'm skeptical of the Skinny Industrial Complex. Plus, the prevailing conventional culinary wisdom says that you should never trust a skinny chef. But can you trust a Skinny Pete?
Opened in the tiny Avalon business district in February by a pair of female friends, Skinny Pete's Kitchen is named for an actual guy, the husband of one of the co-owners. I'm told that the real Skinny Pete is of ordinary stature, although Average Build Pete's doesn't have quite the same ring.
Speaking of bad restaurant names, Skinny Pete's occupies the long-vacant home of the former Sarajevo Family Restaurant, which, strictly from a marketing standpoint maybe needed another decade to pass before a menu of shrapnel and despair didn't immediately come to mind.
But back to Skinny Pete's. This is a bright little spot, with a stick-figure logo. Its walls are adorned with cheery, colorful animal paintings. It features a full breakfast menu; salads, sandwiches, pizzas and flatbreads for lunch; and beginning this week, they're making a soft entry into dinner features, and you can BYOB.
This paunchy Munch and a pencil-necked co-worker did our best to get as un-skinny as possible, gorging down a huge lunch at the place on a rainy Friday afternoon.
Starting with a cup of BBQ Bacon Chowder ($2.50) -- an excellently salty and sweet soup made with hints of bourbon, maple syrup, basil and cajun seasoning -- and ending with takeaway chocolate chip cookies and La Prima coffee on the drive home, we did not stop eating the entire time we were there.
We split the Goat Cheese flatbread comprised of fresh tomatoes, red pepper, red onion, goat cheese, an olive tapenade and fresh herbs and the Roasted Veggie pizza to start (both $10). The ingredients were fresh, the tasty dough house-made and cooked in a wood fired oven.
As a sucker for macaroni on any menu, the Stack Your Mac ($7) was an easy choice. Cavatappi noodles tossed in a creamy cheddar cheese sauce with a choice of three toppings -- I went with mushroom, roasted garlic and roasted red pepper, then added bacon ($2 extra, worth every penny) -- this was a delicious dish.
My co-worker had the No Embargo on this Cuban ($7), a fine interpretation of a classic: seasoned roasted pork, melted Swiss, pickles and mustard on a pressed baguette.
I took home a sandwich of my own, the Evil Mr. Pork Chop, which must be named for a real swine, as it's made of ham, roasted pork, bacon, lettuce, tomato, sweet BBQ, and a horseradish cheddar cheese on ciabatta ($9). It proved to be a good afternoon snack a few hours later at my desk.
Needless to say there was not much skinny about our visit to Skinny Pete's, but that's OK -- being skinny is occasionally overrated.
Skinny Pete's Kitchen is at 538 California Ave., Avalon. Call 412-415-0338 or visit skinnypetes.com.
Dan Gigler: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1884. Want to be an FOM? Friend Munch von Munchausen on Facebook or follow @PGMunch.