March 9 there was an Olympic reception to honor Evan Lysacek, the men’s figure skating champion, at the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo. I found myself there, and afterwards Alejo’s came to mind.
Alejo’s is an Italian restaurant just past LAX in Westchester. I first heard about Alejo’s from a cousin. She told me they had the best bread and dipping sauce of minced garlic in olive oil. I was sold on that alone. Well, that and the family recommendation. I eventually made my way to Alejo’s maybe a year and a half or two years ago for the first time. I was really intent on trying their pink sauce, as I’d heard it was really good. I also, however, wanted meat sauce. I asked for pink sauce with meat in it. I was easily accommodated. I added a little of the garlic and olive oil mixture to my pasta which easily enhanced the dish – surprise, surprise, I like extra garlic. The second time I found myself at Alejo’s was last spring. It was a nice occasion indeed – a family dinner. I’m not entirely sure what prompted it, but we ended up with a good-sized table. I love few things more than sitting around a table sharing a meal with people I love. Not like I talk about that a lot or anything. So especially after that meal, Alejo’s has conjured up a familial connection for me.
Since Alejo’s is near El Segundo and the airport, which isn’t exactly what you would call “close” to me (although comfortably close enough when traveling), I thought I should take advantage of its proximity and order some take-out. Apparently, the Olympics inspire to-go orders in my world.
Anyway, back to the story. When I walked into Alejo’s that night I felt calm and comfortable and it came off as quintessentially “L.A.” in there (beachside neighborhood vibe included). I loved it. I felt kind of like I was home. See, all that backstory was leading up to something. ;) I walked up to the bar/counter and tried to explain the pink sauce/meat sauce spaghetti I desired. I got a strange look from the lady taking my order and she wanted to make very sure that I had ordered this before because it’s not on the menu and, apparently, other people had asked for it and then not liked it. I assured her I knew what I was getting into. I happily sat at the bar taking in the atmosphere and waiting for my order. After a few minutes had passed the telephone rang and the woman answered. She was taking another take-out order. I heard her ask the person on the line if they had it before and if they were sure that’s what they wanted because some people will order it and not like it. I smiled to myself and wondered if they had ordered the same thing as me. Once she hung up the phone she looked at me, smiling. She said the person on the phone had just ordered the same thing as me and commented it was funny because it’s not an order they receive often. Laughing, she said, “That wasn’t your boyfriend, was it?” Amused, I said no, but was intrigued as to who this “Mystery Pink Sauce Man” was. My order was ready before he came in, so I never got to see him – he remains a mystery.
And now without further adieu, I give you Alejo’s off-the-menu pink meat sauce. One order lasted me about 5 meals. The bread, however, didn’t last that long.