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Eats: Restaurant Reviews and News | In the Mood

Squash Blossoms

July 16, 1998

The big, delicate, bright orange zucchini blossom also happens to be edible--delicious, in fact. Sauteed, fried, stewed in soups, the blossoms add color and the mildest squash-like flavor to any number of dishes.

* Border Grill: Look here for squash blossom soup and a quesadilla made with the flowers and earthy black huitlacoche, a rare and delicious fungus that grows on corn. (Squash blossom soup, $6; quesadilla, $9.) Border Grill, 1445 4th St., Santa Monica, (310) 451-1655.

* La Serenata de Garibaldi: The new Santa Monica branch of the ever-popular Boyle Heights Mexican restaurant offers a special of grilled scallops in a colorful squash blossom sauce. (Scallops with squash blossoms, $17.95.) La Serenata de Garibaldi, 1416 4th St., Santa Monica, (310) 656-7017.

* Guelaguetza: Try the Oaxacan empanada, a thick, chewy tortilla folded over fresh, melting white cheese with sauteed squash blossoms. (Squash blossom empanada, $3.50.) Guelaguetza, 3337 1/2 W. 8th St., Los Angeles (213) 427-0601; 11127 Palms Blvd. Palms, (310) 837-8600.

* L'Arancino: Chef Craig D'Alessandro makes a special risotto with squash blossoms and their teeny attached zucchini. He also sautees the blossoms with cherry tomatoes and puts them in a light broth with sage under a wedge of roasted Chilean sea bass. (Squash blossom risotto, $12.50; sea bass, $21.) L'Arancino, 8908 Beverly Blvd., West Hollywood, (310) 858-5777.

* LA Trattoria/Antica Pizzeria: Try fiori di zucchini ripieni--zucchini blossoms stuffed with prosciutto, mozzarella and ricotta, then lightly battered and fried. Served with a marinara sauce for dipping. (Squash blossoms, $5.75.) L.A. Trattoria/Antica Pizzeria, 8022 W. 3rd St., Los Angeles, (213) 658-7607; 13455 Maxell Ave., Marina del Rey, (310) 577-8182.

* Monte Alban: This Oaxacan cafe serves an empanada con queso fresco, sauteed baby zucchini and sauteed squash blossoms with mocajete salsa, a sauce made of tomatoes, garlic and jalapenos. (Empanada, $3.95.) Monte Alban, 11927 Santa Monica Blvd., West Los Angeles, (310) 444-7736.

* Valentino: For years, customers would start their meals here with a crisp, golden-fried zucchini blossom stuffed with Gorgonzola and mascarpone; it's still available on request. But these days, look for specials featuring sauteed baby zucchini with their attached blossoms stuffed with lobster and shellfish pastela (mousse) or pureed prosciutto. (Stuffed squash blossom, priced seasonally.) Valentino, 3115 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica, (310) 829-4313.

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