When a friend described to me her new favorite low carb dishes at Impasta, a cloud kitchen in Hollywood, I went online to look at his menu. Cloud Kitchens are licensed commercial food production facilities offering chefs rental space. Anywhere from one or two to dozens of restaurants rent space to prepare delivery-optimized menu items. There is a front counter that drivers from various delivery platforms walk up to, show an order on their smartphone and walk out with a bag to be delivered.
Looking at Impasta’s menu, I noticed 8 appealing pasta bowl choices and four different cauliflower pizzas. I ordered three different bowls, one “Impizza”, and one cauliflower rice bowl to pick up and bring home for lunch.
Driving to the cloud kitchen, I parked right out front on and noticed a few delivery people walking past red cones into the Melrose Food Co., and followed them in. I walked up to the counter, and stated my name and Impasta pick up order. Metal racks behind the counter held stapled brown bags with items from Impasta, Fat Sal’s and other eateries. Within minutes Chef Ozzy Juarez from Impasta came out with a pizza box and a bag holding the other items I ordered, all in eco friendly containers.
I learned while talking to Chef Ozzy for a few minutes that his culinary niche is creating favorite pasta dishes with a lot less carbs and gluten. He believes you shouldn’t sacrifice your favorite pasta dishes to eat healthier. Instead of grain pasta, he substitutes with spaghetti squash, zoodles made from zucchini, gnocchi made with cauliflower, shirataki noodles, and hearts of palm. He makes 8 different popular sauces from organically sourced ingredients and adds proteins that include grilled chicken, shrimp and tofu on top. Chef Ozzy graduated Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts-Pasadena, before working in the kitchens of The Ritz Carlton, Sunset Tower Hotel and The Standard Hotel.
This affable chef said that the best way to eat these dishes is immediately, while they are still warm, so I drove to Silver Lake and parked near the grassy park by the water to have an outdoor Impasta picnic.
First I lifted the pizza box lid and discovered an appealing barbecue chicken pizza. Chef Ozzy’s housemade cauliflower crust is thicker than most and pleasantly chewy, instead of soggy like many I have tried. After one bite, I declared it is one of the best cauliflower crusts I have tasted. He tops it with mozzarella cheese, thick, organic grilled chicken strips, red onion, and parsley. This crust is completely gluten and grain free. I enjoyed the first slice so much, that I had a second slice before tasting each of the Impasta bowls. Other pizzas on the menu include a fresh Margharita; a pesto with ricotta cheese pizza; and a white truffle pizza with an egg, sage leaf, truffle oil and shavings.
Twirling the spaghetti squash with a fork, I discovered it has a similar texture to angel hair pasta. It’s tender and chewy, offering a mild and nutty taste. When topped with the tomatoes, burrata and fresh herbs, it’s earthiness is enhanced. Later when I researched spaghetti squash, I learned it’s one of the most common pasta alternatives, and contains only 31 calories, 10 grams of carbs, and 2 grams of fiber per cup. Spaghetti Squash also offers calcium, potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus. It’s ideal for gluten-free, soy-free and vegan diets.
Since I love gnocchi, I was eager to try the cauliflower gnocchi pesto bowl. On the side was a container of ricotta cheese to add if desired. In Italian, pesto means “pounded” and this vibrant green pesto is made with pounded basil leaves, olive oil, pine nuts, garlic and a little parmesan cheese. Normal gnocchi is a thick, small and soft dough dumplings made from semolina, wheat flour, egg, cheese, and potato. Chef Ozzy makes a healthier cauliflower gnocchi with shredded cauliflower, cassava flour, a gluten-free flour made from yuca, maybe some potato starch, olive oil, and a pinch of sea salt. Chef Ozzy’s is better for you and isn’t as salty or heavy.
My last Impasta bowl had shirataki noodles with a pleasing and healthy puttanesca sauce. Shirataki noodles are long, white noodles, made from glucomannan, a type of fiber that comes from the root of the konjac plant that grows in Japan, China and Southeast Asia. The fiber is usually mixed with water and a small amount of lime juice and boiled together to form a noodle shape. They’re are gluten-free, soy-free, vegan, low in digestible carbohydrates and calories. Mixed with tomatoes, olives and capers, it’s a delicious alternative to grain pasta.
For those who want to build their own low-carb pasta dish, Impasta offers zoodles made from julienne zucchini and from hearts of palm. They can be topped with a brown butter sage, Impossible bolognese, pink sauce, pesto with ricotta, four cheese, puttanesca, pomodoro, and cherry tomato with burrata.
Cauliflower rice bowls are filled with roasted cauliflower, grilled vegetables and a protein. I selected tofu, however you can add grilled organic chicken or shrimp on top.
While staying #saferathome, Impasta is a healthy meal to enjoy that can be delivered through different delivery platforms to Beverly Hills and the La Brea area. Additional areas include Hollywood, Culver City, Central LA, Downtown, Silverlake, Echo Park, Los Feliz, and Glendale. Delivery apps include Postmates, ChowNow, Uber Eats, Doordash, GrubHub and Caviar. To order go to http://www.impastacompany.com or pickup at 615 N. Western Ave. $-$$
Featured in the Beverly Press on August 6, 2020.