|Rosario Mazzeo of Roma Italian Deli and Grocery in Pasadena|
If you grew up in Los Angeles, you were probably introduced to your first Italian market some time in elementary school. At some point during your formative years, you took a silent oath of filial piety to never cheat on the first Italian market owners in your life by even looking for another one.
Whether or not you're Italian, there's something about these mom-n-pop shops that engenders loyalty and nostalgia. Perhaps it has do with characters like Rosario Mazzeo, owner of Roma Italian Deli and Grocery in Pasadena, who is known for being fiercely opinionated, generous and dedicated.
"I've been here for fifty-seven years, seven days a week," he says. He gets a gleam in his eyes when we notice the chunks of hard pork fat in the fresh sausages he makes daily. Mazzeo's work ethic, encyclopedic knowledge of ingredients, and exhaustive pantry of imported foods deserve our unwavering monogamy. So, we feel a little guilty suggesting trysts with other Italian markets in our round-up. But we're going to do it anyway. Turn the page...More »