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Evan Kleiman needs no introduction to these pages, but here's a brief one for new readers: a Southern California food icon whose Angeli Caffee was one of many iconic restaurants that brought sophisticated cuisine to the region during the 1980s, longtime host of Good Food on KCRW-FM 89.9, pioneering proponent of farmer's markets, and my co-host whenever we host a Happy Hour here in Orange County. To paraphrase Howard Stern lingo, she's a friend of the show bar none.
And it's because of that that we break out of our OC-specific zone to report the sad news: Angeli Caffe is closing on Jan. 8 after 27 years.
"I am devastated for my staff, especially those who have been with me for more than ten years, and the core group since the first day - That's 27 years," Kleiman wrote in an email sent yesterday to food editors in Southern California. "I hope to find them all jobs. Or maybe a real angel will appear. Who knows. Anyway, I need to do as much business from now until the 8th as possible to be able to pay my final payroll etc."
You heard the lady. If you haven't ever been to Angeli, time to visit one of Southern California's legendary restaurants before it closes; if you already are familiar with Kleiman's rustic Italian (and those pillowy gnocchi), time to visit again. We owe it to her.