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Does Dodger Stadium have the best meatballs in Los Angeles?

What's the secret to the light, fluffy meatballs at Tommy Lasorda's Trattoria at Dodger Stadium? Executive Chef Jason Tingley wouldn't share, but Lasorda says they're "almost as good as his mother used to make" - high praise indeed
Erika Penzer Kerekes

There's a new spot in town for hearty Italian food like light-as-air meatballs, spicy Italian sausage with sauteed peppers and onions, thin-crust pizza with crispy pepperoni, and cannoli.

And it's behind right field at Dodger Stadium.

Welcome to Tommy Lasorda's Trattoria, one of two new eateries on the new plaza behind the stadium. Part of the most recent round of upgrades to the stadium, Tommy Lasorda's Trattoria and an upscale barbecue joint called Think Blue BBQ offer Dodger fans an alternative to popcorn and Dodger Dogs.

How does Executive Chef Jason Tingley manage to turn out Italian food Tommy Lasorda calls "almost as good as my mother's" and barbecue that stands up to LA's best? Attention to detail combined with a keen understanding of what's possible when you're feeding thousands of people each game day and need to keep the lines moving. When he designed the menus for these new spots, Tingley thought not only about how the dishes would be made but how well they would hold and reheat. Which makes a meatball sandwich the perfect thing, really, for a place like Tommy Lasorda's.

You can learn a lot about cooking at home from talking with a chef like Tingley who's used to serving tens of thousands of people at a time. For example:

  • Don't skimp on the cornmeal when you're getting your pizza crust ready for the oven. Tingley likes an audible crunch.
  • Big slices of pepperoni on pizza are more impressive than small slices - the edges curl and crisp but the center stays chewy.
  • Smoked brisket slices better when it's cold, so leave yourself enough time before serving. Cut it when it's hot and you'll end up with shreds instead of slices.
  • Don't be afraid to buy your desserts if baking's not your strong suit or you're not set up to make and store desserts. Tingley's chefs don't make the cannoli served at Tommy Lasorda's, but they come from the best wholesale provider in the city (and, most important, customers love them - and so does Tommy).
  • Get wild with your hot dog toppings. Tingley's team is serving up some pretty interesting loaded Dodger Dogs this season, with add-ins like bacon, jalapenos, and that sticky yellow cheese sauce that comes in a can.
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