I just heard about the passing of Leon Croce. What a wonderful man that graced our lives! Leon and Croce's Cafe burn brightly in my memory. Once upon a time, Lodi was a gastronomic cultural crossroads of the Central Valley. My insatiable appetite for good food and the zeal I have for old haunts and new food discoveries was fostered at the old Cosmopolitan Cafe on Main Street and at Croce's.
What a treat to eat Croce's family-style Italian food with my dad and his cronies — and then to finish off the meal with homemade apple pie made by our favorite waitress.
A week or so after my dad died, I received a card in the mail indicating that Leon Croce had made a donation in my father's memory to a Catholic order that would pray for my dad twice a day forever — no sentiment from anyone meant more to me than this!
Leon, you will be missed and remembered forever!