If you take gelato seriously in this town, then you know the drill: Brave the snarled knot of traffic into Pasadena, turn north and head up into the San Gabriel Foothills until it seems as if you must surely have reached Mount Wilson, find a seemingly abandoned strip mall — all parking lot and the vague light from a Rite Aid sign — and wend your way through an outdoor patio until you find Bulgarini Gelato, a tiny store at the back of which Leo Bulgarini makes the best gelato this side of Sicily. During the summer, there's even more justification to make the pilgrimage: On Saturday nights, Bulgarini sets up a buffet table and screens free movies outside, projecting subtitled Italian films onto the concrete wall of an adjacent building. Get yourself a plate of pasta, an espresso pulled from the copper Elektra espresso machine Bulgarini shipped from Rome, and a gelato — yogurt–olive oil, goat milk–prosecco, strawberry–black pepper sorbetto or blood orange–granita — and watch Mastroianni in Divorzio All'Italiana under the stars. I assure you, you will not miss the popcorn.

—Amy Scattergood

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