dinela

Fig and Olive for Dine LA was a treat. The menu looked interesting and the French/Mediterranean restaurant focusing on figs and olive (oil) was intriguing. The interior was nicely appointed and full of sunlight. This made for a perfect situation camera lighting wise. Only if all of my pictures were to enjoy all this sunlight. The food was plenty and delicious, and the whole experience from start to finish was so relaxing. From olive oil in every dish and figs nicely accenting everything, lunch was a pleasure.

To start things off, we had the bread and olive oil trio. Dipping the focaccia into the three different types of olive oil, it was really a taste test of how different each oil can taste. Each of the three high quality olive oils had such a distinguished taste profile. It was some of the best olive oils I ever had — It made me appreciate the olive oil as an ingredient and how it can be used so simply.

For the appetizer, I chose the truffle mushroom croquettes. These little morsels filled with a cremini mushroom, parmesan, and béchamel was so rich and tasty. Fried to a perfection, the outer layer was crisp and the inside was gooey. The mushroom flavor really came through, and then was accented with the truffle olive oil aioli. The deep earthy notes of the truffle and mushrooms really gave a flavor profile like nothing else. It was battered fats and carbs, fried, then dipped in more fats, but it was so delicately prepared. It was a nice start.

The lobster bisque to me was a miss. It didn’t have that wow factor or taste profile I thought it would have. The chive crackers and pimento (Spanish paprika) mascarpone were a nice touch, but if the broth is not good, everything falls apart. Even the additional cost for the lobster meat didn’t save this dish. The soup was just too watery and not thick enough. It tasted more of sea salt than the sea itself. I don’t know what happened here, but the mushroom croquettes was easily the better of the two.

To save us from the disaster of the lobster bisque, we indulged ourselves in some of the crostinis. Fig and Olive being known for their crostini, we had to order some. We went and chose three: burrata, tomato, herb, balsamic, and olive oil, / Manchego, marcona almond, and fig jam, / prosciutto, ricotta, fig, olive, and walnut. Of the three, my absolute favorite was the burrata; it was so silky smooth and kind of took over your mouth. With the classic mixture of tomatoes and balsamic, the flavor was so pure and delicious. The Manchego with almond and fig jam was good, but the overly sweet jam didn’t balance out too well. The prosciutto and fig crostini was nice — I do love my prosciutto, but the fig was again, too sweet for my liking. Maybe more prosciutto would have better countered the sweet fig? Maybe a lot lot more. ūüôā Definitely, the burrata was the best of the three.

I had some of the penne mushroom tartufo and it was quite nice. The big bowl of pasta was definitely a lot to handle. A mix of cremini and black trumpet mushrooms and penne was all that was needed to make this an awesome pasta dish. Mixed in with some parmesan, parsley, scallion, and white truffle olive oil, it was perfect. The mushrooms had a nice bite to them, and yes — no meat. The mushrooms in this dish did wonders. With the help of the white truffle oil, the flavors really transpired nicely. The herbaceous notes of the parsley and scallion helped liven up the dish as well. It was a lot of a good thing.

A lot of times, I like to order at least one thing I either don’t usually order, or I usually don’t make at home. I ordered the lamb skewers. Though it wasn’t as satisfying as the penne, it was still a delicious entree. The grilled lamb on rosemary skewers was brilliant — each bite was soft, perfectly medium rare in the middle, and infused with rosemary — The bell peppers also gave some flavor as well. The Greek yogurt and honey sauce was great with the meat, as was the roasted whole fig on the side. My favorite item on this dish was the couscous. Combined with onion, tomato, and scallions, the couscous was fluffy and aromatic. It went well with the delicious lamb.

For dessert, the chocolate pot de creme was a nice choice. Filled with a rich and creamy chocolate pudding, it was perfect for a chocolate craving. The cool part (no pun intended) was, the top layer was a vanilla ice cream, and the bottom was the chocolate. My favorite was the crunchy praline financiers. It was sweet, buttery, and light like a wafer — It was nothing like I ever had.

The French waffle was more familiar to me. Though the waffle looked crispy, it was lacking in that department. I was expecting something along the lines of a liege waffle, but I guess the French waffle is more fluffy and light. It was still tasty with the berries and cream. It was a classic combination with the waffle.

The French, Mediterranean restaurant celebrating the fig and olive (oil) in their dishes really came through. The decor inside made me want to live there. With the bright lights shining through, to the heavenly whites and bushes of rosemary throughout, the interior was soothing. The food was masterfully prepared. The play on sweet and savory, as well as figs and olive oil in almost every dish was evident. I had a relaxing time here at Fig and Olive, and thanks to Dine LA, it was an experience for sure.

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Every time I drive near Beverly Hills, I always yearn to live in this neighborhood — it is the perfect neighborhood. You imagine having that large house with the gated parking lot. Of course you have a nice Ferrari in the front to go along with your other expensive cars. The best part? You have some of the best restaurants just a stones throw away. For DineLA, we went to Wolfgang Puck at Hotel Bel-Air. To me, it seemed like the best bang for your buck. For $25, you get a 3 course meal, not a 2 course like these other restaurants are doing now. we got to see the garden and the beautiful property that is the Hotel Bel-Air. The food was delicious and the sights were stunning.

Bread Service was good. There was a cream cheese filled focaccia and ciabatta roll. Both were delicious, especially with their salted butter. The bread was quite unexpected and just a nice pre-appetizer snack.

Before our 1st course, we were brought an amuse-bouche of compressed water melon. It was topped with curry salt which accentuated the sweetness of the watermelon.

The roasted Frog Hallow Farms apricots and the mozzarella burrata was delicious together. The natural sweetness of the fruit and briny, saltiness of the cheese was a nice contrast. I especially like the touch of lavender. The crispy pancetta was good, but paper thin. Chunks of the pancetta would have made this dish perfect. It would have went well with the shaved fennel.

The Tamai Farm’s white corn salad was my favorite. It was so light and crunchy — the ingredients were so fresh and stood out on their own. Mixed with sugar snap peas, fava beans, cherry tomatoes, and dressed with tzatziki dressing, this salad was so flavorful. I liked the addition of the feta cheese.

The fresh fettuccine pasta was a nice touch. A mix of chanterelle mushrooms, melted leeks gave it the flavor, but this dish really lacked salt. It’s almost tasted like nothing but pasta and oil. A sprinkle from the salt shaker, which I rarely do did wonders. I kind of wish I had some truffle salt in my pocket. That would have been a perfect addition to this “blank slate.” The amaranth greens though rounded the flavors well.

I had the Sonoma lamb meguez pita. Inside was falafel, baba ganoush, and lamb sausage which I did not really care for much. The falafel though was as quite delicious. It was fluffy and the spices used to make the falafel was quite strong and nice. The side of lebanese salad helped balance the flavors. A douse of harissa spices gave the pita pocket a little kick.

We shared a plate of house made cookie. We had the classic chocolate chip, and a white chocolate caramel. These cookies were addicting and I could have easily ate a whole bunch of them. They were warm with the chocolate melted and not too sweet. They were ever so soft and chewy. All I needed was that glass of milk!

The apricot sorbet was a refreshing dessert. This was the perfect dessert for a hot day. The apricot sorbet was so fresh and subtle. It wasn’t sour or sweet — it had the perfect amount of fruity sweet flavor. The hard French meringue on the bottom was a nice place holder for the quenelles.

We had such an amazing time at Wolfgang Puck at Hotel Bel-Air. The last time we were at a Wolfgang Puck establishment was at Spago, also during DineLA. Read why it was such a magical moment then. Somehow, the magic kept going here during lunch. The food was tasty and the restaurant itself sits on such a beautiful piece of property. I’ll probably never be able to stay at this hotel, but I’m glad I got to experience a piece of it.

Wolfgang Puck at Hotel Bel-Air on Urbanspoon

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The Spice Table was on my radar last year, and I was fortunate to have finally eaten here. Thanks to Dine LA, I had a chance to try a lot of their items. Bryant Ng, chef and owner of The Spice Table explores his Singaporean roots with traditional dishes. Arguably one of the best new restaurants in recent years, the restaurant has seen great success. Though I am totally late in the game, it was my turn to give The Spice Table a try.

We started things off with Kaya toast. It is a buttered toast filled with coconut jam. This is all dipped in a sauce made with slow a cooked egg, soy sauce, and white pepper. The mixture of the soy sauce and the nearly raw egg made a goop of sludge that went perfectly with the kaya toast. The sweetness of the coconut jam and the saltiness of the sauce came together harmoniously. At times, the soy sauce egg mixture was a bit salty, but that was due to my over dunking. This was a perfect start nonetheless.

Another starter was the peanuts & fried baby anchovies. The wok-fried peanuts were perfect texturally. Again, the soy sauce and spiced sugar made a perfect meld of flavors. The addition of baby anchovies gave the dish a nice accented salty and seafood flavor. The baby anchovies were actually my favorite part. I wish it had more of the anchovies and less of the peanuts.

To me, the grilled beef salad was refreshing. The hangar steak was good but didn’t have much. The addition of the watercress with onion and slightly picked cucumbers made the dish quite crisp and refreshing. The housemade shrimp chips were impressive. I liked that the vinaigrette was light and not over powering.

One of my favorites was the raw yellowtail. Being a fan of sashimi, it was naturally a best-of for me. The fish was fresh and so delicate. The mixture of scallions, sesame, and chilies came together to make an amazing flavor profile. My favorite addition to the dish was the fried ginger and fried shallots. The intense aromatics gave the delicate fish a great taste without overpowering it.

For the table, we shared the Laksa. It wasn’t on the Dine LA menu, but we still wanted to try it. The rice noodles inside were cooked perfectly. The soft yet doughy noodles were a perfect vessel for the flavorful spicy coconut seafood gravy. More of like a thick red curry, the thick sauce went perfectly with the noodles. Mixed in with laksa leaves, shrimp and the perfectly cooked egg, the dish was a complete success.

For me, the duck rice was comfort food for me. Anything consisting of rice with meat over it is comfort food. The ground duck mixed with mushrooms, Asian basil, and crackling was so simple and familiar. The bed of white rice was a perfect blank slate for all the other flavors to come through. The not too spicy peppers chopped up sealed the deal for me. It gave it enough heat and flavor to finish everything off.

The kon loh mee was a great noodle dish. The egg noodles were buoyant and reminded me of noodles in ramen. The mix of choy sum and green onions gave the dish nice color and flavor. With ground pork and rich pork belly char siu, the bowl of noodles was full of porky goodness. Eating everything with a touch of the chili sauce was perfect.

We ended the meal with their kaffir lime custard. With a lychee whipped cream on top, the dessert was tart and sweet. The tartness and acidic flavors helped cleanse all the spices and oily flavors in my mouth. I feel anything with lime or lemon helps neutralize all those Asian spices; perfect end with our meal at The Spice Table.

Bryant Ng has something special here in Little Tokyo. With a modern feel and the vision of bringing everyone together, the restaurant has a great balance of new and old. The food is classic dishes made so perfectly. Gathering here was a perfect idea. Sharing good times over food is my idea of coming together. The Spice Table does it right.

The Spice Table on Urbanspoon

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La Grande Orange Cafe – Bacon Optional

by Franklin on August 1, 2013

It was a Monday night. I wasn’t in the mood for anything loud or crazy. I wanted something mellow and quiet. My old age has brought me to La Grande Orange Cafe in Pasadena — a somewhat under the radar, though not a hole in the wall restaurant, that is a bit on the boring side. The inside was interesting though. It had different rooms with different themes. Adjacent to the restaurant is the Metro Gold Line, Del Mar Station and some luxury apartments. The area certainly isn’t Old Town Pasadena. It’s quiet, a bit boring, and kind of nice.

The shredded kale and quinoa salad was refreshing and packed with nutrients. The crunch from the sunflower seeds was appreciated. Sweetness from the flame grapes and citrus from lemon was a nice combo. With a fresh shaving of parmesan, the salad was rich and flavorful, with a nice summer zest. Kale is slowing becoming my new favorite green.

Last year, brussel sprouts have been getting popular. Never having it in a salad, the Brussels sprouts salad was new and exciting to me. Manchego being one of my favorite cheese, the shaved aged manchego was the best thing for me. The sweet dried berries and smoked almonds were a great balance for this dish. The honey mustard vinaigrette was good, considering I am not a fan of sweet dressing; fortunately, it wasn’t swimming in dressing. Bacon on the salad was optional — I just laughed at that statement.

La Grande Orange Cafe is known for the deviled eggs. In hind sight, I should have just ordered it from the DineLA menu. These little bites were perfect. It had a great velvety texture with the right amount of spice and zing. A little drizzle of oil or something could have made them less dry though. Again, bacon was optional, and again, I chuckled.

It was a Monday, and my fianc√© wanted a drink. Yes, we are making “its a Monday” as an excuse to drink. She ordered the white sangria, and it was refreshing — better than I expected. Though a girly drink, it was strong enough to enjoy and well, fruity enough to enjoy. The fresh peach was refreshing and cool.

I ordered the wood fire rotisserie chicken. Though kind of boring, the heirloom cannellini beans were a nice touch. The half chicken was a lot of protein to take in, especially the dry breast — dark meat was juicy and well seasoned. The fresh green beans had a nice crunch. A very “safe” dish, but still delicious.

I saw Prime Rib on the menu and had to take advantage. The prime rib was cooked nicely medium rare, though a bit on the rare side. Any less time in the oven, it would have been near raw beef. The mashed potatoes were a bit bland and boring, but the horse radish made everything lively. The green beans brought everything together.

I liked the olive oil cake. It had a very light, yet dense texture, in between a cake and a bread. The mild flavor mixed with the strawberry and vanilla sorbet was a good mix.

The red velvet cake was awesome. The multilayer of cake was nice to look at and fun to eat. Breaking off layer by layer, each cake and frosting mixture was pleasant. The vanilla ice cream was a nice touch. I mean, who doesn’t like cake and ice cream?

La Grande Orange Cafe was an interesting experience. Culinarily, it isn’t as exciting as most restaurants are. In fact, the restaurant is a bit boring. From the food, to the decor, and the wait service, nothing got me excited for anything. It was a Monday night, DineLA was going on, and we just wanted a quiet night together in Pasadena. The food was plenty and everything tasted as it should. The classic styling and menu will never go out of style.

La Grande Orange Café on Urbanspoon

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Piccolo Venice – Truffle this and Wagyu that

by Franklin on July 29, 2013

Piccolo was an awesome experience. Thanks to Dine LA, going for a multiple course experience was a must. I saw some amazing dishes that included truffle this and wagyu that — I had to splurge and go here. To celebrate Melanie and my 4 year anniversary, and of course to eat good food, this was the perfect place to go. Situated in the midst of Venice Beach, the feel of the restaurant didn’t match its surroundings. Once you enter though, all the “crazy” of Venice Beach kind of disappeared. It is just you and the food, and they just keep coming.

The bread service was nice. There was a trifecta of focatia, white and bread balls. They were a bit on the salty side and didn’t seem freshly baked. Look at me already nitpicking! It was still good dipping into the olive oil.

First Course
The crudo was amazing and fresh, as it should. The venison carpaccio had a very mild taste that just melted in your mouth. The marinated shimeji mushrooms were a perfect pair to the soft meat, and the sort of fermented grappa blueberry emulsion completed the dish nicely.

The conchiglie was definitely my favorite of the night. Thinly sliced marinated raw sea scallop folded in sea urchin. The lemon thyme pesto gave the bright flavor throughout each bite. The sea scallop was so amazing, and the feeling inside the mouth is indescribable. It sort of takes over your whole mouth, and then the uni flavor kicks in and then it just kind of lingers. From the texture of the slightly sticky and smooth scallop and complexity made this my favorite.

Second Course
The most decadent was the ravioli plin. Filled with a house made fontina, the ravioli was filled with something special. Coated with a parmesan butter sauce and summer truffle shaving on top, the ravioli inside and out was so creamy and buttery. Each bite had an unctuous nature that was complex and delicious.

Third Course
The agnolotti ravioli was more of what I am used to eating. Filled with oxtail, the agnolotti had a beefy flavor. The flavors were pronounced quite nicely and the little strands of oxtail were still present inside. Covered in a slow roasted oxtail sugo, the sauce was more close to a tomato sauce. The green peas gave the dish some nice color.

The pappardelle made with squid ink was interesting. Though the seafood taste was a bit lacking, it did have a lot of sea salt flavor. The wide noodles were in soup of baby octopus sugo. This had the mere essence of baby octopus. It was funky, ‚Äúseafoody‚ÄĚ and delicious. The noodles in it of itself didn’t have much flavor. Once married with the sauce, it was complete.

Fourth Course
Being a natural born carnivore, the tagliata was a favorite of mine. Perfectly seared natural Australian wagyu NY steak was thinly sliced. The sear on the outside was on point and the inside was a perfect medium rare. My favorite was the maldon salt on top, and the lemon thyme pesto on the side gave the dish the acidity to counter the beef. A pile of micro greens helped to liven up the dish and a polenta cake acted as the starch.

Ordering fish, other than sushi is rare for me. When ordering the branzino, it was to go along with the seafood theme. The baked branzino was so delicate in flavor. It wasn’t fishy at all. The filet was wrapped and inside was a delicious grilled eggplant mix. Sitting on a bed of spinach, and with a side of roasted tomato saffron sauce the flavors all worked perfectly.

Fifth Course
For our last course, the dessert course, I had the Semifreddo. In a mix of ameretto cookies and soft frozen cream, the semifreddo looked like cookies. They were cold (semi frozen) and creamy. It was like eating ice cream but more airy. The side of amaretto caramel was a nice touch and sweetened the dessert.

We also had the Bicchierino. Bicchierino in Italian is drink, or a glass of drink, probably alcohol. The Bicchierino was similar to tiramisu, which has brandy in it. Is that why it’s called Bcchierino? The dessert had mascarpone cream, similar to tiramisu. Mixed with chocolate ganache and nougat, it was especially good eating it with the espresso savoiardi (ladyfingers). Not to mention, eating with a wooden spoon was just cool.

This experience at Piccolo Venice was fun. Going with my fiancé to share two 5 course meals, we essential had about a 10 course meal between us. Eating the deliciously prepared food and snapping some nice shots along the way, it was a food bloggers dream. Being right next to Venice beach, it is in an odd location. The valet parking was off to the back, and walking to restaurant meant a trip on the boardwalk. The vibe at Venice Beach and Piccolo Venice are quite contrary to each other. To me though, it was all well received.

Piccolo Venice on Urbanspoon

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Crossroads – A Rant by a Voracious Carnivore

by Franklin on July 22, 2013

Have you ever been tricked by a restaurant? I have. Many times actually. Though I wouldn’t say Crossroads, the all vegan Mediterranean restaurant duped me, I felt like I did. (I don’t have anything against those who are vegan, or those who have dietary needs of gluten free foods. I don’t want to offend anyone here, but this is more of my issue. I mean, if you are a vegan, I guess this is just the post for you. Trust me, there aren’t lots of posts like this for you. Anyways, back to my rant.) Not only was their Dine LA menu wrong online, but I had no idea going in that the restaurant was all vegan. I guess the latter part of that rant was my fault, but man oh man was I surprised. My logic was, a 5 course meal for $25 — that was a legit deal. To my surprise, they only offered a 4 course, and all were vegan dishes and portioned out smaller than normal. Honestly, I had reservation to The Spice Table, and blew it off for Crossroads — a lot more of a drive, but at the time, I thought it was worth it. The next night, I went to The Spice Table and my angst was all gone.

First course:
I love kale, and this kale salad was good, but I wish I had more of it. Just because it’s Dine LA, doesn’t mean you can just give a taste. I like that the pine nuts gave a good crunch and currants gave some sweetness. With a lemon thyme vinaigrette, the salad was very intense. Each bite gave you a little shock and woke you up.

The Pee wee potato salad was interesting. The Haricot Verts were crunchy and baby arugula gave it depth. The whole grain mustard was a good addition, but the tarragon vinaigrette was too obscure for me. I guess they needed to impart flavor somehow.

With the appetizers being so small, by appetite just grew exponentially. If they aren’t going to give me a 5 course meal, I guess I was going to have to make it that way. We ordered the artichoke oysters which were off the Dine LA menu. These were kind of cool to look at and cleverly plated. The artichoke acted as the oyster shell. A fried oyster mushroom sat on op of artichoke puree and a yellow tomato b√©arnaise sauce. On top sat kelp caviar. I mean, the whole thing looked better than it tasted, but it was interesting to see how the chef creatively created something oyster-like without any.

2nd Course
The wood roasted okra was my favorite of all the things I ate that night. First off, I want to say that okra is actually my top 5 worst vegetables on my list. However, the way they prepared it was magical. It had a nice crunch to it and the sweetness from the calabrese peppers and tart from pickled ramps and Spanish sherry vinegar was an amazing mixture. The crunch from the Marcona almonds finished everything off.

The spiced chickpeas was a bit uninspired. The oven dried tomatoes and parsley had a nice spice to it. I liked the garlic whip on top of the dish. It was creamy and had lots of flavor, and the spice was an added kick that helped as much as it could. At the end of the day though, I felt like I was eating tomato sauce mixed in with chickpeas. This needed cheese or some kind of cream sauce, which I guess is not allowed.

3rd Course
I don’t know how Pappardelle Bolognese is on the menu at a Mediterranean restaurant, but it is, randomly. The 3ish noodles of pappardelle were chewy and over cooked. The bolognese was just tomato sauce. That is all.

The scaloppini piccata was pretty good for being meatless. The picatta was a dredged and fried slices of protein “meat.” The piccata was zesty and flavorful. The caper and lemon sauce mixture was a bit too sour, but the creamy sauce and the meatless meat was a good combination. Again though, this was the main dish, but there was too little of it.

4th Course
The chocolate ganache tartlet was surprisingly awesome. I like eating the mildly sweet spiced caramel popcorn on top. The mascarpone and chocolate went nicely together. The tarlet with the chocolate ganache was rich and imparted deep flavor.

Their sorbet was also good. The cucumber lime made a nice balance of not too sweet flavors. The cucumber essence really shined in this sorbet. The candied watermelon rind on top was subtly sweet and delicious.

At the end of the day, I can’t be mad. Though they did switch up the menu last minute, I chose the restaurant on my own. The restaurant inside is exquisite — classy chic with a bit of comfortable. The servers and staff were all nice, though it was a little slow that night. Honestly, this may be a rant from a voracious meat lover, but any vegan or anyone staying away from gluten could appreciate this restaurant. This just wasn’t for me.

Crossroads on Urbanspoon

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Having lunch at The Penthouse at The Huntley was a no-brainer. Inside and out, the property is exquisite and fancy. Chic, modern, and clean, the food was almost out shined by the beauty of this property. Typically, I would not choose such a fancy, and such a far place. Fortunately, the Dine LA menu was hard to pass up. Once I entered the roof top property, which should be the “penthouse” of the hotel, I was shocked at the view. from almost every window, you can see the ocean or Los Angeles. Luckily, I was seated at the corner where I had views of Downtown Los Angeles and the Pacific Ocean. It was such an amazing view as I enjoyed my lunch.

Even though we had reservations, we needed to wait for our table at the bar. It may all be part of the business, but I feel like restaurants make patrons wait at the bar so that we buy overprices drinks. Well, call me a sucker. I was bored and sat at a bar. Naturally, I ordered a cocktail. Not having breakfast made me yearn for some coffee. In hind sight, ordering the coffee liqueur cocktail was a mistake. The coffee taste was there, but the aftertaste of the sour alcohol was not pleasant. I love coffee in the morning, but I like it rich and full bodied with no signs of sourness. To me, sour coffee is a sign of spoilage, and this cocktail being sour was not for me.

We started things off with the young romaine. Chopped romaine dressed with a lemon caper dressing was topped with shaved Parmesan and sourdough crouton. The salad was nothing special, but the lemon caper dressing was better than expected. A bit on the boring side, I was left wanting some color and vibrance from the dish.

The crab cake here is not traditional, only because it is amazing. Most crab cakes are mostly filler — eggs, bread crumbs, veggies, etc. Their was nearly 100% crab meat. Cutting it with the fork, all that was inside was crab meat — no bread crumbs or filler, and not even mayonnaise. Though the breading on the outside didn’t have much of a crunch, the celery salad and remoulade sauce made up for it. Only if all crab cakes had all crab in it, I would order it more often. Theirs was surprisingly as advertised — all crab meat.

For the entree, my choice was the grilled cheese with short rib. This sandwich was full of flavor. The short rib was juicy and flavorful from braising in red wine. The sourdough was toasted to a crisp and a perfect bread choice. The choice of cheese was the best and spoiled me. The chimay grand cru was delicious and creamy, almost a perfect cheese for a sandwich like this.

The fennel sausage pizza was also a favorite. Topped with tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, and housemade fennel sausage, the pizza was surprisingly good. The crust to me is the most important factor of a pizza, and theirs was quite nice. Not necessarily the best, but it had a nice chew and aroma. My favorite part of the pizza was the housemade fennel sausage. It wasn’t too salty or oily. It had a nice meety flavor with a lot of aromatic fennel.

Dine LA is all about 3 courses or more. That meant, dessert was part of the plan. I opted for the profiteroles, though I wish I had great remorse. It’s not that it didn’t taste good, it was just that it was uninteresting and the other chocolate sweet savory dessert would have excited me a little more. The profiteroles were filled with a delicious vanilla bean ice cream though, which kind of saved the dish. The best part was the hot fudge sauce drizzle. It all came together to make a tasty dessert.

Their vanilla creme brulee was good, but again, boring. I don’t know how many times I order the creme brulee for dessert, but I always have it. Maybe its the creamy custardy inside or the burnt sugar candy topper. The fruit in their creme brulee was a nice touch. This dessert was boring, and not of any fault of their own. My over stimulated taste buds yearned for something different — I just didn’t order it. Overall though, I was happy with our dessert choices.

Lunch at The Penthouse was a fun experience. Not only was the property amazing, the food was impressive as well. Hanging out at 3rd Street Promenade was a must after lunch. The beach and sun was all an acompaniment to our full bellies. Below is a short video of the elevator ride down. I don’t know what it is about elevator rides, but if it’s got an awesome view, I have to capture it on video. Anytime you are in Santa Monica, you must make a stop at The Huntley. The near 360 degrees of ocean, beach and Los Angeles is hard to pass up.

The Penthouse Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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Thomas Keller made an empire for himself. Though it may not have been intentional, the guy is a legend. I was fortunate to be blessed by his presence at last year’s L.A. Time’s The Taste event. Though I wasn’t able to meet him, he did say a simple “hello” to me. Just being in the presence of one of today’s best chefs was an honor. That is why this time around during Dine LA, Bouchon in Beverly Hills was part of the plan. My Bouchon experience at Las Vegas was memorable — it was time to give it a whirl at my city. Lunch from the Dine LA menu was exceptional and quite a deal.

We started off with the bread and butter. The familiar pain de epi was perfect. Basically a fancy baguette made in a zig-zag, the crust was crusty and the inside was perfectly dense. Eating it with the butter was simple enough and delicious. Honestly, I was full after the bread.

For my appetizer, the tartare de saumon was a perfect choice. The Scottish salmon tartare was chopped finely which made the flavor very mild. The hard boiled hen eggs were also chopped finely and was topped with red onions and capers. The Kendal Farms creme fraiche on top was a great touch. Placing everything on top of their toasted croutons was a complete appetizer. It was crunchy and buttery — Delicious!

It was 5 dollars more, but we opted for the assiette de charcuterie. Served with pickled vegetables, Dijon mustard, and petite baguette, this was amazingly tasty. We made mini sandwiches with the bread, lettuce, and mustard. The duck prosciutto and salami was perfectly salty and fatty. Silky and savory, the thinly sliced, salted cured meats were my favorite.

I ordered the moules frites for my entr√©e. Simply a mussels and fries dish, this was a great combination. The Maine bouchot mussels were steamed with cider, tarragon mustard, and shallots. The addition of Hobbs Shore bacon lardons were fatty, great with the somewhat sour, yet addicting broth. The mussels were cooked nicely and melted in my mouth. The french fries were similar in shape and size to that of McDonal’s fries. Of course, Bouchon’s tasted a lot fresher and actually tasted like potatoes. Everyone loves fries, and theirs is a classic favorite.

Another dish that had the supplemental 5 dollars charge was the tagliatelle . Not a traditional flat noodle, the noodles were more of a long, noodle like macaroni — homemade of course. Topped with an all day braised beef short rib and sauce Bordelaise, it was meaty and stew like. My favorite in this dish was the forest mushrooms. It had a nice bite to it and was just as meaty as the beef. The wilted swiss chard and Parmesan was perfect in this pasta.

Dessert is a must. The creme caramel was simple as can be. The caramel custard was fantastically pudding like, but it was firm. Think silky soft tofu, but not. It was lightly sweet and the caramel cream had a nice burnt taste that complicated the whole thing. It was delicate and perfect.

I was feeling “Frenchy” because, well, I was at a French restaurant. I ordered the assortment de macaron. It came with 4 mini macarons — caramel, chocolate, earl grey, and a mystery flavor. No, it isn’t really a mystery flavor. I just have bad memory and forgot the flavor. The macarons were delicate and perfect. Crusty on the outside and gooey on the inside. My favorite was the caramel. It was so sweet and delicious. What a perfect ending to our lunch at Bouchon!

Bouchon, located at the second floor of the Montage Beverly Hills was a beautiful spot. The weather was perfect and the Montage courtyard was picture perfect. The ambiance and decor of the restaurant was similar to the Bouchon in Las Vegas. The aesthetically decorated interior and the excellently prepared cuisine put me at ease and made me happy. This had Thomas Keller written all over it. The food was splendid and the experience was all worth it. Anything Thomas Keller touches turns to gold, and Bouchon in LA is quite golden.

Bouchon Bistro on Urbanspoon

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Grub – Crack Bacon on Everything

by Franklin on January 30, 2013

Grub in Hollywood is a quaint little house on the corner of Seward and Barton. The once a house turned restaurant is small and has a lot of charm. Even the floor boards creek when you walk on the wooden floors. Mostly popular as a breakfast destination, Grub has ventured in serving dinner for about 3 years now. I had the pleasure of having their DineLA menu for dinner, but my feelings for the food was torn. The theme of my 3 course meal was, “Crack Bacon.” I ordered everything that had this bacon in it, and to be honest, it wasn’t as tasty as I thought.

Things started off with carrot sticks, cucumbers, and pretzels. It was a nice start and the ranch dip was good. It was my first time having pretzels and ranch, but it was tasty. I suppose it was a little different than bread and butter.

We started things off with an appetizer — the crack bacon quesadilla. It was smaller than I thought and didn’t have the traditional taste a quesadilla has. The cheddar cheese was lacking as a good quesadilla should have copious amounts of cheese. The roasted onions was a good flavor between the spinach tortilla, and the sour cream was much needed. The crack bacon inside was plenty, but the flavor was different. It was more sweet and had an interesting flavor of tumeric in it. The flavors together were interesting, but not for me. I would have liked a regular, cheesy quesadilla with regular bacon. That would have been killer.

Denise’s famous mac and cheese had crack bacon inside, unfortunately. The spiral noodles, not one of my favorite when it comes to mac and cheese, was flabby and overcooked. The cheese sauce was watery and had little flavor. Crack bacon to me, is too sweet. I don’t know if you can imagine eating a sweet mac and cheese, but it is unpleasant. The cayanne inside was nearly missed as a little kick would have been beneficial. The fresh mixed greens salad was delicious though. The hommade champagne lemon viniagarette was fragrant and lively. Each bite was exciting and the viniagarette was citric and flavorful.

Cyndi’s Luscious Chocolate Bacon Sandwich was exactly as the title states. It was just plain white bread with chocolate and crack bacon inside. This time around, the savory, yet sweet bacon was fitting. The sandwiches were toasted nicely and the chocolate and bacon inside was sweet and tasty. The cholcate sauce over the sandwiches as well as the whipped cream made this a knife and fork job. The alomnds also was a nice touch that gave it a crunch. It wasn’t an elegant dessert, but it was filled with this sweet crack bacon.

Grub to me is more of a breakfast place. The fact that it is a nice little house with so much charm, dinner seemed unfitting. All of the items seemed a bit awkward and out of place. The dishes and bowls were colorful and seemed more breakfasty than anything else. I would love to come to this place for breakfast. Entering a quiant little house for morning breakfast? Pancakes, bacon and eggs? Bring it on! Dinner on the other hand, was not welcoming.

Grub on Urbanspoon

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Cafe Bizou – Escargot Finds its Way to the Top

by Franklin on August 12, 2012

Pasadena in itself is big enough that you don’t feel a need to leave the city. They have Arclight for movies, Old Town for dining, and Target for everything else. When Restaurant Week came around, Cafe Bizou caught my eye. Their menu was robust and was only one dollar sign ($25 for dinner). Interestingly, if it weren’t for Dine LA, I would have never heard of this restaurant. Tucked away near Pasadena City Hall, the entrance was small and could be driven by unnoticed. The inside was a bit dated, but seating arrangements were quite comfortable. The servers were quite attentive and helpful and knowledgeable about the menu.

When I saw escargot on the menu as an appetizer, I had to order it. The escargot, burgandy snails were drenched in a garlic butter and topped with parsley. If you are scared or if the thought of eating snails is a bit off putting, don’t be. Though a land creature, think of these as sea creatures. I mean, the snails are similar to mollusks. They have a squishy center and hard shell — yes, to a non scientist, non biologist, that is my criteria for a mollusk. The taste and texture is like any other mollusk as well. It tastes kind of like clams, but chewier like a mussel. Either way, the garlic butter really helped mask any funkiness of the escargot. It was delicious and I would order these again.

Their baked mushrooms were interestingly tasty. Stuffed with chicken and spinach mousse with a side of balsamic vinegar sauce, the appetizer was meaty. With endive on the side, everything came together nicely. The chicken was a chicken meatball and the flavors were robust. It was tasty and all, but I wish it was more creamy and warm. The whole dish was kind of single noted and was asking for more of a sauce than the balsamic reduction. A nice bubbly cheese covering would have been perfect.

I ordered their seafood pasta — it had almost every seafood I could imagine. Filled with lobster, shrimp, and sea scallops the pasta was a treat. The black tagallini pasta was a first for me. Literally black in color, I was interested in how it was that color. I am guessing it was maybe squid ink? The pasta itself felt a bit reheated in some way and kind of crumbled, but still delicious. Covered in tomatoes and mushrooms in a lobster sauce, the pasta was quite heavy. In some way, the seafood lightened it up a bit. There was plenty of lobster and shrimp inside and the scallops were cooked perfectly. Nothing was overcooked — everything worked well in the dish.

Their surf and turf on the menu was amazing at this price point. The petit filet minon was in a brandy cream and cooked perfectly medium. Their pan seared sea scallop was buttery and tasted so clean. My favorite, the jumbo shrimp was cooked with so much flavor — the crust on the shrimp was delicious. With a baked potato and grilled tomato, the dish was complete. My only gripe about the dish was that the dish was all over the place. Plating made the dish look very mediocre, as if we got each individual item from a buffet. Despite the looks of the dish, the taste was what mattered.

It isn’t restaurant week if it didn’t include dessert. We opted for the flourless chocolate cake and tiramisu. These two together was a perfect dessert in contrast. One was rich and chocolaty whereas the the tiramisu was light and creamy. The flourless chocolate cake was moist and not too sweet — it was kind of boring though. It was just a wedge of chocolate tasting cake. The tiramisu on the other had was my favorite. It had a subtle coffee flavor and the creaminess was to die for. In hind sight, ordering two tiramisu would have been alright with me. I am still glad to have tried the chocolate cake. These two desserts were a perfect ending to a great dinner date.

After experiencing Cafe Bizou, I don’t know if I liked it or not. The service was spotty and the overall experience at this restaurant could be forgotten, with the exception of the escargot and shrimp. I always think to myself, “If this restaurant were in Los Angeles, would it be considered something marvelous?” It is hard to say, especially with Los Angeles’ growing number of gastronomic eats — it would be safer left in Pasadena. I guess that is what you get. If you want more than mediocre, but not amazing, staying in Pasadena is fine. It is when you want that extra step above, the amazing and unforgettable — that is when you need to venture outside into Los Angeles. At any rate, Cafe Bizou was an awesome experience, again, in Pasadena standards. In Los Angeles terms, it will get blended in with the rest.

Cafe Bizou on Urbanspoon

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Lucques – Studded With Awards, Good Enough For Two

by Franklin on February 10, 2012

It was fate. I hate to admit — I almost skipped my reservation at Lucques. I waited there in the car, right next to the restaurant. Having reservations at 5 PM, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to eat that early. The sun was still out! After much contemplation, I parked, and I went inside. I sure was happy that I did. Chef Suzanne Goin knows her way around the kitchen, and the food is a testament of those skills. Owner of some of my favorite restaurants in Los Angeles, guest judge of Bravo’s Top Chef, and named California’s best chef of 2006 by the James Beard Foundation, I would have been a fool to turn her restaurant down.

Once I walked in, the interior was interesting. Once inside, you are warped into a place away from the Los Angeles hustle bustle. Having virtually no direct windows facing Melrose, the restaurant is very detached from the city. The quaint fireplace and seating area, to the brick walls, the restaurant was very comforting. Enjoying our Dine LA menu was simple and delicious. They didn’t even give us a hard time about sharing the prix fixe menu.

We started off with some awesome appetizers. The bread and butter was amazing, but the best part was the almonds and olives. Glistening with a coat of olive oil, the green olives were salty, but not too salty. The almonds were buttery and quite possibly the best almonds I ever had. Eating the bread with some sea salt and butter was a treat. If the complimentary items were this good, the dishes must be amazing is what I though. I was right.

The endive and schaner citrus salad was interesting. The endive were fresh and crunchy. The flavors of the green olives and green harissa made things pop and the wedges of citrus fruits gave everything fresh acidic taste. This would be perfect after a rich and fatty meal.

For the main course, we went with something we would never try normally. The pancetta-wrapped market fish was in both of our minds. It was served with parsnips, hazelnuts, and balsamic brussels sprouts. The trout was cooked nicely, not overcooked at all. Though it had a few bones, it had a nice mellow flavor and texture. The hazelnuts gave the dish a nice textural crunch as it turned the dish’s flavor a bit more complex. Brussels sprouts seem to be making a come back in dishes, and these were perfect in the balsamic reduced sauce. The panchetta, though lost in this dish as itself served to pronounce the flavors of the sauce and fish.

The bittersweet chocolate torta with mascarpone, hazelnut caramel and coffee ice cream was a great dessert. The chocolate torta was sort of like a cakey fudge, but not as dense. The coffee ice cream was superb, and quite possibly the best coffee ice cream I ever had. I felt they made it from scratch, from brewed coffee and all. A lot of effort went into this dessert, and I appreciated it very much.

As I was waiting at the bar area, I noticed a book called Sunday Supper at Lucques. Interestingly enough. I was having supper at Lucques on a Sunday evening. After appreciating my good meal, almost not having it, I knew it was fate. I was meant to eat here. Chef Goin did a good job, as she does at A.O.C., Tavern, The Hungry Cat, and others. I even read she used to be the executive chef of Campanile. With such a track record of successful restaurants in Los Angeles, it is no wonder that I had a great time at Lucques. If it weren’t for this, I probably would have just driven off, not knowing what I had missed.

The 17th Annual SAG Awards tasting menu was held at Lucques. An old video, but pretty cool to have eaten there not too long ago. Random video, but I thought I would share it with all of you.

Lucques on Urbanspoon

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Spago is located in Beverly Hills, amongst some of the most expensive restaurants in Los Angeles — Spago is a local icon. More so, Wolfgang Puck is an even larger icon. As a kid, you always heard about Wolfgang Puck, Spago, and how wonderful of a chef he was. Wolfgang is a celebrity, possibly the most famous chef in the world. The guy has a lot of restaurants, many in Los Angeles and Las Vegas. I was glad to see Spago on the list of Dine LA restaurants. Getting a reservation was a battle to say the least. The time was now, and I was honored to have eaten at one of his fine establishments. The dinner I had at Spago will be remembered forever. Now, before you judge me and say that I am hyping up the restaurant, the food had little to do with that. Certain items were spectacular, but something amazing happened that night that I will never forget.

Arriving, we didn’t need to wait long. My girlfriend ordered a drink at the bar before dinner. The main floor was adorned with cute pictures and stained glass on the ceiling. The interior was a bit dated compared to the new “hip” restaurants in town, but Spago’s interior design was classic, aged like a fine wine. The outdoor patio was amazingly lit and beautiful. The servers were friendly and accommodating — Everyone said hello and wished us a good meal. It definitely wasn’t a stuffy atmosphere. Bread was served from a tray, and you picked a couple that looked appealing. My favorite were the crisps and the olive bread. This was the beginning of a great meal.

Appetizer: Kona Kampachi sashimi. Each bite of the fish was few, but delicious. The crispy rice crackers on the plate tasted like crispy fried pork skin with a hint of sesame oil. The pickled dragon carrots were tart and sweet — it helped cleanse my palate. The most interesting was the tosa soy gel and yuzu air. It was a kind of a gelatinized soy sauce. The fish in itself was fresh and pure so it didn’t need much of the sauce.

Appetizer: My dungeness crab risotto was a bit off. I couldn’t help but think the texture of the risotto was too grainy. The sauce was also off as it wasn’t starchy enough. Despite that, the Spanish saffron and squid ink vinaigrette tasted very good with it.

Main: I had the roasted kurobuta pork loin and braised pork belly. It came with roasted brussels sprouts and puree of butternut squash. The pork loin was cooked perfectly, without an ounce of dryness. The sauce accompanied by the pork was rich and earthy, almost like a mushroom and onion reduction. The star of the dish was the pork belly. Rich in fat, each bite melted in my mouth. It was sticky and gelatinous, and the flavor was perfect.

Main: The pan seared Maine diver scallops were cooked perfectly. I always thought food came in odd numbers — 1, 3, 5. I was a bit confused when there were only 2 scallops on the plate. Either way, the scallops couldn’t have been better. It was nicely done inside and out, and had a silky, buttery texture. The confit fingerling potatoes, hazelnut brown butter, parsnip puree and mache salad all came together to make this dish very special. Dish wise, this one was better than the pork. Item wise, the pork belly took it.

Dessert: The dessert came in a trio. Instead of picking one of the three, you got all three! Though each item was small, it was nice to have tried all of them. The Candy Apple had honey poached fuji apples on top of a salted pretzel puff pastry. It was served with a Tahitian vanilla ice cream. The chocolate bar had a triple layer chocolate caramel cake. It was topped with crispy cracker jacks and chocolate caramel truffles. The sticky treacle upside-down cake had warm golden syrup toffee sauce and a thin slice of grapefruit. My favorite was the chocolate caramel cake. It was nice to see cracker jacks, an every man’s food, at such a non every man’s restaurant. You also can’t go wrong with chocolate.

Spago’s Dine LA menu was wonderful. The food was classically prepared and the atmosphere was friendly. My meal was delicious, but will I remember it my whole life? Maybe, but I will remember this experience. I mentioned in the beginning that I will remember this time forever. That is because something out of the ordinary happened.

After our dessert was finished, we waited for the check. The waitress came to our table and explained to us that our check was covered by the gentleman behind us! In shock, we just looked at each other with confusion. He didn’t leave a name or a card or anything. He was just an anonymous (though not quite) person who wanted to be generous. We are talking Spago here, not some free lunch or pizza — I’m sure our bill was pricey. Out of the goodness of his heart, he felt generous and paid for our meal, tip, tax and all. I think even the waitress was in shock as she didn’t quite know how to tell us. I was just lost for words. This stuff never happens to anyone. I kept asking myself who would do such a thing? ¬†We were truly blessed that night. It made me want to be a better man. I wanted to be generous. I guess good acts are indeed infectious. I did mention that the gentleman who paid for our check was anonymous. That is not quite true. As I was taking pictures from my seat, I did snap a picture behind me, as the kitchen was there. In that picture was that gentleman. ¬†Little did I know he would end up generously paying for our meal. ¬†The picture is a bit blurry, but he isn’t so anonymous after all. I chose not to share the picture because I’m sure he would have wanted to be left anonymous. If by chance you are reading this blog post sir, thank you for your generosity! ¬†And of course, thank you Spago for an unforgettable meal.

Spago Beverly Hills on Urbanspoon

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Taste on Melrose – I Dine LA And I Love Taste

by Franklin on October 14, 2011

I’ve heard so much stuff about Taste on Melrose.¬† I’ve seen that building so many times on Melrose with the words “taste” on it.¬† “What is Taste?” I would ask myself. Thanks to Dine LA’s Restaurant Week, I took advantage of their 3 course menu.¬† Looking at their menu, I realized that all or most of the items were the popular dishes. I took my girlfriend, my partner in crime, and had an amazing lunch.

We started off with the white truffle oil mushroom mac and cheese.¬† This could possibly be the top 10 best Mac and Cheese I have ever had. Not only were the mushrooms tasty inside, but the noodles were cooked perfectly.¬† What makes this dish is the truffle oil. I know that stuff is expensive, and that’s why it tastes so good.¬† It gave it that rich buttery and savory flavor.¬† Honestly, this mac and cheese was top notch.

I also tasted the lobster bisque.  It was delicious and hearty, but I was looking for more of a lobster taste. The cilantro oil was good in it, but might have taken away from the lobster a bit.  Nonetheless, the crostini was good and all around, it was a tasty soup.

When I saw short rib on the menu, I had to get it.  The short rib in the grilled cheese sandwich was so tender and amazing.  I was surprised at how thick and tasty the beef was.  The bread was buttered and crisped to a crunchy state. The horse radish sauce was nice, as I love horse radish on red meat.  The pommes frites were delicious as well.  Some were crispy like a potato chip, some were plump like fries.  I got the best of both worlds.

My girlfriend’s brown rice penne cecca was simple, in the best way possible of course.¬† The fresh basil, roasted garlic, cherry tomatoes and spinach were so pronounced in the dish. Each ingredient shined through in their own way.¬† The pasta was cooked to a perfect al dente; it was chewy and delicious.¬† I never had pasta made out of brown rice, or any rice for that matter, but I loved it.¬† Who knew such simplicity could be so good.

The long awaited dessert was a short wait actually.¬† Some say it is the best part of a meal.¬† My girlfriend’s apple and walnut roulade was tasty, and my personal favorite.¬† The bread part was kind of like a cinamon twist and not like a traditional roulade. Maybe it was, but fried?¬† It was more like filo than a cake, but it was delicious.¬† Believe me.¬† The ice cream and caramel with apple slices just sealed the deal for me.

The chocolate brioche bread pudding wasn’t sweet enough for me.¬† Maybe it was because the roulade was so delicious. This did have a nice chocolatey flavor, and the custardy bread pudding was nice.¬† Is “chocolatey” and “custardy” even a word?¬† Anyways, the vanilla gelato with the brioche bread pudding made everything great. What a perfect ending to a perfect meal.

I finally ate at Taste on Melrose.¬† It was a fun experience and the food was fantastic.¬† If you are more west that west Hollywood, there also is a Taste at the Palisades near the beach. I don’t know if the menu is the same, but if it is anything like the one on Melrose, I wouldn’t worry.¬† Just remember, I love taste, and I love to dine delish.

Taste on Melrose on Urbanspoon

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DineLA’s Restaurant Week really lets people try many different kind of food.¬† After looking and what they had to offer.¬† I was caught between so many choices.¬† After a few reservations being booked, I was left with Gordon Ramsey at The London.¬† I am not saying this was a second best or last resort.¬† I love watching Gordon Ramsey lash out to the contestants of Hell’s Kitchen and restaurant owners in Kitchen Nightmares. For someone so intent on having perfection, I had to try his food and his restaurant to see if he practices what he preaches. ¬†And the fact that this restaurant has a¬†Michelin¬†Star didn’t hurt.

We all started with bread and butter, which was great.  The butter was a perfect temperature and almost cheese like. The bread was soft on the inside and chewy on the out side, just how I like it.  As You know, Dine LA restaurants offer 3 courses for a set price.  Here is what we had.

The Charred octopus salad was tasty, but was missing something.  I liked the charred flavor of octopus, but I would have liked it with some sort of sauce. The pee wee potatoes, celery hearts, and parmasean were a nice addition to the dish, and brought the dish together.  The char on the octopus is really the star of the dish.

My favorite appetizer has to be the crispy veal sweetbreads and apple.  I never had veal before, and kind of felt bad for eating a baby cow.  I gave it a moment of silence, and then I dug in.  This piece of meat was delicious beyond words. It was tender and fatty and juicy.  The peas on the bottom and the crispy fried carrot on top was amazing.  The carrot had a nice salty taste which was perfect with the veal.  For all of the animal lovers out there, I am sorry to inform you that I like veal.  Please accept my apology.

One of the main courses we chose was the chanterelle mushroom risotto.  It had sauteed scallops and a quail egg on top.  This was a tasty dish.  Though the risotto was a bit bland, the mushrooms were delicious. Though, my favorite were the scallops.  They were perfectly cooked and I could cut through them like butter.

I don’t get to eat Wagyu beef, but when I do, I enjoy it. I savor it and wish that every bite of beef will be like this one. For those who know, wagyu beef is one of the best quality.¬† Each bite of the Wagyu beef brisket was amazing.¬† One bite in particular was amazing beyond words.¬† It was easily 50% fat, 50% meat.¬† The fat on the brisket was so gelatinous and amazingly flavored, and the mixture with the tender meat was just perfect. Eating it with the horseradish potato puree and mizuna salad was a great trinity of flavors.

Desert for the third and final course was a pleaser.  The pear and almond tart with dulce de leche ice cream was my favorite.  The almond tart crust was reminiscent of the holiday butter cookies we all eat during the holidays. It was dense and cookie like, but as you got to the center, it became more custard like.  The transformation from cookie to custard was almost seamless.  Eating the tart and the ice cream together was pure joy.

Lastly, the valrhona chocolate fondant was chocolatey.¬† It wasn’t as dense I would like it to be, but the salted caramel inside the cake was a nice surprise.

Eating at Gordam Ramsey at The London was a great experience.¬† The quaint little hotel on Sunset and San Vicente was a real shocker.¬† Who knew something so great would be in such an unassuming building. Gordon Ramsey is a world renowned chef, and it was an honor to try his restaurant.¬† Though their dinner was exceptional, I think their afternoon tea would be even better; Something I would like to consider for the future. ¬†Nonetheless, Michelin Star well deserved. ¬†On a side note, let’s bring back the Michelin Guide back to Los Angeles.

Gordon Ramsay at the London on Urbanspoon

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Bar + Kitchen – Slow Service, But I don’t Mind It

October 14, 2011

It is always nice to eat with family.¬† Being Dine LA Restaurant Week and all, we all wanted to take advantage and have lunch.¬† Since restaurant week comes in 3 courses and 3 dishes to choose from, the trio, my brother, cousin, and I went to Bar + Kitchen. Perfectly situated in Downtown, it was […]

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Luna Park – Eat This, And That, And That…

October 13, 2011

Finding out about Luna Park, I always how I missed this place on such a busy intersection, Wilshire and La Brea.¬† I must have passed by this place hundreds of times and didn’t even notice it.¬† That is the beauty of restaurant week by Dine LA. It opens up your city with wonderful eateries that […]

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