Straight outta Costa Mesa! Filing my third Scouting Report, “East Borough: When pasta gets the full-on pho treatment,” on the Los Angeles Times‘ Daily Dish.
Archive for the 'Culver City' Category
Before settling in Los Angeles and opening Mayura Restaurant in Culver City, Aniyan Puthanpu-Rayil owned a similarly spirited restaurant in his home state of Kerala in the southwest region of India. While Mayura’s menu offers India’s greatest hits like samosas and chicken tikka masala, diners in the know zero in on the specialties from South India, specifically Kerala.
To guide The Astronomer and me during our first meal at Mayura, we consulted Jonathan Gold’s 2008 review, Mayura’s Flavors of Kerala. We ate extraordinarily well this evening.
For first timers and regulars alike, the dosas are a must. These crisp paper-thin crepes, which are made from a rice and lentil batter, are served stuffed with savory ingredients like potatoes, spinach, or cheese, as well as plain.
We settled on the “Ghee Roast Dosa,” which arrived perched upright and coiled like a teepee, and painted with melted butter.
A spicy and tangy sambar (a stew made of vegetables and lentils), as well as coconut chutney, was served on the side for dipping. We attacked the dosa from either side, uncoiling it as we went. It took a solid effort from two solid eaters to finish this seemingly never-ending dosa.
I found myself on the west side of town last Monday night following a photo shoot at Sotto. Rather than hop in my car and make the long drive home at the tail end of rush hour, I convinced my friends and fellow Eastsiders, Nastassia and Diep, to meet me for a bite to eat. Our destination this evening was A-Frame, stop number two on the Roy Choi Express. Choo choo.
While Chego dishes up “refrigerator food” in a fast-casual setting, A-Frame is a full-service “modern picnic” channeling the aloha spirit.
Chefs Jude, Chris, and Fernando on the beats. Beth on the sweets. Picnic! – @RidingShotgunLA
There’s usually a long wait due to the restaurant’s firm no reservation policy, but the crowds were mellow tonight, so our party of three was seated immediately.
Carrying on the picnic theme were communal tables, do-it-yourself silverware, and perfectly sensible enamelware. Diep loved these little touches, which made the place feel cozy and comfortable.
Ben Bailly, one of my favorite chefs in Los Angeles, recently left his post as the executive chef of Petrossian in West Hollywood to helm the kitchen of Frîache in Culver City. Chefs move up the ranks and change jobs every day in L.A., but rarely do I feel compelled to check out their new digs straightaway. However, with Chef Bailly things were markedly different.
Chef Bailly is something of a culinary darling among me and my food blogging comrades. Aside from being a very good chef, he always goes above and beyond to make us all feel like our sites, photos, and commentaries are more than just silly hobbies. This mutual respect between diner and chef has garnered him a fiercely loyal following, myself included. It’s kind of amazing how far a little kindness will go on the Internet. [Take note, Red Medicine.]
The Astronomer and I, along with the lovely Diana Takes a Bite, dined at Fraîche a month after Chef Bailly took over the kitchen and revamped the rustic French and Italian menu. Diana arrived moments before we did and was sipping on a cool glass of wine when we greeted her at the table. She was careful not to nibble on the bread, butter, and olives until I had taken a proper photo. Whatta gal!
Even though we were planning on a booze-free meal, sommelier Paul Sangoletti insisted on providing cocktails and wine pairings for our party. We started off with three market-driven libations featuring (left to right) beets, red grapes, and basil. The grape-infused concoction with vodka and elderflower syrup was too strong for me, but the ones with beets and basil were just right. Sipping on seasonal cocktails makes drinking feel so virtuous!