Archive for the 'New American' Category

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Cooks County – Los Angeles

Cooks County - Los Angeles

I am currently writing from Cook County, Illinois. Chicago, to be exact, where I’m spending the week ever so delicately balancing work commitments and gastronomical pursuits. As timing would have it, I’m overdue to write about my mom’s birthday dinner at Cooks County. What a coincidence!

Cooks County - Los Angeles

Opened in late 2011, Cooks County is a sweet ‘lil neighborhood spot serving up seasonal fare that comforts and delights.

The kitchen is headed by Chef Daniel Mattern. He spent time at Campanile, Lucques, AOC, and AMMO here in Los Angeles, and Clarklewis in Portland, before opening Cooks County with his partner, Pastry Chef Roxana Jullapat. She also spent time at Campanile, Lucques, AOC, AMMO, and Clarklewis. What a coincidence!

Cooks County - Los Angeles

We started off the night with four appetizers. The first to arrive was the Spretzel ($3) with mustard dipping sauce. Made of spelt flour and garnished with coarse salt, the pretzel was good but not outstanding. Had it been baked to order, the pretzel would’ve really been something. The mustard, on the other hand, was excellent.

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Portland Odds & Sods: Pine State Biscuits, Olympic Provisions, Le Pigeon, Nuvrei, Tasty n Alder

White Stag Sign - Portland

With just 40 hours in Portland, my girlfriends and I managed to cram in 10 solid dining destinations without a hitch. From Friday evening to Sunday afternoon, we filled our drizzly days with savories, sweets, and seemingly everything in between. Not to mention lots of walking to balance everything all out, or so we hoped.

While BakeshopBlue StarPok PokNong’s Khao Man Gai, and Salt & Straw delighted me most this trip, these five spots had their charms as well: Pine State Biscuits, Olympic Provisions, Le Pigeon, Nuvrei, and Tasty n Alder. The best of the rest—PDX style:

Pine State Biscuits

Pine State Biscuits - Portland State University Farmers' Market - Portland

Pine State Biscuits launched their kitchen at the Portland Farmers Market in 2006. Even with a  brick and mortar location on Belmont Avenue, which opened in 2008, the trio behind the operation continues to lug their stoves to the farmers market each Saturday to feed the hoards of hungry fans.

Pine State Biscuits - Portland State University Farmers' Market - Portland

We dug into “The Reggie,” a fried chicken, bacon, and cheese situation, topped with a whole lot of gravy.

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Alma – Los Angeles (Downtown)

Alma Restaurant - Downtown - Los Angeles

My girl Minh‘s been dying to try Alma, so we booked a table in celebration of her recent birthday. Situated on an unexpected stretch of Broadway, Alma can be difficult to spot. If it weren’t for the fanciful script scrolled across the door, nothing would let on that there’s something good to eat this way.

Alma Restaurant - Downtown - Los Angeles

Chef Ari Taymor (dark haired and bearded fella above) opened Alma last March after running a successful pop-up of the same name. Here in this minimally appointed dining room with a tremendous open kitchen, the young chef and his team are creating ambitious and beautiful food that’s globally influenced. The restaurant’s format and style reminded me a bit of Le Chateaubriand in Paris.

Alma Restaurant - Downtown - Los Angeles

Alma offers both an a la carte menu and a formal tasting menu. Minh’s birthday fortunately fell on a Tuesday, so we took advantage of the abbreviated four-course “Tuesday Tasting” for $45. We also ordered one of every “snack” on the menu to supplement our dinner. The price for the regular tasting menu is $90 for nine courses plus “snacks.”

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Tar & Roses Suppers: Wood-Fired Goat – Los Angeles (Santa Monica)

Tar & Roses - Santa Monica

The gift of goat is one that keeps on giving—just ask The Astronomer. In celebration of his 29th birthday this past June, I planned a wood-fired goat supper at Chef Andrew Kirschner‘s Tar & Roses in Santa Monica.

I’d previously dined here when the restaurant first opened and had a splendid time grazing over small plates. I was excited to be back, with three scientists in tow, to partake in this festive family-style dinner.

Goat Dinner at Tar & Roses - Santa Monica

Since we were celebrating something pretty special, our table shared a bottle of the Cascina Ca’ Rossa ($56), an Italian red made of Nebbiolo grapes. We thought it appropriate since the restaurant is named after the tasting notes characteristic of wines made from these grapes.

Goat Dinner at Tar & Roses - Santa Monica

Supper, which was priced at $44 per person, began with a very delicious charred gem lettuce salad with crispy pancetta, dried dates, and pungent blue cheese. There were smiles all around with this starter.

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