The first ten days of 2013 have been absolutely glorious. The Astronomer and I spent New Year’s with my lovely grandparents, which included a parade of roses followed by a feast of roasted meats. Next, I was spoiled rotten by my friend Sarah with sensational sweets and even more sensational girl talk at The Hart & The Hunter. During the first weekend of 2013, The Astronomer and I had a blast showing our college friends some of our favorite spots in the city—Persian delights at Raffi’s, strolling in Griffith Park, dinner at Ruen Pair, cocktails at 1886, and a dance party in our apartment.
The fun kept on coming this week. The Astronomer and I attended a quirky event called Nerd Nite at a Venice bar on Tuesday night and followed it up with a stupendous late night dinner at The Tasting Kitchen. We were joined by Lien, our favorite Venetian—it’s her favorite restaurant after all.
Chef Casey Lane from Clarklewis in Portland was called in to transform A.K. Restaurant Bar + Grill into The Tasting Kitchen in the summer of 2009. Along with his former Clarklewis crew, he morphed the Scandinavian eatery into an ingredient-driven powerhouse featuring a daily changing “Bill of Fare” that includes cheeses, charcuterie, small plates, larger proteins, and hand-made pastas.
The space, the epitome of California cool, coupled with the kitchen’s incredible cooking, has made this restaurant one of the toughest reservations in town. Our party of three was seated in the front dining room among the trees.
Continue reading ‘The Tasting Kitchen – Los Angeles (Venice)’
It’s a crying shame that Red Medicine got off on such an awful foot during its early days. First there was the uproar over the communist propaganda-inspired logo emblazoned with Ho Chi Minh’s face, which was followed by the brouhaha for exposing and ejecting the Los Angeles Times restaurant critic.
These events kept me and my curiosity at bay for quite some time, but I’m glad that I finally pulled up a seat at this “Vietnamese punk” establishment, because Chef Jordan Kahn‘s cooking is some of the most modern, forward, and interesting fare that I’ve ever experienced in Los Angeles.
As its manifesto declares, “This is not a traditional Vietnamese restaurant.” Instead, Chef Kahn, the former pastry chef at the French Laundry, Per Se, and Alinea, picks and chooses flavors and ingredients from the cuisine that inspire him to create dishes that are as pleasing to the palate as they are to the eye.
My friend Diep and I grabbed two seats at the bar and proceeded to order cocktails, a duo of dishes, and dessert. We had just come from a taco binge on the corner of Venice and La Brea, so this was the perfect way to get our feet wet without committing to an entire dinner.
Continue reading ‘Red Medicine – Los Angeles (Beverly Hills)’
A meal at Chef Stephanie Izard’s Girl & the Goat was an absolute must on my culinary tour of Chicago. I first tasted her cooking late last year at the Food & Wine All-Star Weekend in Las Vegas. She prepared a hiramasa crudo with pork belly for an event called “A New American Lunch” and an especially memorable spicy goat curry for the grand tasting. Chef Izard makes the kind of bold and exciting food that I love to eat, and I couldn’t wait to do so on her home turf.
Girl & the Goat has been booked solid ever since it opened two summers ago. I tried and failed to snag a reservation a few weeks before our trip, so our party of four prayed for a miracle when we walked in at dinnertime on a Saturday night.
We were seated sometime past 10 PM and wrapped up our dinner around midnight. It wasn’t the most ideal situation, but we rolled with the punches and were rewarded with a stellar feast.
The menu here is divided into three categories: Vegetable, Fish, and Meat, with a separate specials menu full of goat options. The restaurant goes through seven whole goats each week, all of which are grown and raised locally. “Izard,” by the way, is a breed of Pyrenees goat. Hence the chef’s fascination with the animal.
Continue reading ‘Girl & the Goat – Chicago’
Stepping into Eveleigh (pronounced “Everly”) last Sunday evening, The Astronomer and I were transported far from the Sunset Strip. With its decidedly rustic vibe and vintage touches, the restaurant felt like it was plucked off a Napa Valley vineyard and plopped down in bustling West Hollywood. The space had a charm about it that just wouldn’t stop.
An invite to Eveleigh’s first ever Sunday Supper was the reason for our visit. Upon arriving at the restaurant and checking in with the hostess, we were led to the back patio, where an expansive communal table was set. With spectacular views overlooking the city and the sun setting in the distance, the scene could not have been any more idyllic.
Windrose Farms, a small family farm located east of Paso Robles, provided all of the produce and proteins for this inaugural event. Bill Spencer, who owns the farm along with his wife Barbara, was on hand to educate diners about everything from biodynamic agriculture to the difference between a lamb and a hogget. The evening’s convivial spirit was reminiscent of the Outstanding in the Field dinner series.
Continue reading ‘Sunday Supper at Eveleigh – West Hollywood’
VOSS, the fancy shmancy water company that serves its wares in sleek glass bottles, recently held a media dinner at FIG Restaurant in Santa Monica to get the word out about its 31 Days to Make a Difference campaign.*
Other than the fact that we were poured Voss water and were joined by representatives from the company, the focus this evening was squarely on Chef Raymond Garcia and the stellar food coming out of his kitchen. Subtlety is everything in situations like these.
Chef Garcia’s menu is built around seasonal ingredients and simple preparations. Every plate this evening was inspired by and composed with what Chef found at the local farmers market.
The first course, which was comprised of a gently poached Glaum Ranch hen’s egg with truffles and asparagus, gave us a glimpse of spring’s impending bounty.
Continue reading ‘FIG Restaurant – Los Angeles (Santa Monica)’