On my second night in San Francisco, I met up with my Bay Area-dwelling cousins for a family dinner at Al’s Place, the newly anointed best new restaurant in America by Bon Appetit.
Here at the corner of Valencia and 26th Street on a quieter stretch of the Mission, Chef Aaron London cooks mostly vegetables and a little meat. This makes sense because prior to opening Al’s Place, he was the chef of the much-lauded vegetarian restaurant Ubuntu in Napa.
We began with a duo of “Snackles.” First up were the brine-pickled french fries ($7) served with smoked apple sauce. They were perfectly snackable and even palatable, but not quite the revelation that Bon Appetit’s Andrew Knowlton made them out to be. Can’t say this is the first time I’ve fallen victim to hyperbolic food writing. Continue reading ‘Al’s Place – San Francisco’
It’s avocado season here in Southern California, and Maude, Curtis Stone’s critically adored restaurant, is celebrating in grand fashion with a month-long tasting menu dedicated to the super-luscious, downright buttery ingredient.
Maude’s menu changes with the seasons, focusing on “one key ingredient” each month. [See what the restaurant is cooking for the rest of this year.]
Our ten-plus course dinner featured California-grown Hass avocados in every single dish. Sometimes avocado was the star of the plate, while other times it elevated the ingredients surrounding it. As a lifelong avocado lover, it was a pleasure to experience the fruit in a plethora of forms, both classic and innovative—avocado leaf ice cream, anyone?
Named after Curtis Stone’s grandmother, Maude is a jewel box of a restaurant with just 25 seats and an impressive open kitchen. The space and service were warm and welcoming with the ideal touch of sophistication.
Continue reading ‘Maude – Los Angeles (Beverly Hills)’
I had the best lunch last Thursday. In addition to the great food and even better company (Sarah! June!), it was a last hurrah before maternity leave draws to an end. These past four and a half months have been a glorious introduction to motherhood, and I am thrilled for what’s to come.
But first, lunch.
I’ve been desiring a meal at Ria and Matt Wilson’s pop-up WILD for weeks now, but only got my act together with my return-to-work date looming in the distance.
Prior to popping up at Canelé, Matt spent time in the kitchens at Bouchon Las Vegas, Son of a Gun, and Sqirl, while Ria cooked at The Mansion Las Vegas, Daniel Boulud Brasserie, Canelé, and Sqirl. Killer resumes, the both of ’em.
WILD, as defined by its Instagram blurb, is “playful, experimental and knows no cuisine boundary.” Matt and Ria’s anything-goes-so-as-long-as-it’s-delicious-and-seasonal approach means that the menu changes from week to week (sometimes even day to day), dabbling in different genres, techniques, and cuisines along the way. You never know what you’re going to get…
The duo are clearly having a blast at WILD, and I love how you can taste their collective energy in every bite.
Continue reading ‘WILD at Canelé – Los Angeles (Atwater Village)’
The second half of my second trimester of pregnancy has been good to me. After a rough start, I can finally hold down food without the aid of modern medicine, I have a great deal more energy, and best of all, I’m able to stay awake past 8 PM. I’m not sure what the next couple of months will hold, but for the time being, life rocks.
While the good spirits are running high, I plan on cramming in as much good eating and restaurant explorations as possible. For our first dinner out on the town in a few months, The Astronomer and I made it a priority to check out Chef Roy Choi’s Commissary, his latest (and final) dining venue at The Line Hotel in Koreatown.
Located on the hotel’s second floor rooftop, Commissary is a greenhouse with a focus on fruits and vegetables. Roy’s been layin’ off meat for years now, and Commissary is a reflection of how delicious and satisfying a plant-based (but not necessarily vegetarian) diet can be at its best.
The restaurant’s space is full of light: pure sunshine during the day and urban twinkly at night. There’s a shimmering pool nearby and superb vibes all around.
The restaurant’s illustrated menu (see topmost image) is divided into five price points and comes with a supplementary decoder to describe various preparations and additional ingredients. The Astronomer and I both found the menu to be whimsical and fun, even though it wasn’t the most streamlined.
Continue reading ‘Commissary at The Line Hotel – Los Angeles (Koreatown)’