Jan 2018

Felix Trattoria – Venice

Felix Felix Trattoria - Venice - Los Angeles

I ate a lot of Italian food in 2017. With Los Angeles experiencing a “Modern Italian Dining Renaissance” and my personal passion for pasta, dining out last year usually meant checking out the city’s latest and greatest Italian openings.

Of the slew of new Italian eateries that I visited (see: Cosa Buona, Rossoblu, Posto Giusto), Chef Evan Funke’s Felix Trattoria was a definite favorite. It’s hard to resist Venice’s cool vibes and a chef who openly touts #fuckyourpastamachine. I’d call that an unbeatable combination.

Felix Felix Trattoria - Venice - Los Angeles

Last-minute reservations are hard to come by here, especially since the restaurant was named “Restaurant of the Year” by Eater and “Best New Restaurant in America” by Esquire. However, seats at the bar are available on a first come, first served basis. My two dining mates and I snagged a trio of seats at the bar quite easily early on a Friday evening.

Felix Felix Trattoria - Venice - Los Angeles

The first bite to arrive was the Sicilian sfincione (focaccia), poofed to the nines, slicked with olive oil, and sprinkled with sea salt and rosemary. Homemade bread, served fresh out of the oven, has got to be one of life’s most simple and delectable pleasures.

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Jan 2018

Baroo – Los Angeles (East Hollywood)

Baroo - East Hollywood - Los Angeles

Cecelia and I grabbed two seats at the bar at Baroo to celebrate her recent birthday. The East Hollywood gem, respected for its strangeness as much as its deliciousness, was the perfect spot for the occasion. If we can all age as well as Baroo’s expert pickles and kimchi, the world would be a better place for it.

Baroo - East Hollywood - Los Angeles

Here at his 19-seat restaurant, Chef Kwang Uh serves a Korean- and Italian-inflected, fermentation-forward menu. Prior to opening Baroo with his business partner and friend Matthew Kim, the chef attended the C.I.A. and spent time in the kitchens of Daniel in New York, Nobu Bahamas, Piazza Duomo in Alba, Quique Dacosta in Spain, and Noma in Copenhagen.

Baroo - East Hollywood - Los Angeles

Our court-side seats offered partial views of the kitchen and an unobstructed look at the chef’s impressive cookbook collection, staple pantry items, and freshly made pasta. The dining room felt comfortably lived-in, like a friendly neighborhood incubator for culinary creativity.

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Jan 2018

{swoon} Escargots at Chez Fonfon

Chez Fonfon - Birmingham

The Astronomer, June, and I spent a few days in Birmingham, Alabama over the holidays. Taking full advantage of free, willing, and enthusiastic childcare (a.k.a. doting grandparents), The Astronomer and I snuck away for a quiet lunch at Chef Frank Stitt’s Chez Fonfon one afternoon.

We regretfully refrained from imbibing, but ordered all the Frenchy fare our hearts desired: chicken liver mousse, steak tartare, and most swoon-worthy of all, escargots.

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