Nov 2018

Ms. Chi Cafe – Los Angeles (Culver City)

Ms Chi - A restaurant by Shirley Chung - Culver City

Chef Shirley Chung serves up “progressive Chinese American cuisine” at Ms Chi Cafe, her newly opened all-day restaurant in Culver City. With dreams of pastrami-stuffed scallion pancakes and cheeseburger potstickers dancing in our heads, my colleagues and I endured the long trek across the city for a distinct take on Chinese American fare.

Ms Chi - A restaurant by Shirley Chung - Culver City

Prior to opening Ms Chi, Chef Shirley competed in seasons 11 and 14 of Top Chef and spent time in the kitchens of Thomas Keller’s Bouchon and Jose Andres’ China Poblano. There’s another Ms. Chi outlet at The Fields downtown, but she considers the Culver City location the flagship.

Ms Chi - A restaurant by Shirley Chung - Culver City

After placing orders at the counter, our group nibbled on mochi doughnuts ($2.50) while we waited for food and drinks to arrive. All three varieties—black sesame, matcha green tea, and chocolate—boasted admirably chewy textures and true-to-form flavors. The dusty black sesame was tops.

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Nov 2018

Simone – Los Angeles (Downtown)

Simone - Los Angeles (Downtown)

Here at Simone Restaurant, one of the newest and handsomest dining rooms in Los Angeles, Chef Jessica Largey serves a vegetable-centered menu starring California’s unparalleled produce. The Astronomer and I came in for dinner in early October, a month or so after Simone opened its doors, and both the food and service were impressively polished.

Prior to opening Simone, Chef Largey was the chef de cuisine of Manresa and the recipient of the James Beard Rising Star Chef of the Year award in 2015.

Simone - Los Angeles (Downtown)

The cocktails coming out of Duello, the ambitious bar inside Simone, were as thoughtful as the dishes coming out of the kitchen this evening. I sipped the booze-forward “Kimchi Gibson” ($18) made with gin, kimchi and dry vermouth, while The Astronomer selected the “Mamacita Mole Blanco” ($17) with tequila, mole grenadine and lime oleo saccharum.

Simone - Los Angeles (Downtown)

First up were hearty slices of sesame seed-crusted sourdough served with house-cultured butter ($10).

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Oct 2018

{swoon} Anchovy Pizzetta from Chez Panisse Cafe

{swoon} Anchovy Pizzetta from Chez Panisse Cafe

The cooking at Chez Panisse Cafe was as good as ever when The Astronomer, June, and I stopped in for a quick lunch on our way to Sonoma for Cousin Andrew’s wedding. Opened in 1980 above Chez Panisse, the famed birthplace of California Cuisine, the Cafe serves a seemingly simple menu that satisfies with the precision and care of its execution. We feasted on baked goat cheese with garden lettuces, rigatoni with basil pesto, and braised lamb with chilies and cumin, but the highlight was the “Pizzetta” with tomato sauce, anchovy, capers, and marjoram ($22).

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