Airbnb recently launched Guidebooks both online and in its app that “highlight unique perspectives of tastemakers and experts of various topics throughout a city.” I was initially tapped to curate a list of my 10 favorite phở restaurants in Los Angeles, but decided to pitch something a little different: “10 Vietnamese Dishes Other than Phở that You Should Be Eating.” Phở is phantastic, but there’s much to explore when it comes to Vietnamese cuisine. See: porridge, mi quang, spring rolls, roasted catfish… I think you get the gist.
I was spoiled to pieces on my 35th birthday. In addition to heaps of noodles with colleagues and a made-from-scratch blood orange upside-down cake baked by The Astronomer, I was treated to dinner at the nicest place in town: Providence.
Dinner began with a glass of bubbles for me…
…and a Muay Thai cocktail ($12) for The Astronomer. Both were festive, setting the proper tone for the evening.
Providence offers three menus during dinner service—the Providence Tasting Menu ($120), Signature & Seasonal Menu ($185), and Chef’s Tasting Menu ($220). We decided to go for the Chef’s Tasting this evening because fancy dinners are a rare treat, so why not go for gold? Also, the promise of squid phở was too intriguing to resist.
If flaky pastries are just what you crave, then it’s time you get baked at Mr. Holmes’ place in Highland Park. Here, laminated dough, which requires a laborious process of folding butter into dough numerous times to create very thin alternating layers, is elevated to an art form. Every bite brings a rush of richness and hundreds of flaky, airy layers.
The original Mr. Holmes was opened by Chef Ry Stephen and business partner Aaron Caddel in San Francisco in 2014. In the past two years, Bakehouses have popped up in L.A., O.C., and even Seoul, Korea.
To fully take in the Mr. Holmes experience, my girlfriends and I picked out half a dozen of the shop’s greatest hits to share.
First up was the intriguingly savory California Croissant ($5) stuffed with smoked salmon, ginger, wasabi, and seaweed. I liked how the nori permeated every bite, but would’ve preferred the smoked salmon in a silky state rather than in its shelf-stable cooked one.