Posts Tagged ‘dessert’

Get ready for Barberia restaurant

Expanding from the Barbershop Ristorante pop-up into a permanent space in downtown Los Angeles named Barberia restaurant, Chef Walter el Nagar (Il Grano, La Botte) has been hosting a run of tasting menu evenings to preview what is in store for the new restaurant. As the location on Hope Street downtown nears completion, these tastings are being hosted in Brakeman Brewery, a gallery space off of Jefferson Boulevard along the Metro Expo Line.

Barberia preview at Brakeman Brewery

Barberia preview at Brakeman Brewery

With a wonderful sound system, cozy bar and golden sunsets to die for, we recently dined on the outdoor patio area at dusk.

After being greeted by a bar inside, a carefully prepared meal was our treat outside. First up to say hello was duck tartare with shaved foie gras and anchovy on sailor bread. The laws in California don’t prevent consumption of foie gras, but the ban on the sale of foie did make this dish a pleasant surprise for many at the table. The theme of pairing these items together is appreciated, but let’s be real: you’re excited about the foie.

Duck tartare with foie gras

Duck tartare with foie gras

In a nod to the sea and barbershop, up next was an uni sponge cake in tomato broth presented in a sea urchin bowl atop a stone with a barbershop pole etching. The taste was subtle, as most of the dishes in the evening would be, and was a refreshing follow-up to the tartare on a warm evening.

Uni sponge cake

Uni sponge cake

The prawns aguachile was quite interesting. It was like a prawn enchilada in green sauce but wrapped in avocado slices instead of tortillas. I would probably prefer this as a snack rather than a dinner course, but I definitely enjoyed it. As always, avocados remind you that you’re in California.

Prawns aguachile

Prawns aguachile

The linguine alle vongole was my favorite dish of the evening. Using wheat germ pasta cooked in clam juice and fresh clams, there’s a kick at the end of each bite thanks to the chili in the spicy sauce that the pasta sat on rather than being coated in it. I could have had three more helpings of this dish, gladly.

Linguine alle vongole

Linguine alle vongole

The abalone and porcini mushroom risotto was a real hit, and for many their favorite dish of the tasting menu. Everything combined perfectly, and each bite had a great taste to it. Seaweed was also used for flavoring in this dish, and it was spot on.

Abalone and porcini mushroom risotto

Abalone and porcini mushroom risotto

Dessert came with a message: “Tomato is a fruit.” That’s literally what the dish was called. A sweet tomato in a bowl with strawberry syrup, topped with white chocolate ice cream and vanilla foam, the message was loud, clear and delightful. This wasn’t a decadent dessert, full of sin and scandal; it was more like a peaceful agreement between good looking people who never really wanted to fight each other. This will be a popular dessert for the summertime.

Tomato dessert

Tomato dessert

Overall, this peek at what’s to come for Barberia restaurant definitely shows promise. You can experience this preview (last pop-up takes place Oct. 17) and decide for yourself by making online reservations on the Barbershop website. No word on when Barberia restaurant will open, but there will be quite a few people in the food world interested to see how this joint venture with Adam Fleischman, of Umami and AdVantage fame, will turn out.

Note: This meal was hosted.

29

09 2014

Saint Martha restaurant is pleasant surprise

Saint Martha interior

Saint Martha interior

It’s rare that a restaurant truly surprises you. Sure, I’ve thought that many dishes at many restaurants were good — very good, even. But to find what is almost literally a diamond in the rough is simply a delight.

That’s what I found in Saint Martha, a new restaurant in a Koreatown strip mall serving up modern American cuisine. Following in the footsteps of Chef Ludo Lefebvre’s Trois Mec and Petit Trois, Saint Martha restaurant offers a fine-dining experience in an unassuming location. Named for the patron saint of cooks and servants, Saint Martha is the brainchild of the Farmer’s Daughter Hotel and TART restaurant team. Executive Chef and partner Nick Erven (formerly of Mess Hall) and General Manager and Sommelier Mary Thompson have put together a food and drink menu that would be impressive even if the restaurant weren’t in a strip mall.

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17

08 2014

ArcLight Hollywood introduces new cafe menu

This post is by ShopEatSleep contributor Eros David, an e-commerce professional on the everlasting quest for the perfect animated gif response. Having lived in both California and New York, he is no stranger to street food and streetwear. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, InstagramGoogle+ and Tumblr.

ArcLight Cafe

ArcLight Cafe

With the release of the food culture-centric film “The Hundred-Foot Journey,” ArcLight Cinemas on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood took the opportunity provide a preview of the upcoming menu for its ArcLight Cafe, including courses from the new menu as well as dishes inspired by the film. Using the classic dinner (with drinks) and a movie formula, I was taken on a group date with ArcLight and didn’t even have to text a friend for a rescue.

To shake off the LA traffic on the way to Hollywood, I was greeted with an ArcLight Sour — skillfully made and topped with an ArcLight “A” on top. It was a fine “hello” and a refreshingly light version of a whiskey sour with bourbon to help welcome in the evening’s courses.

ArcLight Sour

ArcLight Sour

The Spicy Southwestern Bacon Cheeseburger was the star of the new menu items. First off, the obvious point: you can’t go wrong with a burger. Secondly, this burger performs the balancing act of being casual enough to order at a movie theater cafe, yet still quality enough to actually make you want to go to the movie theater cafe to eat. For this Southwestern version of the burger, the fresno chili was a great choice to add a kick without overpowering the juicy beef patty. Let’s call it a gentle kick – a kind greeting from your future food baby. Southwestern flavor accents run throughout, but they aren’t used as a crutch as compared to some burgers that tend to rely on the toppings more than they should.

Spicy Southwestern Bacon Cheeseburger

Spicy Southwestern Bacon Cheeseburger

Keeping with a beef theme, the Beef Bourguinon a la Hassan is a dish from the movie inspired by the main character’s take on the French dish. Using a red wine sauce along with pearl onion and mushroom, no one was left hungry after this course. I actually halted conversation to focus on eating this. Of course, conversation picked right back up when we were deciding what to choose for the next round of drinks.

Beef bourguignon

Beef bourguignon

But first, dessert. We ended the night with Banana Cardamom Creme Brulee. The crisp top cracked open when lightly struck, and the custard underneath was the perfect consistency. There will be other fruit choices on the new menu, but it was banana’s night to shine.

Banana creme brulee

Banana creme brulee

ArcLight’s take on the Dark ‘n Stormy, the Perfect Stormy, was my companion for the movie. The local-made bitters and specially selected ginger beer are the highlight of this white rum cocktail. I grabbed a carton of popcorn, sat in my seat next to my alcoholic (beverage) date, and enjoyed the tale of an Indian family learning about Michelin stars in France.

Perfect Stormy

Perfect Stormy

The new menu debuts at the ArcLight Cafe in September, and while “The Hundred-Foot Journey” is in theaters, you can order select dishes inspired by the film.

Arclight MovieMenu sizedNote: This event was hosted.

10

08 2014

Bashan Restaurant serves up frill-free fine dining

This is the first post by ShopEatSleep contributor Shirley Lau, a proud native of Los Angeles who loves all things food and travel. She’s eaten at some of the swankiest restaurants in the world and — thanks to her stomach of steel — at some of the grimiest street-side food stalls. Her passion to see the world has taken her to more than 20 states and 18 countries. A seasoned communications professional, Shirley is a freelance writer and editor who, when not gorging on food and jetting off on a plane, loves to spend time with her two dogs.

Pork belly adobo at Bashan Restaurant

Pork belly adobo at Bashan Restaurant

Every year, my husband and I approach dineL.A. Restaurant Week with enthusiasm and caution. We’ve had our share of great experiences — my favorite by far was Spago — and several not-so-memorable ones (and that’s putting it nicely). Bashan Restaurant in Montrose/North Glendale falls somewhere in the middle.

At first glance, Bashan Restaurant may look a bit out of place. Located on Verdugo Road, the restaurant seems to be one of the only sit-down eateries along that stretch. And when you add fine dining to the mix, it becomes even more of a head-scratcher.

But this fine dining establishment is different from the rest — it’s casual. It’s the kind of place you can go in flip-flops and jeans and feel perfectly comfortable. The brainchild of Chef Nadav Bashan, whose impressive resume includes working at Michael’s in Santa Monica and Providence, the restaurant offers a menu that is both seasonal and farmers market-driven. Infusing California, Mediterranean and Asian practices, Bashan Restaurant incorporates classic French technique in all its preparations.

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25

07 2014

Travelogue: Fairmont Scottsdale Princess resort in Scottsdale, Arizona

Fairmont Scottsdale room

Fairmont Scottsdale room

I recently visited Scottsdale, Arizona, and had the opportunity to stay at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess resort. Located in North Scottsdale, it’s a little out of the way, but that may just be the whole point.

The Fairmont Scottsdale is a sprawling resort complete with multiple pools and eateries, as well as a two-story wellness spa, for maximum desert-style relaxation.

First, the rooms. Our room had ample space, with a walk-in closet, desk, seating area and private balcony. The bed was comfy, and the bathroom had both a stand-up shower and a tub, as well as Le Labo bath products. No complaints.

View from our room

View from our room

Welcome amenities at Fairmont Scottsdale

Welcome amenities at Fairmont Scottsdale

Amply stocked minibar at Fairmont Scottsdale

Amply stocked minibar at Fairmont Scottsdale — with my fave Macallan 12

Fairmont Scottsdale bathroom

Fairmont Scottsdale bathroom

As Scottsdale is known for its luxurious spa experiences, I naturally partook in a treatment at the resort’s Well & Being at Willow Stream Spa, which offers everything from traditional spa treatments and a rooftop pool to aerial yoga classes and nutrition and fitness consultations. I opted for a full body scrub and light massage with natural Body Bliss and Naturopathica skin products, all of which are derived from natural and/or organic ingredients. My provider Mistie made me feel comfortable right away and explained everything to me. And with access to the open-air pool, grotto waterfall, steam room, Swedish dry sauna, eucalyptus inhalation room, Swiss shower, hot whirlpool and cold plunge pool, as well as a full spa cuisine menu, you can easily spend a full relaxing day here. Oh, and fitness classes are included in your booking. Score!

Aerial yoga

Aerial yoga

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30

06 2014

Superba Food & Bread opens in Venice, carb lovers rejoice

Superba pastries

Superba pastries

Venice just got another great place to eat. And it’s not on Abbot Kinney Boulevard.

The recently opened Superba Food & Bread on Lincoln Boulevard is what proprietor Paul Hibler, of Pitfire Pizza and East Borough fame, called the good sibling of Superba Snack Bar. Indeed, Superba Food & Bread’s menu is lighter, but the baked goods more than make up for any differences in calories. And what tasty calories they are!

The brioche sticky bun and pretzel croissant are two of my favorites. Both have great texture and balanced flavors — not too sweet or salty. But the porchetta di testa croissant is a revelation. Porchetta di testa, made from marinated and braised pig’s head, is sliced paper-thin and layered into a pretzel croissant. Savory and sweet at its finest. Thank you, Pastry Chef Lincoln Carson, for bringing this into my life.

Brioche sticky buns

Brioche sticky buns

Pretzel croissants

Pretzel croissants

Porchetta di testa croissant

Porchetta di testa croissant

And Executive Chef Jason Travi, formerly of Fraiche and concurrently of Littlefork, should be thanked for his concoctions, too.

The pain au levain toasts are a great way to start a meal. For something sweet, go for the kaya version with coconut jam, pickled fresno and cilantro, and for something savory, go with the burrata, muhammara (walnuts and roasted peppers), pickled radish and parsley combination.

Kaya toast

Kaya toast

Burrata toast

Burrata toast

When it comes to sides, the roasted and raw sunchokes with green goddess sauce, as well as the crispy cauliflower, are standouts.

Sunchokes

Sunchokes

While I didn’t favor the vadouvan leg of lamb (I rarely like lamb, so this is a personal preference), I did enjoy the seared arctic char served with snap peas, rhubarb and mint. Execution is definitely not an issue here.

Arctic char

Arctic char

While two of the dessert options, a strawberry basil pavlova and vanilla caramel custard with orange, were too floral for my taste, the Superba “candy bar” with marcona almonds, chocolate and sea salt was on point for me. It’s rich, sweet, salty, smooth and crunchy — basically, everything you could ask for. You can also savor some Stumptown coffee while you enjoy your dessert or pastry.

Candy bar

Candy bar

I can’t wait to go back!

Note: This meal was hosted.

Further reading:

First Taste: Superba Food + Bread in Venice Opens Tomorrow by estarLA

Superba Food & Bread Testa Croissant (Food of the Week) by Food GPS

15

04 2014

The Wallace brings international flair to Culver City

Broccoli

Sprouting Broccoli

From former SBE corporate chef Michael Teich comes The Wallace, a shareable plates concept in downtown Culver City featuring an internationally influenced menu and a respectable cocktail menu from Mixologist Holly Zack, who also hails from SBE.

My favorites here include the sprouting broccoli served with tahini, marinated feta and dukkah (pictured above), as well as the braised pork cheeks with lentils, apple, horseradish and red onion agrodolce. Both pack flavorful punches.

Braised pork cheeks

Braised pork cheeks

The chicken liver mousse with balsamic onions and five spice and the roasted bone marrow with parsley, radish, tarragon and pickled shallots are solid choices, though I wouldn’t say they were the best versions I’ve ever had.

Chicken liver mousse

Chicken liver mousse

When it comes to dessert, if it’s available (I think this was a special when I went) get the house made gelato, sorbet and cookies. The marshmallow ice cream and  ginger cookie combo was my favorite, followed by the cream cheese ice cream and pumpkin cookie. The cherry sorbet with chocolate cookie was my least favorite, but I personally don’t like cherry-flavored things that much.

Ice cream, sorbet and cookies

Ice cream, sorbet and cookies

As for Zack’s drinks, the stirred pleased my palate more than the shaken (though that’s to be expected from me). I liked the Day Rate, made with coffee-infused scotch, cognac, honey syrup and chocolate chili bitters, as well as the Roundtrip with Angel’s Envy bourbon, byrrh, persimmon syrup and sour cherry bitters. I did like the Warm Fuzzies, a shaken drink made with Blackwell rum, cognac, Cynar, egg, lemon and simple syrup.

Day Rate, left, and Roundtrip

Day Rate, left, and Roundtrip

Warm Fuzzies

Warm Fuzzies

I really wanted to like the, ahem, Morning Sex, with bourbon, chai fennel syrup, passion fruit, lemon and Peychaud’s bitters, but it was just a bit sweet for me. It’s pretty, though.

Morning Sex

Morning Sex

While I’m glad to see new restaurants opening up in a neighborhood so close to my ‘hood, I’ve grown somewhat weary of restaurants that offer dishes from a what seem like a myriad of influences made from whatever is in season. Not that I’m opposed to fresh, seasonal ingredients — Teich shops at the Culver City farmers market located just steps outside his kitchen, and I think that’s great — but I sometimes feel like restaurants use this as an excuse to not choose a focus. I’ve read in more than one place that Teich’s menu is influenced by Italian food, but when I see a dish such as lamb with farro risotto, chickpeas, harissa and yogurt on the same page as duck confit with hoisin sauce, noodles and a sesame tortilla, I get confused. I appreciate having many choices on a menu, but it can also be a head-scratcher. To each her own, I guess.

Note: This meal was hosted.

Further Reading:

Vegetables Take Center Stage at Soon-to-Open Wallace in Culver City by Los Angeles Times’ Daily Dish blog

Wallace Serves Up Playful Sustainable Fare in Culver City by Where LA

24

12 2013

All-dessert Thanksgiving with Salt and Straw ice cream

Salt & Straw ice cream

Salt & Straw ice cream

If you’re looking to spice up your holiday meal this Thanksgiving, consider this: an entire meal in five pints of ice cream. And not just any ice cream — handmade, small-batch Salt and Straw ice cream direct from Portland, Oregon.

So what’s so special about Salt and Straw? Cousins Kim and Tyler Malek use only all-natural dairy; local, sustainable and organic ingredients; as well as imported flavors from small, handpicked farms and producers. The ice cream is made with 17 percent butterfat, little air and low sweetness. And then there are the unique flavors: Honey Balsamic Strawberry with Cracked Pepper, Coffee and Bourbon, and Pear with Blue Cheese, among others.

Which brings us back to the Thanksgiving flavors. The Maleks recently visited the only place outside Oregon that serves their ice cream — Joan’s on Third in Los Angeles, which carries the five-pack and serves Salt and Straw by the scoop (we Angelenos are super lucky) – to share these unique holiday flavors with us.

Herewith, Salt and Straw’s Thanksgiving dinner:

Sweet Potato and Candied Pecans: pureed sweet potatoes in the ice cream, with marshmallow fluff and roasted pecans. I much prefer this to the real thing.

Sweet Potato and Candied Pecans

Sweet Potato and Candied Pecans

Apple Cranberry Stuffing: celery-sweetened ice cream with cranberries, apples and a white bread pudding flavored with a variety of spices. Really interesting — and delicious — given the celery ice cream. I also like chewing on the bits of bread.

Apple Cranberry Stuffing

Apple Cranberry Stuffing

Salted Caramel Thanksgiving Turkey: Salted caramel ice cream with turkey skin brittle. Really, really interesting. It’s reminiscent of candied bacon ice creams, but it takes like turkey. Definitely tastes like turkey.

Salted Caramel Thanksgiving Turkey

Salted Caramel Thanksgiving Turkey

Mincemeat Pie: holiday spiced ice cream with dried figs, cherries, currants and apples steeped in brandy and fresh citrus. Apparently mincemeat pies don’t actually contain meat (at least, not anymore). This ice cream is super spiced, with lots of cinnamon, clove and all kinds of good holiday flavors.

Mincemeat Pie

Mincemeat Pie

Pumpkin Custard and Spiced Chèvre: pumpkin custard piped into a spiced goat cheese ice cream. This was my favorite, hands-down. I love pumpkin-flavored treats and look forward to pumpkin pie every Thanksgiving. I thought Trader Joe’s made the best pumpkin ice cream I’ve ever tasted. There’s no comparison next to Salt and Straw’s.

Pumpkin Custard & Spiced Chevre

Pumpkin Custard and Spiced Chevre

All five flavors, and you have to buy them as a package, are available while supplies last at Joan’s on Third for $65. While you’re there, pick up some of Joan’s tasty housemade potato chips.

Note: This tasting was hosted.

Further reading:

Turkey Ice Cream? Thanksgiving Flavors from Portland’s Salt and Straw, Now at Joan’s on Third by Gourmet Pigs

23

11 2013

Littlefork pleasantly surprises, launches brunch

Maple Eggs

Maple Eggs at Littlefork

By now you’ve probably heard of Littlefork, the months-old restaurant from A-Frame owner David Reiss and former Fraiche chef Jason Travi. But in case you haven’t, know that with its inventive and well-executed Atlantic Northeast menu that it’s one of the most exciting restaurants to hit Hollywood in a long time. And now Littlefork, which also has an outstanding cocktail menu from Chicago import Dino Balocchi, has just started offering everyone’s favorite meal — brunch.

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01

04 2013

Dine L.A. Restaurant Week Pick: GORGE

Beer Sausage

Beer sausage

There’s one more week left for Dine L.A. Restaurant Week, and if you’re going to go to one place, I suggest you try GORGE, a cozy house-made charcuterie and wine bar from Top Chef alumna Elia Aboumrad and pastry chef Uyen Nguyen (Le Cirque, Craftsteak, Restaurant Guy Savoy). GORGE is located on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood just steps away from old-school rock hangouts the Roxy and Rainbow Room. Not exactly where one might expect to find such fine food, so all the more reason to patronize the place!

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27

01 2013