Posts Tagged ‘foie gras’

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.


09 2014

Public Kitchen & Bar’s chicken liver terrine fills the foie gras void

Chicken liver terrine at Public

Chicken liver terrine at Public Kitchen & Bar

Are you sad that you won’t be able to have foie gras in California starting July 1? Well, don’t cry over banned duck liver. Chicken liver can be a good alternative, and the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel‘s Public Kitchen & Bar has an amazing chicken liver terrine to sate your liver-loving appetite. Served alongside candied kumquats and grilled bread, the liver is an addictive ultra-smooth spread of savory goodness that will leave you scraping the jar for more. This dish will turn your foie-less frown upside down — that is, until you finish it. But at least you’ll leave Public knowing you can return for more chicken liver anytime.


06 2012

Travelogue: Sage Restaurant at the Aria Hotel, Las Vegas

Sage restaurant from Chef Shawn McClain at Las Vegas’ Aria Hotel is a gem. It was the most impressive meal of our stay. Maybe it was because I didn’t really know what to expect — what’s “new American,” anyway? — but Sage has turned into a place I highly recommend for any stay in Vegas. Everything that is placed in front of diners has been carefully considered — even the bread (crusty and fluffy) and butter (lavender, with a side of salt) are special.

We started our meal with cocktails, including a flaming absinthe demonstration. Check out the video:

My favorite drinks of the night were the Smoking Bulleit, with smoked peach-infused Bulleit bourbon, mint and lemon (the cocktail menu changes seasonally, so this one may no longer be available), and The Artful Margarita, made with Oro de Jalisco blanco tequila, Art in the Age root liqueur, Cointreau and lemon, which tastes like root beer.

The food at Sage was excellent. The Foie Gras Custard Brulée blew my mind, and the Wagyu Beef Tartare — topped with a gorgeous poached egg yolk and served with crispy chocolate chips — had made me reconsider the dish entirely. You know the food is good when something you normally don’t go for, in this case beef tartare, leaves you wanting more. The Slow-Poached Organic Farm Egg — all foamy, topped with shaved potato chips — was another delicious dish.

The Glazed Pork Belly, which is actually more sweet corn tortelloni than pork, is still a good choice; you’ll just want to know what you’re getting. The Main Dayboat Scallops were perfectly cooked, and the 48 Hour Beef Belly came so fork-tender that the meat practically fell apart just by looking at it.

We opted for the Signature Tasting Menu ($79 per person), which comes with optional wine or beer pairings ($39 each). This is a good value for four courses at this quality (by the time we got to the dessert course, I was stuffed, so please excuse me for not discussing it), so you’d be well-served making a stop here on your next trip to Vegas.

Further reading:

Las Vegas, NV: Sage is a Cocktailian’s Respite From Bottle Service by estarLA

Note: This meal was hosted.


12 2011

Cooking, schmooking: eat out this Thanksgiving

Foie Gras Creme Brulee at Sage Restaurant

Foie Gras Creme Brulee at Sage Restaurant

If the idea of cooking a huge meal this Thanksgiving freaks you out, then go out to eat! Here are some local (and not-so-local) options:

Akasha: For $65.00 per person ($35.00 for children 12 and under), this Culver City farm-fresh and vegan-friendly eatery offers a bevy of choices, including a roasted cauliflower bisque with white truffle sea salt, a fuyu persimmon (my favorite!) and pomegranate salad, crab-stuffed Idaho trout, peppercorn and hemp crusted tofu, and turkey with all the fixings, of course. You’ll also have your choice of sides, including orange candied yams, brussels sprouts, green bean casserole, creamed spinach, cheddar-gruyere macaroni and cheese, and stone ground cornbread and turkey andouille sausage stuffing. Oh, and there’s a pie buffet for dessert featuring organic and vegan pumpkin pie, maple pecan and chocolate pie, coconut custard pie, peanut butter pie, pumpkin cheesecake with whiskey caramel, and much, much more.

Saint Amour: This new Culver City favorite is offering Maine lobster and roasted chestnut bisque, an autumn harvest salad, Mary’s Organic Farm turkey with traditional garnishes, and a variety of desserts for $65.00 per person ($30 for kids under 12). You can substitute an entrée from the restaurant’s regular menu, too, including mushroom pot pie, New York steak or loup de mer.

CAFE del REY: This Marina del Rey restaurant is offering a three-course, prix-fixe holiday menu for $55 per person with a cauliflower and apple soup, housemade veal and pork sausage, free-range turkey breast with duck sausage stuffing, Maine scallops, a vegetarian beet risotto, and a sweet potato cheesecake. Kids get their own menu at $18 with a a choice of roasted turkey with mashed potatoes and green beans, cheese pizza, or penne pasta with marinara sauce, as well as a mini chocolate cream pie paired with hot chocolate.

Sage: Going to Vegas? Then you’ll want to spend Thanksgiving at this ultra-satisfying restaurant at the Aria Hotel (my full review to come soon). For $83 per person, Sage’s prix fixe menu features your choice of a roasted pumpkin soup, pear and brussels sprout salad, or the unique and decadent foie gras crème brulée to start; mains of roasted organic turkey, day boat scallops or braised veal cheeks (all with seasonal side dishes); and for dessert a pumpkin mascarpone tart or a bourbon caramel bar.


11 2011

A dining revolution: Supper Liberation Front

I’ve often heard of underground dinners — pop-up restaurants that move around from undisclosed location to undisclosed location (sometimes even a private home) — but I had never been to one. They sounded so mysterious, and frankly, I was a little intimidated. But then the opportunity to have dinner from the chefs of Supper Liberation Front presented itself, and I went along for the ride, which turned out to be a pleasant surprise.

The meals, which usually take place on the Westside, are $35 for four courses plus a couple of amuse bouches. This generous amount of food coupled with more-than-competent cooking makes this one of the best values around.

The dinner that I attended earlier this month in Santa Monica was Asian-inspired, but there was a level of inventiveness that made this better than your typical Asian fusion meal.

We started off with two amuses, or “lil bites,” as the chefs like to call them. Then we moved on to our first course of squid and konjaku noodles, which are made from yam flour, accompanied by a dashi chorizo sauce, some of which was encapsulated in little bubbles. It was a light yet flavorful dish, and the different textures were a nice element.

Squid and konjaku noodles

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07 2010

Lots of style, little substance: First and Hope

First & Hope, the gorgeous supper club in the not-so-gorgeous strip mall at the corner of 1st and Hope streets (clever, huh?) in downtown Los Angeles, certainly has lots of style. From the mood-changing lighting in the sleek dining room to the servers outfitted by “Mad Men” assistant costume designer Allison Leach, the restaurant screams class. I just wish the food spoke as loudly to me — in a good way.

I had visited First & Hope once before during its preview night when the atmosphere was close to mayhem. It was very crowded, and while the servers did their best, it was hard to get a good idea of what the food and drink should have been like.

So when presented with an invitation to have dinner at the restaurant under normal circumstances, I decided I would give the place another chance. I would have a proper meal and make a better-informed decision about First & Hope’s merits.

And I’ve made my decision: I would only come back here for one, maybe two, dishes.

You see, the menu sounds good; it reads like a food blogger’s wet dream, with foie gras, bacon and pork rinds littered all over its comfort food-centric offerings. But First & Hope leaves much to be desired in execution.

First, the cocktails. Nearly every one contains some kind of bubbly, no doubt an homage to the vintage style. I get it, but I thought the drinks were just OK, which was pretty much my summation after the preview party, too. I had an Elle for Leather, made with Famous Grouse scotch, vanilla syrup, “a touch of effervescence” and garnished with a vanilla pod. It smelled amazing due to the vanilla pod but tasted light on the scotch.

Elle for Leather. There's a blue tint because of the mood lighting.

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06 2010

French in Manhattan Beach: Cafe Pierre

I don’t make it down to the South Bay very often, so whenever I’m invited to a dinner in the area, I try to get over the “it’s so far” feeling that inevitably creeps up and go. This time the dinner was at Cafe Pierre in Manhattan Beach, a contemporary French eatery on Manhattan Beach Boulevard. This was a meal full of firsts for me, and I discovered I liked things I never thought I would like.

We were served a bunch of potted meats to start. This is when I tried head cheese, trotters, rillete and beef tartare for the first time, and none were as scary as I thought they would be. I actually surprised myself by really liking the hand-cut beef tartare, which came with judion beans on the side. I also had escargot and bone marrow as starters, too, both for the first time as well. While neither were as that scary, I didn’t enjoy them as much as the beef tartare, which had a fresh taste to it, contrary to what I had imagined raw beef tasting like.

I think this is head cheese, but it could have been trotters or rillete

Beef tartare

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02 2010

Longest meal ever, in a good way: Fraiche Santa Monica

I have never been to the original Fraiche in Culver City, though I had heard good things. So when Marshal and Will of FoodDigger invited me and other foodies to a “mini” tasting event at the new Santa Monica location, which recently replaced Riva, a small-plates concept that shared owners, it sounded like a great way to compare the old Riva to the new Fraiche.

I’ve been to Riva once, but it was right before the announcement was made to convert the space into Fraiche, so I didn’t blog about it. I enjoyed my meal there, though I did feel it was a bit overpriced, which may have contributed to the restaurant’s demise. No matter; the new Fraiche under Chef de Cuisine Sydney Hunter (who was also with Riva) is elegant yet accessible, a great combination.

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11 2009

Bizarre that it took me this long to try the Bazaar?

Evolving flavored iced tea (left), Cava mimosa (right)

Evolving flavored iced tea (left), Cava mimosa (right)

Yes, Jose Andres’ Bazaar at the SLS Hotel has been open for a year now, but I didn’t go right away. Why? Because I don’t like being caught up in a scene, and the SLS and everything in it is definitely a scene. So I waited a year to try it, and I went for brunch, not for dinner when I’ve passed by and seen it totally poppin’ off, as it were.

When we (Sam of LAist and Lucy of Edible LA) showed up, it was kind of dead — relatively speaking, of course. By the time we left, there were more people, though most chose to eat inside, which I thought was kind of strange given the beautiful sunny day. We ate on the patio.

I’m not going to dwell on the Bazaar’s food since by now the restaurant has been thoroughly discussed across the food blogosophere and in the mainstream media, so I’ll just give you my greatest hits of this meal.

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11 2009