Posts Tagged ‘pork belly’

Wood and Vine’s new summer menu is best yet

Burrata and peaches at Wood & Vine

Burrata and peaches at Wood & Vine

Hollywood’s Wood and Vine has gone through a few changes over the years, but the restaurant’s new summer menu from Chef Marc Johnson might be its best yet.

With a sharing-plates concept, you can try many dishes at Wood and Vine — a good thing, considering the high quality of each.

Start with the burrata and peaches (pictured above) served with prosciutto crisps and micro basil. I love stone fruit, so summer is always exciting for me, and the peaches in this dish pair well with the smooth cheese and crunchy ham.

Move on to the braised bacon with fried grits, cheddar, pickled ramps and jalapeno. The pork belly is super tender, and the fried grit balls topped with the pickled veg are an interesting way to get a creamy sourness in as an accompaniment.

Braised bacon

Braised bacon

For your pasta course, get the basil capellini. The basil-flavored pasta topped with charred cherry tomatoes, proscuitto, mushroom, preserved lemon and duck egg yolk is somehow light and substantial at the same time. My favorite part is the lemon.

Basil cappelini

Basil cappelini

The striped bass comes on top of an interesting concoction of nduja (spreadable salami), peaches and cauliflower, and is topped with fresh peppercress. The fish is perfectly cooked with delightfully crispy skin, and its lightness paired with the flavorful meat combo is a pleasant complement.

Striped bass

Striped bass

For dessert, get the butterscotch pot de creme. No question. Its sweet-and-salty combination makes me happy.

Butterscotch pot de creme

Butterscotch pot de creme

Don’t forget the cocktails! Wood and Vine’s bar manager Justin Stidham’s summer drink menu includes some good ones. The Black Star, with House Spirits rum, Giffard Banane (banana liqueur), housemade orgeat, Angostura bitters, fresh pineapple and lime, is summer in a glass served over crushed ice. And the Street Spirit, with its slightly sour combo of Buffalo Trace bourbon, fresh lemon juice, strawberry balsamic shrub, sherry, ginger beer and lemon peel, might not be for everyone, but it is certainly for me.

Black Star

Black Star

Street Spirit

Street Spirit

Note: This meal was hosted.

13

07 2014

Sips and bites at Stocking Frame

Mary's chicken tacos

Mary’s chicken tacos at Stocking Frame

The Stocking Frame in downtown Los Angeles is a great go-to no fuss, no muss restaurant and bar. It’s just trendy enough to please modern palates, but it’s not so trendy that it’s a turn-off. The space is large, so there’s plenty of room to enjoy food and drink with friends, too.

I’ve been here a couple of times, and so far I like the food better than the cocktails, which are fine but nothing special. A recent seasonal menu included a nice concoction of Bulleit rye, Nux walnut, Cynar and sea salt, as well as a fun mix of a spiced mezcal punch with lime and mint. The bourbon, Apple Jack and winter spice drink, which I thought I would like, was a bit too sweet for me.

rye, bourbon and mezcal drinks

From left: rye, bourbon and mezcal drinks

During happy hour (Stocking Frame refers to this as “Mid Day”) from 3 to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, you can choose from an abbreviated menu that includes the most delicious chicken tacos (two for $4) topped with a spicy mole sauce (pictured above). These are my favorite food offering here, so too bad they’re available only in the middle of the day.

My second-favorite item that I’ve had here so far is the Pig & Egg BLT with maple pork belly and chipotle mayo. It’s available only on the lunch menu.

The SF Pie with sopressata, wild mushroom and jalapeno is a decent pizza, though I wouldn’t say it’s a standout. I had this at lunch, but it looks like Stocking Frame has been tinkering with its menus because now it seems to be available only at dinner. And the beer cheese with crispy chicken skin, which was on the dinner menu last time I visited, is tasty, though it might be a bit on the salty side for some. I wish the pieces of toast that come with this were bigger, too.

Beer cheese with crispy chicken skin

Beer cheese with crispy chicken skin

Stocking Frame seems to be still finding its footing, with menu change-ups and a back room space whose purpose was still to be determined at last visit. Hopefully it figures out its identity soon, as it’s one of the better options abutting the South Park area.

23

03 2014

Pop-Up Pantry brings gourmet meals to your doorstep

Pop-Up Pantry

Pop-Up Pantry box. Pug not included.

Sometimes, after a long day, you just don’t want to cook dinner. That’s when a service such as Pop-Up Pantry comes in. Pick a meal created by a noted chef, choose a delivery day and presto — you’ve got dinner for two. You’ll need to do some light cooking, but other than that it’s pretty simple. And simple is good.

I ordered the meals from the final round of MasterChef by Christine Ha and Josh Marks. This is a special menu because it’s essentially two, two-person meals in one order. I didn’t realize that at first, so I cooked the entire thing — four servings — at once. At least I had lots of leftovers!

Ha’s meal, which won her the title of MasterChef last season, consists of pork belly (huge slabs!) served with pickled shallots, steamed rice and sauteed kale with mushrooms. The starter is a Thai crab salad, and dessert is apple pie. Marks’ meal starts with cheese soufflés, then moves onto a main of Indian curry hen with steamed rice, and ends with a pecan tart with bourbon caramel.

What the meal looks like before cooking

What the meal looks like before cooking

Slightly burned cheese souffles, apple pie and pecan tart

Slightly burned cheese souffles, apple pie and burned pecan tart

Thai crab salad

Thai crab salad

The meal

The meal

Burned pork belly, left, and Indian curry hen

Burned pork belly, left, and Indian curry hen

Even though I burned part of the meal (gah!), I liked what I got and definitely appreciated the large portions. Everything was pretty tasty except for the pecan tart, which didn’t taste like it had any bourbon caramel in it. Preparation was relatively easy. There were quite a few steps involved in this particular meal, but nothing was hard to do as everything was basically precooked.

Note: This meal was complimentary.

 

18

12 2012

Mark Gold’s Hollywood moment: Sadie’s new spring dining menu

Schaner Farms Duck Egg at Sadie

Schaner Farms Duck Egg at Sadie

The menu at Sadie, the newish restaurant that took over the old Les Deux space in Hollywood, has been revamped by consulting chef Mark Gold. The food was good to begin with, as I’ve already told you, but it’s been taken up a notch by Gold, who has a loyal following at his own restaurant, Eva.

If you’re going to check out the new menu, make sure to start with the Schaner Farms duck egg, which is prepared sous vide and served with spring garlic, English peas and radish. The dish is a revelation. I would go back just for that egg. The pork belly, with yuzu kosho, soy and green garlic, is another good starter option. You should definitely share this dish, as it is a substantial piece of fatty pork (in the best way possible, of course).

As for the mains, the linguini and clams, with littleneck clams, lemon and tons of garlic, should satisfy you, as should the Wild Alaskan Halibut served with artichoke, smoked bacon and onion relish. My only real complaint is the disappearance of Chef Dave Schmidt’s original Sadie chicken dish, which was nicely roasted and came with a delicious mustard-y concoction of spaetzle, Brussels sprouts and tomatoes. The chicken dish that Gold served at my tasting didn’t hit the mark for me, but it seems to have been replaced on the menu by a fried version, which should be much better if it’s anything like his fried chicken at Eva.

Peychauds Ice Cream and Sanbitter Float (left), Fernet and Chip Ice cream and Mexican Coke Float

Peychaud's Ice Cream and Sanbitter Float (left), Fernet and Chip Ice Cream and Mexican Coke Float

The cocktails remain largely the same, though some tasty additions have been made, including the Fernet and Chip Ice Cream and Mexican Coke Float, which I prefer to the more bitter Peychaud’s Ice Cream and Sanbitter Float, though I know lots of people who like the Peychaud’s Bitters version better. In any case, whatever you order from mixologist Giovanni Martinez’s bar is sure to be good. Trust.

Further reading:

Spring at Sadie: New Chef, New Menu, New Cocktails by Gourmet Pigs

When Bitter is Sweet by Tasting Table

Spring Into Sadie by The Fussy One

Note: This meal was hosted.

22

05 2012

Restaurant Row’s best bang for your buck: Gonpachi Beverly Hills

Gonpachi's courtyard

Gonpachi's courtyard

Restaurant Row on La Cienega Boulevard has been long known for its large, overly expensive eateries — Lawry’s The Prime Rib, Benihana, Woo Lae Oak, The Stinking Rose. But the Row’s Gonpachi Beverly Hills, though large, is one of the best values on that strip with its incredibly fresh-tasting sushi-grade fish and satisfying hot dishes, including robata.

I was recently invited to dinner at Gonpachi to try out its new menu. I hadn’t been to the restaurant for years, and only for happy hour, so I was excited to go back. The courtyard is lush with foliage and a koi pond, and the interior is reminiscent of the film Kill Bill (which was filmed at the Tokyo location of Gonpachi). All this really sets the scene for the fine meals served here.

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08

09 2011

Food and drink with a view: Vu Restaurant

Let me preface this post with this statement: This restaurant is in Marina del Rey. Unless you live in Marina del Rey or really close to it, you probably don’t frequent the area much. I know I don’t. But I may start now that Vu Restaurant has opened at the waterfront Jamaica Bay Inn, which just underwent an extensive makeover.

Vu (pronounced “view”), which just opened this month, turned out to be a pleasant surprise for me, despite some hiccups at the bar (make sure head mixologist Jolie Klein makes your drinks, and you’ll be golden). The food’s origins are all over the map, literally — there’s Asian, Italian and good old American, among others — and even some molecular gastronomy thrown in. A bit confusing, but somehow it works. Here are some of the highlights from my dinner there last week.

The pork belly sitting on a crispy cake of grits and topped with root beer gelée was my favorite bite of the night. As Lindsay William-Ross, editor of LAist, noted, the flavors were reminiscent of chicken and waffles. I liked this because the root beer wasn’t overpowering but lent just the right amount of subtle sweetness to complement the dish.

Pork belly on crispy grits topped with root beer gelée

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20

12 2010

Petrossian’s industry night

petrossiancrowd

Petrossian in West Hollywood recently held a special event dubbed an industry night for those in the food business to meet and mingle, and that included food bloggers — oh, how far we’ve come, huh?

The restaurant/marketplace (very trendy these days, though to be fair, Petrossian was a market first) is planning on holding these industry nights about once every couple of months, according to Chef Benjamin Bailly. If this recent event is any indication of what these nights will be like, we’re all in for some great food and drink. It’s a great deal, too: Drinks range from $2 to $8, and the plentiful appetizer-size food is free!

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14

12 2009