Tag Archives: food and wine

L.A. Food & Wine 2011

Photos: Lexus LIVE On The Plaza with Train!

L.A. Food & Wine: Lexus LIVE On The Plaza
Thrilled my brother Greg was still in town from Scotland, so he could join me for this FAB food fest!

L.A. Food & Wine: Lexus LIVE On The Plaza
Time To PARTY (L.A. Live, Downtown)!

L.A. Food & Wine: Lexus LIVE On The Plaza
To start, a glass of Carducci Pinot Grigio (Ahnfeldt Wines)

L.A. Food & Wine: Lexus LIVE On The Plaza
My dad and I are both huge fans of Chef Paul Prudhomme. Loved getting this photo of Greg to send bak to Scotland!

L.A. Food & Wine: Lexus LIVE On The Plaza
Chef Paul’s Gumbo!

L.A. Food & Wine: Lexus LIVE On The Plaza
Moritomoto’s Pork Belly with Steamed Bun & Cabbage Slaw

L.A. Food & Wine: Lexus LIVE On The Plaza
Of course I texted **53987 to get the Pork Belly recipe

L.A. Food & Wine: Lexus LIVE On The Plaza
Lexus LIVE On The Plaza

L.A. Food & Wine: Lexus LIVE On The Plaza
Masala Braised Lamb Shank, Kalonji & Black Cumin Seed Grits, Eggplant Raita & Tomato Chutney by Chef Akasha Richmond (I’m not usually a fan of lamb but loved this Indian dish!)

L.A. Food & Wine: Lexus LIVE On The Plaza
Chef Ben Ford‘s Porky HEAVEN: Chili Verde Taco with Crispy Smoked Pig Ears!

L.A. Food & Wine: Lexus LIVE On The Plaza
Bouchon‘s awesome seafood bar (was hard not to hang here all evening)

L.A. Food & Wine: Lexus LIVE On The Plaza
Chef Kerry Heffernan‘s Soup of Corn with Crabmeat, Chili & Micro Herbs

L.A. Food & Wine: Lexus LIVE On The Plaza
Mozza! Pork, Pork, Pork!

L.A. Food & Wine: Lexus LIVE On The Plaza
Fantastic eats AND TRAIN Live (one of my favorite bands)!

L.A. Food & Wine: Lexus LIVE On The Plaza
Patrick Monahan singing “Hey Soul Sister”

L.A. Food & Wine: Lexus LIVE On The Plaza9
Of course Greg got the TRAIN set list! I’m so proud to say he is an accomplished musician in Scotland as well.

Thank you LEXUS for an amazing evening of great food and music. Our dad (also in Scotland) is a musician and chef… it’s in our blood!

L.A. Food & Wine: Lexus LIVE On The PlazaLexus Live On the Plaza Website
Event Date: 10/15/11

All my Lexus Live on the Plaza photos on flickr

Lexus Live L.A. Food and Wine

Please Note: Event Tickets, Hotel (& groovy wheels for the weekend!) were provided by the very generous Lexus corporation.

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Picca Peru

Food Wine: Best New Chef 2011, my friend RicardoZarateLast month (July 2011) Food & Wine Magazine named Chef Ricardo Zarate as one of their Best New Chefs for 2011. His elevated Peruvian cooking has been a favorite of mine since I first tasted his Mo Chica menu at a “Hatchi” pop-up dinner last year (links & video below).

For “Culinarian’s Day”, the Huffington Post recently asked me to name some of my favorite chefs and of course I included Ricardo. I’m so proud to call him a friend, and with all the recent accolades he’s garnered, I’m pretty darn lucky that I can still get a reservation!

Picca Peru

Entrance to Picca Peru
Entrance (above the former Test Kitchen space)

Picca's Filet w Sea Urchin Butter
Anticuchos (grilled, skewered street food): Beef Filet w Sea Urchin Butter, Garlic Chip

Picca's Beef Heart
Anticuchos: Corazon aka Beef Heart, Rocoto (spicy pepper) Sauce

Picca's PaPa a Lahuancaina
Anticuchos: Papa a La Huancaina: Potato, Quail Egg, Pancetta, Chives

Picca's Cocktails
COCKTAILS! Left: “The Avocado Project” 5 Island white rum, fresh avocado, ascorbic acid, fresh lime juice, agave nectar.
Right: “Chilcano de Anis” Lime Juice, Ginger Syrup, Anise Syrup, Pisco

Picca's Tomatoes & Burrata w Black Mint Pesto
Tomatoes & Burrata w Black Mint Pesto

Picca's Ceviche Crocante
Ceviche Crocante: Halibut, Leche de tigre, Crispy Calamari

Picca's Choritos Mussels
Choritos Mussels: Steamed Mussels, Pancetta, Aji Amarillo Butter

Picca's Chicharron De Costilas
Chicharron De Costilas: Crispy Pork Ribs Crostini, Sweet Potato Puree, Feta Cheese Sauce, Salsa Criolla

Picca's Tuna Tartare
Tuna Tartare: Tuna, Lemon Soy Dressing, Wonton Chips

Picca's Ceviche Mixto
Ceviche Mixto: Mixed Seafood, Sweet Potato, Choclo (a large grain corn)

Picca's Black Cod
Black Cod: Miso Anticucho, Crispy Sweet Potato

Picca's Duck Confit
Seco de Pato: Duck Leg Confit, Black Beer Sauce, Cilantro Rice

Ricardo Zarate's Patita (Pig Trotter Stew) at Picca
Patita: pig trotter stew, chorizo, potato, aji panca, peanuts

Causa: Snow Crab
Causa: snow crab.cucumber, avocado, huancaina sauce

Picca's 32Oz Rib Eye Steak
32 oz Rib Eye Steak

Oxtail Croquette Sliders at Picca
Oxtail Croquette Sliders w avocado & pickled jalapeno, huacatay

Picca's Tres Leches Cake
Tres Leches Cake

Picca's Grill
Checking out the kitchen

Picca, View From Bar
Picca, View From Bar

Rocoto Mezcal at Picca
Rocoto Mezcal

Photos taken 6/21/11 (Opening Night)  7/28/11 & 9/23/11

Chef Ricardo ZarateAll my Picca Peru Photos

Huffington Post “Culinarian’s Day”

About Ricardo> Terrific article about Ricardo Zarate by my friend Julie Wolfson

Picca Peru Restaurant
9575 W Pico Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90035
(310) 277-0133
Website

FOOD & WINE Best New Chef Ricardo Zarate VIDEO

with Stephane Bombet & Chef Ricardo ZarateFood & Wine Best New Chefs 2011

Ricardo Zarate on LXTV VIDEO

Sophie Gayot of GAYOT.com at Mo Chica VIDEO

Chef Ricardo Zarate at Test Kitchen VIDEO

Follow Chef Ricardo Zarate on Twitter

Follow Picca Peru Restaurant on Twitter

Follow Stephane Bombet, Picca’s Managing Partner on Twitter

Follow Mo Chica on Twitter

Follow writer Julie Wolfson on Twitter

Mo Chica at Hatchi (pop up)

Dinner at Mo Chica

All Ricardo Zarate Photos

Photos at right: With Ricardo and Picca’s managing partner (and my good friend) Stephane Bombet

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Mo Chica – 6 Courses for Japan

Chef Ricardo Zarate (Food & Wine “People’s Best New Chef”) is originally from Peru, but I’m certain that part of his soul (like mine) belongs to Japan. For years he worked in Japanese restaurants (including Zuma in London) before opening Mo Chica, his contemporary Peruvian restaurant here in Los Angeles.

Ceviche Mixto by Chef Ricardo ZarateI first tasted Zarate’s food at a BreadBar Hatchi dinner last year, and loved the simple beauty of his compositions, as well as the Asian touches he added to his Peruvian cuisine.

Before meeting the chef, I think the only Peruvian food I had tried (besides ceviche) was a post-hangover dish called Lomo Saltado. If you haven’t tried Lomo Saltado, it’s an awesome pile of seasoned beef, tomatoes and onions served with BOTH rice AND french fries.

Ricardo Zarate and I didn’t actually become friends until he and his partners opened Test Kitchen last summer. I LOVED those frenetic months (new chefs & menus every few days) and if my waistline and bank account would’ve allowed it, I’d have dined at Test Kitchen every night. In fact I have so many photos from my visits that I’ve yet to properly blog about it!

Chef Ricardo Zarate @ HatchiRicardo Cooks For Japan

This Thursday (March 31st), Chef Zarate and partner Stephane Bombet will hold a charity dinner for the victims of Japan. I’ll be there supporting my friends, not only because I was born in Japan (I lived in Okinawa until I was eight), but because Zarate’s tasting dinners are always fantastic. Simply put: Great food + Great cause = a grateful heart and belly.

GrubStreetLA wrote:
Zarate will revisit one of his favorite tasting menus at a cost of $45 per diner. With a long history of working in Japanese restaurants, Zarate will donate $10 from every reservation to the country’s relief efforts. As an extra thrill for the town’s food-obsessed, Street Gourmet L.A. blogger and pro saxman Bill Esparza will provide the musical accompaniment with his bossa nova trio Cachaca Nova.

Mo-Chica’s 18th Tasting Dinner
6 Courses for Japan

Thursday, March 31, 2011
6:00-10:00 P.M.
$45
3655 S. Grand Ave. (inside Mercado La Paloma)
(213) 747-2141 (reservations will sell out!)

6 Course Menu

YUQUITAS CON POLLO
stuffed yuccas, manchego cheese, crispy chicken, rocoto sauce

TIRADITO
scallops strips, spicy lemon dressing, salsa criolla

CHILCANO
Peruvian cocktail, ginger juice, ginger ale, pisco brandy

SUDADO
sea bass, tomato stew , crab meat, roasted tomatoes, garbanzos

CHICHARRON
Peruvian-style crispy pork belly, black mint sauce

ALFAJOR
Classic Peruvian dessert made of dulce de leche , and short bread

PHOTOS below: In case you’ve never had the pleasure of eating Zarate’s food, here are some of my favorite bites (these are different from Thursdays menu):

Mo Chica
Arroz Chaufa De Mariscos: Seafood Fried Rice, Mixed seafood, Daikon Pickle

Mo Chica
Causa: Potato Salad, Tiger Prawns, Ocopa Sauce

Mo Chica
Tiradito: Japanese Octopus Carpaccio, Peruvian Botija Olive Sauce

Chef Ricardo Zarate @ Hatchi
Carapulcra: Peruvian Sun Dried Potatoes, Pancetta, Black Cod, Chimichurri

Mo Chica
Mate De Coca Ice Cream: Coca IceCream Cinnamon Sponge Cake

Note: Photos above are from my various Mo Chica / Ricardo Zarate dinners. These are NOT on the 3/31 tasting menu. Just samples of his beautiful food.

Mo Chica Website
3655 South Grand Avenue

Los Angeles, CA 90007
(213) 747-2141

Follow Chef Ricardo Zarate on Twitter

Ricardo Zarate’s Bio (Test Kitchen)

Food & Wine “People’s Best New Chef” (LA Weekly)

With my big sister Janet, MyLastBite.comBreadbar Hatchi

Zarate at Test Kitchen (by Kevin Eats)

Lomo Saltado at Mario’s Peruvian

More Mo Chica photos on flickr

Zuma, London

GrubStreet LA

Street Gourmet L.A

About my early years in Okinawa, Japan

RED CROSS (text donation to help)

Red Cross relief in Japan is more than food and blankets

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Best New Chefs!

My friends at Animal Restaurant were just named “Best New Chefs” by Food and Wine Magazine. Congratulations to Vinny Dotolo and Jon Shook!

The complete list at Food and Wine Magazine

Jon, Jo, Vin
Jon, Jo, Vin food and wine best new chefs chefs 2009 animal restaurant vinny dotolo jon shook food and wine best new chefs chefs 2009 animal restaurant vinny dotolo jon shook

Food and Wine Magazine

Positively Delicious Photos from Animal on Flickr

My Many Visits to Animal, Start Here

food and wine best new chefs chefs 2009 animal restaurant vinny dotolo jon shook food and wine best new chefs chefs 2009 animal restaurant vinny dotolo jon shook food and wine best new chefs chefs 2009 animal restaurant vinny dotolo jon shook food and wine best new chefs chefs 2009 animal restaurant vinny dotolo jon shook “Best New Chefs” by Food and Wine Magazine.Congratulations to chefs Vinny Dotolo and Jon Shook

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Animal [10]

I was a little worried about taking our friends, Ron and Diane, to Animal over the weekend. Ever since my first visit to the restaurant last summer, I’d been raving, ranting and downright praising the food heavens for bringing us Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo. Not only because everything they cook is delicious and adventurous (link to previous posts & photos below), but also the profound sentimentality I feel when I eat it. The food at Animal reminds me of my dad’s cooking and since he lives far away in Scotland, a meal at Animal makes me feel closer to him. A little silly I know, but that’s the magic of food and memories.

For our dinner last Saturday, our server was someone new (to us). Joshua was sweet and very helpful, especially when we were deciding which wine would go with our various dishes. After we tasted a couple of different glasses, we selected the La Salette Valpolicella (Italy) 2006, $54. The new manager, Asher, was also very gracious and made sure I went back to see the guys in the kitchen (I missed them!). Jon (chef & co-owner) came out to say hi to Peter and meet our friends, then had to get back on the line for the busy dinner service.

After Joshua took our orders, I was still a little concerned about Ron and Diane. They’ve eaten in the best foodie towns in the world… from Le Bernardin in New York, to the freshest sashimi in Tokyo’s Tsukiji Fish Market. Would Animal be good enough for them? Maybe I overhyped it. Maybe the food wouldn’t be “refined” enough for them.

I need not have fretted of course because, just like me… they LOVED every bite. 

What we ate:

Fried Chicken Livers at Animal, MyLastBite.com
Fried Chicken Livers w/ Jalapeno Slaw $7

Pork Belly at Animal, MyLastBite.com
Pork Belly, Kimchi, Peanuts, Chili, Soy Sauce & Scallions $11

Rabbit Ravioli at Animal, MyLastBite.com
Rabbit & Kale Ravioli w/ Truffle Butter & Parmesan $22. (This dish forced me to have bad table manners because after finishing the ravioli, I couldn’t stop dipping my finger into the truffle butter sauce!)

Flatiron Steak at Animal, MyLastBite.com
Flatiron Steak w/ Mash, Foie Gras Sauce, & Roasted Cipollini Onions $28

Mexican Shrimp at Animal, MyLastBite.com
Mexican Shrimp, Fennel, Olives, Tomato, Borlotti Beans & Green Garlic $26

Duck Breast at Animal, MyLastBite.com
Duck breast with parsnip, apples, bacon, butternut squash & red wine $25

Desserts at Animal, MyLastBite.com
Bacon Chocolate Crunch Bar w/ S&P Anglaise $8, Tres Leches Cake $7, Joe’s Doughnuts w/ Apple & Caramel $8

Donuts at Animal, MyLastBite.com
A close up of
Joe’s Doughnuts w/ Apple & Caramel $8 (As Bourdain would say…”these are purely EVIL… but in a GOOD way”)

We also ordered: Crispy Hominy with lime $5 (Ron said he loved it, and he could imagine movie theaters selling fried hominy by the bucket!)
and
Melted Petit Basque with Chorizo and Garlic Bread $11

Dining Date: 2/7/09

<- Visits 8 & 9

- > Visit 11

Animal Restaurant
435 N. Fairfax Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90036
(323) 782-9225
Website

Mentioned Above:

Tsukiji Fish Market

Le Bernardin

La Salette Wines

Bourdain

Eater L.A.

With my dad in Scotland

 

Animal on Urbanspoon

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Ten Minutes To Midnight

My husband Peter and I had reservations at Animal for New Year’s Eve dinner. We’ve been “regulars” for the past six months and there was nowhere we would rather be at years end, than at our favorite eatery celebrating the outstanding food of our friends Vinny and Jon.

So when I came down with a wicked head-cold a few days before, I was a tiny bit distressed. What if I had to stay home and miss out on the Flat Iron Steak with PBR (Pabst Blue Ribbon) Fondue? Who would be eating the portion of my beloved Foie Gras, Biscuit and Maple Sausage Gravy? And what about the totally addictive “crisp, assertively salted” Fried Hominy that Jonathan Gold recently raved about in L.A. Weekly?

On the morning of the 31st, I still felt pretty lousy and looked even worse. There was no way I would be going out to celebrate. Peter really didn’t want to sit home watching me pout and gulp Nyquil, so he called a friend and kept the reservation. Doing my best to be unselfish, I told Peter that I was happy his buddy Julian would be his New Year’s Eve date. But honestly, I wasn’t happy… I was selfishly miserable.

I tried going to bed early, but the Nyquil wasn’t making me sleepy like it usually did, so I sat at my computer watching the clock. Then I started “timing” Peter’s delectable dinner. “He’s been there a half an hour, so he’s licking his fingers from devouring a bowl of the Fried Hominy with Lime”… “Forty-five minutes in, that means he’s biting into the Pork Belly and Kimchi”… “I wonder if he’s ordering the Quail Fry with Grits, or the Stewed Rabbit with Turnips”?

It was pathetic and I actually worked myself up into a ridiculous, jealous state. I can blame most of this on lack of sleep and continuous sips of Nyquil, but the truth is… I felt like Peter was CHEATING on me! Not with a hot, young girl he met at the bar, but with Animal’s hot, gut-pleasing plate of Poutine (french fries) covered with Oxtail Gravy and Cheddar. How could Peter be so uncaring? How could he even step into Animal Restaurant without me??

At ten minutes to midnight I heard Peter’s car pull up the driveway. This was several hours after I assumed he had finished his dessert (the now famous Bacon, Chocolate Crunch Bar). I was ready for a battle, but didn’t jump up and yell at him like I wanted to. What was I going to say?… “You ate Animal’s house-cured, crispy Pork Belly WITHOUT me, so now you’re sleeping on the couch!”?

With just a hint of sarcasm I blurted out “How was dinner?”. Before Peter said a word, he handed me a bag. “Oh golly, THANKS…. scrappy leftovers” I thought. When I looked in the bag I just smiled. My wonderful and caring husband had brought me my very favorite dish from my very favorite restaurant…. the Foie Gras on a Biscuit with Maple Sausage Gravy. It was perfect and it was officially “MyLastBite” of 2008.
Foie Gras To Go! MyLastBite.com

Foie Gras To Go (plated)! MyLastBite.com

My Dinners at Animal (with photos)

Animal Restaurant
http://www.animalrestaurant.com
435 N. Fairfax Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90036
(323) 782-9225

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Animal [8 & 9]

12/13/08 Dinner with Peter and Julian.

Crab Legs & Sweetbreads at ANIMAL, MyLastBite
New dishes we really enjoyed were 
King Crab Legs, Sweetbreads, Hush Puppies & Tabasco Butter$22

and

Flat Iron, PBR Fondue at Animal, MyLastBite.com
Flat Iron Steak, PBR (Pabst Blue Ribbon) Fondue, Cauliflower, Brussel Sprouts, $25

Foie Gras To Go (plated)! MyLastBite.com
 12/31/08 Foie Gras on a Biscuit with Maple Sausage GravyOfficially “MyLastBite” of 2008.

Animal Restaurant
http://www.animalrestaurant.com
435 N. Fairfax Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90036
(323) 782-9225

Dining Dates:
12/13/08
12/31/08

-> Visit #10

<- Visit #7

Animal on Urbanspoon

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Animal Gets Cookin’

When I heard that my favorite L.A. chefs (Animal Restaurant’s Vinny Dotolo and Jon Shook) were offering a cooking class, I immediately signed up and invited two friends, Jade and Afaf. I love the chefs new cookbook “Two Dudes, One Pan” which recently was voted one of the “Top 10 Cookbooks of 2008” by National Public Radio. The chapters in the book are divided up by pans: “The Big Bowl” (for salads & dressings), “Nonstick Skillet”, “Frying Pan”, “Dutch Oven”, “Roasting Pan” and “Baking Dish”. I’ve already tried some of the delicious recipes and am continuing to post them here.

The cooking class was held at “Let’s Get Cookin'” in Westlake Village. It was my first visit to this little gem and I loved the small culinary store up front. The shop is stocked with gourmet ingredients, artisanal pastas, cookware and tons of groovy gadgets!

The classroom area was located in the back of the space. It consisted of a long counter which worked as the “stage” area for guest chefs. We students were seated in chairs with tables that face the cooking stage. To the left of the students, there were in-house chefs assisting Vinny & Jon throughout their presentation.

It was all very organized and the evening flew by quickly. We watched as the chefs prepared five recipes from their book, and yes indeed…. we got to eat everything! Delicious and good fun!

On the menu:

Fennel Apple Salad, MyLastBite.com

Winter Fennel Salad w/ Apples, Grapes, Cinnamon Maple Vinaigrette

 

 
Carbonara, MyLastBite.comBucatini Carbonara w/ C Pancetta and Peas

 

 

Spicy Roasted Cauliflower, MyLastBite.com

Spicy Roasted Cauliflower w/ Capers and Parmigiano

 

 

Lemon Roasted Chicken, MyLastBite.comLemon Roasted Chicken

 

 

Fallen Chocolate Cake with Rum Caramel Sauce, MyLastBite.comFallen Chocolate Cake w/ Rum Caramel Sauce

 

 

The recipes can be found on the following pages of “Two Dudes, One Pan” by Jon Shook & Vinny Dotolo.

Winter Fennel Salad w/ Apples, Grapes, Cinnamon Maple Vinaigrette, pg. 30

 Fennel Salad, MyLastBite.com

Bucatini Carbonara w/ Pancetta and Peas, pg. 154

Pasta Carbonara, MyLastBite.com

Spicy Roasted Cauliflower w/ Capers and Parmigiano, pg. 178

Spicy Cauliflower, MyLastBite.com

Lemon Roasted Chicken, pg. 189
Lemon Roasted Chicken, MyLastBite.com

Fallen Chocolate Cake with Rum Caramel Sauce, pg. 231
Fallen Chocolate Cake, MyLastBite.com

—————–

Photos after the class…
Jon, Jo, Vin, MyLastBite.com
 Jon, Jo & Vinny

Afaf with Chef Jon Shook, MyLastBite.com
 Afaf & Jon

Jade with Chefs Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo, MyLastBite.com
 Jon, Jade & Vinny

Original Class Date: Wednesday, November 12, 6:30 PM

Cost: $80 per person

My visits (with LOTS of food photos) to Animal Restaurant

About Let’s Get Cookin’

The Book

Animal Restaurant Website

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Great Chefs of L.A. 2008

Last week I attended the 22nd Annual Great Chefs of Los Angeles event. It was held nearby at CBS studios, and the proceeds went to the National Kidney Foundation.

Participating Chefs (and Restaurants) included: The Event Host – Govind Armstrong (8oz. & Table8), Chef of Honor – Gino Angelini (Angelini Osteria and La Terza,) Neal Fraser (Grace & BLD), Celestino Drago (Drago Restaurant), Frank Leon (La Loggia), Andrew Steiner (Andrew’s Cheese Shop), our friends Vinny Dotolo and Jon Shook (Animal) and many more. 

Unfortunately for me I came down with a stomach flu a few days before the event, which is a food writer’s worst nightmare for sure. Luckily what I also had was my firefighter-in-training, eating-machine nephew Cody joining me, so it was a fun afternoon watching him enjoy all the things I couldn’t.

Of the few bites I did take, my favorites were the Apple Pie “Cappuccino” from The BLVD, Timanoix Cheese from Andrew’s Cheese Shop and the tummy comforting Grilled Cheese with Pulled Shortribs from 8oz.

Cody really loved EVERYTHING and said his favorites were the Kataifi-Wrapped Langoustine in a Poached Lettuce Cream Sauce by La Loggia, and the Duck Confit from The Blvd. We both loved Animal’s Pork Belly & Kimchee which we always order at the restaurant.

Smoked Scallops, MyLastBite.com
Smoked Scallop Carpaccio with Pomegranate Seeds by Panzanella Restaurant

Wild Boar, MyLastBite.com
Wild Boar with Soft Polenta topped with Fig Sauce by Drago Restaurant

Crab Salad Spoons, MyLastBite.com
Dungeness Crab Salad with a Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette by Grace Restaurant

 Langoustine in a Poached Lettuce Cream Sauce, MyLastBite.com
Kataifi-Wrapped Langoustine in a Poached Lettuce Cream Sauce by La Loggia Restaurant

Apple Pie Cappuccino, MyLastBite.com
Apple Pie Cappuccino and Duck Confit with Potato Wrapper from The BLVD at the Beverly Wilshire

Grilled Cheese w/ Pulled Shortribs, MyLastBite.com
Grilled Cheese with Pulled Shortribs from 8oz.

Animal's Pork Belly, MyLastBite.com
Animal’s Pork Belly

Animal's Pork Belly, MyLastBite.com
Pork Belly & Kimchee by Animal

Chef Vinny Dotolo, MyLastBite.com
Chef Vinny Dotolo, Animal

Cody and Rick Baker, MyLastBite.com
Cody with Special Effects Master, Rick Baker

 Thomas Lennon, Cody, Jeff Garlin, MyLastBite.com
Thomas Lennon (Reno 911), Cody, Jeff Garlin (Curb Your Enthusiasm)

Event Date: Sunday November 9, 2008, CBS Studios (Radford).

More about the Kidney Foundation

Restaurant & Food Links:

Andrew’s Cheese

Animal

Drago

Grace

La Loggia

Panzanella

8oz. Burger Bar

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Animal [7]

I eat anything. Even if I don’t particularly like it, I’ll still eat it if it’s served. Except when it comes to lamb.

My first experience with lamb was during a visit to my father in Scotland when I was sixteen. We went to a restaurant that served authentic Scottish dishes and I was served mutton. I thought it the most disgusting thing I had ever seen or smelled, and embarrassed my dad by refusing to eat it.

Over the years I associated all lamb with mutton. Of course I eventually learned that lamb, young lamb, had a totally different taste than old skanky mutton meat. Still I wavered whenever I was served lamb at a friend’s house or at a party. I NEVER ordered it in restaurants and it became sort of a joke in my family…. “oh Jo will eat anything but lamb”.

There were some rare instances in my life where I ate lamb and actually liked it. Like when my Greek friends Elli and Daphne worked at their mother’s restaurant in Eugene, Oregon. Poppi served Greek and Indian food in her charming spot called “Anatolia”. During one summer visit we had a picnic by a lake. After swimming and relaxing on the shore, Poppi brought out a basket of leftovers from the night before and started plating up some garlic rubbed, grilled lamb souvlaki. I took a deep breath (trying to plug my nose from the inside) and reached for a stick of lamb. I took one bite, then took a breath. I don’t know if it was the garlic or the fresh Oregon air, but I liked it! I had seconds!

That was twenty years ago.

This past summer I went to the Gourmet on Fire food event with friends and family. My favorite bite of the event? Neal (Grace & BLD) Frasers LAMB Burgers. Yep. Lamb. I had seconds AND thirds. Recently I chatted with chef Fraser and told him how much I loved those burgers. My husband butted in and said “and she doesn’t eat lamb, so that’s a real compliment”.

While eating dinner at Animal Restaurant last week, chef Vinny whispered that he would be getting some amazing lamb in the next day. I sort of gave him a blank look and said “Great!”… but honestly I was thinking “Oh my but I don’t eat lamb! ANYTHING BUT LAMB!”. My husband does eat it, so I figured I would make him order it the next time we went to Animal… which was last night.

We had an early dinner with friends Jeffrey and Rina. Our server Billy recommended the LAMB, so we ordered it of course, as well as the Rock Cod, Raw Amberjack, Petit Basque and Fried Hominy. I also ordered the Duck Confit as a “back up” for me in case I couldn’t take eating the dreaded lamb.

Well surprise, surprise! I thought the Leg of Lamb was WONDERFUL. Tender, pink and juicy, served on a bed of stewed peppers and potatoes. I should have known not to worry if it came from the Animal kitchen!

So for any “lamb naysayers” out there… take note. I can now stand tall, with my head held up high and say with fierce conviction… “I EAT ANYTHING… EVEN LAMB!”.

Animal Restaurant's Duck Confit by MyLastBite.com
Duck Confit, Orange Braised Fennel, Shishito Peppers $15

Animal Restaurant's Rock Cod by MyLastBite.com
Rock Cod, King Crab, Tabasco Butter, Gold Rice Succotash Cipollini $26

Animal Restaurant's Fried Hominy by MyLastBite.com
Fried Hominy with Lime $5

Animal Restaurant's Leg of Lamb by MyLastBite.com
DELICIOUS Leg of Lamb for Two, Stewed Peppers and Potatoes $52

Dining Date 11/2/08

“Anything But Lamb” by Jo Stougaard

-> Visits 8 & 9

<- Visits 5 & 6

Animal Restaurant
http://www.animalrestaurant.com
435 N. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90036
(323) 782-9225

Queen City Grill on Urbanspoon

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