Tag Archives: los

Saam (Bazaar visit 9, Saam visit 1)

Dining in the new Saam restaurant makes you feel special. It’s located behind a secured, nondescript door near Bar Centro, at the Bazaar by José Andrés. Each of the twenty courses (one or two bites each) are brought out on individual plates, while you sit at one of the exclusive, coveted tables. To me, it feels like a sleek and sexy modern-day speakeasy.

Saam at the Bazaar, MyLastBite.comThe service? Impeccable. I haven’t been to Alinea yet, but I’m guessing the experience is close, or at least as close as we’re going to get here in Los Angeles! It’s like flying first class, where you’re treated like a celebrity and you know it. Especially true for an early dinner on opening weekend. We were one of the first to be seated for the Saturday evening service, and at times there were four staff members looking after the two of us.

The food? It was my ninth visit to the Bazaar and I knew the menu backwards and forwards, so I was pleasantly surprised to find each dish “kicked up a notch”, and thrilled to try a few new bites as well. I found myself mouthing “wow” to my husband Peter, especially when we were served updated versions of dishes we tried on previous visits.

“Saam: The Chef’s Tasting Menu” is printed on top of each take-home menu (rolled up and tied with a little black ribbon), a great souvenir to remember an elegant evening. But throughout our wonderful dinner, I couldn’t help but feel there was something missing. The food was the best I’d ever had at the Bazaar, so that wasn’t it. Our server Charlie was attentive, engaging and throughly knowledgeable. Carolina was nearby in case we had any needs or questions as well. Managers William and Felix stopped by to ensure that we (and later, each and every table) were enjoying the evening, but my dinner still felt incomplete. Why?

Because “Saam: The Chef’s Tasting Room” was missing the one thing I love most about the Bazaar (besides the food), it was missing the chefs.

My favorite tables at the Bazaar are one of the two “Tron” tables in the Rojo room. They’re not officially called “Tron” tables… that’s just what we call them because they have cool laser-like red lights beneath the surface. The few times I’ve been lucky enough to have a seat facing the open kitchen was at one of the these tables. I loved watching Chef Voltaggio warm up the “smoking” gun to finish off the salmon dishes. And as a fan of the show “Top Chef”, could there be anything better than seeing Chef Marcel Vigneron working the foam? By the way, I think the show portrayed him as an arrogant nitwit, because in person he’s a real sweetheart. 

After we finished our evening at Saam, we made our way to the Rojo kitchen where the kitchen staff was in full swing. It was busy, crowded and the room was filled with the frenetic energy that I missed. It sort of felt like I had been at the wrong party earlier.

Do I recommend Saam? Absolutely. Especially if it’s your first visit to the Bazaar. It’s quieter and more focused than either the Rojo or the Blanca room, and you’ll be carefully guided through a palate pleasing, high-flying experience. Heck, it’s not that I don’t like flying first class (the few times I’ve experienced it), it’s just that I like watching the crew even better.

Tasting Menu is $120 per person.

Saam at the Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Course #1: Salt Air Margarita. Delicious as always.

Saam at the Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Course #2: Sweet Potato Chips and Yogurt Dip. I love the anise flavor in the yogurt.

Saam at the Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
 Caviar Steamed Bun. Using the steamed bun makes for a nice twist on a classic.

Saam at the Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Course #4: Olive Oil Bonbon This was such a treat!! I first saw this being made on “Gourmet’s Diary of a Foodie” by Chef Andrés and his Minibar Chefs: Ruben Garcia and Katsuya Fukushima. It’s like a candy shell filled with olive oil. Into your mouth and it crumbles. SO AMAZING.

Saam at the Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Course #5: Bagel and Lox Cone. Delicious as always.

Foie Gras Cotton Candy, MyLastBite.com
Course #6: Cotton Candy Foie Gras (foie gras rolled in corn nuts). Still a favorite and so good I forgot to take a photo before eating! (photo from previous visit)

Saam at the Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Course #7: Olives Ferran Adria. My first love (and why I started taking Molecular Gastronomy classes last year!)

Saam at the Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Course #8: Jose’s Ham and Cheese.  I LOVED the Jamón Ibérico with the soft La Serena cheese inside the “air bread”. This was one of the “kicked up” dish updates, similar to “Philly Cheesesteak”. La Serena is a creamy, aromatic (aka really stinky which I love!) cheese from Extremadura in Western Spain.

Saam at the Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Course #9: Sea Urchin Conservas. Fantastic flavors AND presentation.

Saam at the Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Course #10: Boneless Chicken Wing. Delicious as always.

Saam at the Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Course #11: Shrimp Cocktail. The updated cocktail sauce was richer, almost creamy.

Saam at the Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Course #12: Nitro Gazpacho. I always love when the Liquid Nitrogen cart rolls up! Gazpacho “cooked” in the nitro.

Saam at the Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Course #13: Blufin Tuna Toro (and Norwegian Lobster). Both AMAZING.

Saam at the Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Course #14: Norwegian Lobster.
Perfection in one bite.

Saam at the Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Course #15: “Smoked” Salmon. Another favorite, the dish is finished using a “smoking gun”.

Saam at the Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Course #16: Not Your Everyday Caprese (top). I recently learned how to make these liquid mozzarella balls!

Course #17: Tournedos Rossinii 2009. Wagyu beef, truffle and foie gras. MORE PLEASE!

Saam at the Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Course #18: Dragon’s Breath (caramel popcorn “cooked” in liquid nitrogen). Currently only served in the Saam room, we’ve enjoyed it several times before. It’s FUN!

Saam at the Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Felix Meana making Dragon’s Breath

Saam at the Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Coconut in a “Half Shell”. Peter loved all three desserts. I was too full!

Saam at the Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Chocolate Biscuit Coulant Michel Bras (above) and Petit Fours: Tablets, Bonbons

Saam, at the Bazaar by José Andrés, SLS Hotel
 465 South La Cienega Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 9004
(310) 246-5555
Dining date: 4/11/09

Mentioned above:

Tron, the movie

Tron, the table

Alinea (someday!)

Top Chef

Smoking Gun

Molecular Gastronomy Classes

Gourmet’s Diary of a Foodie

Watch the episode with the Olive Oil Bonbon!

MiniBar

In the kitchen with the chefs

<< Bazaar Visit #8

Bazaar Visit #10 >>

All my Bazaar photos on Flickr

Saam at the Bazaar By José Andrés on Urbanspoon

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Filed under Eating Out, Molecular Cooking

The Bazaar by José Andrés [8]

Sunday night at the Bazaar with Phil from “My Life As A Foodie”, his wife Katrina, and fellow food-lovers Dean and Stephanie.

When we were seated at the “Chefs Table” in the Rojo Room, Peter and I made sure that he and I were the two diners facing AWAY from the open kitchen. We had four eager “Bazaar Virgins” with us and for them to get the most of the experience, they faced the chefs, giving them first-class seats to the “show”!

We shared many of what I now call “essential” tapas from both the Blanca and Rojo menus. These are dishes we get every visit and include: Jamón Ibérico, Chicken and Béchamel Fritters, Sea Urchin with Avocado in a Steamed Mini Bun and Philly Cheesesteak Air Bread (photo links below).

This was my eighth dinner at Bazaar. Had I tried everything on both the Rojo and Blanco menus? Well no, to be honest there were still a few vegetable dishes I’d been avoiding. It’s not that I don’t like veggies, it’s just that when presented with a choice between plump butifarra (sausage) or brussel sprouts… I’m going to always insist on the meats (or seafood or foie gras) first.

Our evening was made even more delightful when Chef Voltaggio presented a NEW, elegant salmon dish that he wanted us to try. The “Smoked” Salmon was cooked sous vide (French for “under vacuum”), served with cucumber “noodles” and set on top of a small potato blintz. This was all presented under a glass dome and served on a piece of black slate. Before leaving the kitchen, the dome was lifted slightly and Chef Voltaggio “smoked” the salmon with a culinary *smoking gun. When the servers brought the salmon to the table, puffs of smoke gently wafted from under the glass as the domes were removed. It was cool (and tasted heavenly).

General Manager, William Douillet, seemed to always “magically” appear when there was the slightest inquiry.  Thoughtful and courteous, he always makes each visit a “special” occasion. Our four friends, no longer “Bazaar Virgins”, still haven’t stopped talking about the experience.

Tapas we tried on this visit:

Ajo Blanco, MyLastBite.com
Ajo Blanco: White Gazpacho, Tomatoes, Grapes, Raisins, topped with Tomato Granita $5. I loved this savory dish (sort of like a panna cotta), especially the texture of the granita on top.

Cauliflower "Couscous", MyLastBite.com
Sautéed Cauliflower “Couscous”
: Cauliflower puree, harissa, pomegranate $8. The tiny, crunchy bits of cauliflower were terrific mixed with the pomegranate.

Brussel Sprout Leaves, MyLastBite.com
Brussel Sprout Leaves with lemon purée, apricots, grapes and lemon “air” $8. I hated brussel sprouts as a kid, so the fact that I actually liked this was a nice surprise.

Buñuelos, MyLastBite.com
Buñuelos (Codfish Fritters) with Honey Aoli $8. I liked that I could really taste the fish in these fried balls. Usually with deep-fried fish, all I taste is the “fried” part.

Quesos, MyLastBite.com
Cheese from right to left: This was my first taste of 
La Serenaa creamy, aromatic (aka really stinky which I love!) cheese from Extremadura in Western Spain. Valdeón is a rich, creamy, intensely-flavored cow and goat’s milk blue cheese, saltier than Stilton and not as intense as Cabrales. Idiazábal is the national cheese of the Basque country, is made from sheep’s milk and is usually smoked. Served with Picos (Spanish crispy bread) and Quince jam. 3 Quesos $15

"Smoked" Salmon 1, MyLastBite.com
The “Smoked” Salmon arriving at our table…

"Smoked" Salmon 3, MyLastBite.com
The
“Smoked” Salmon, cooked sous vide with Cucumber Noodles, then “smoked” with a smoking gun, served over a small Potato Blintz. The flavors and textures were OUTSTANDING… perfectly cooked salmon, with faux cucumber noodles on crispy potatoes.

Wild Mushroom Rice, MyLastBite.com
Wild Mushroom Rice with Idiazábal Cheese, $10. A creamy, savory tapas version of the rice dish Marcel surprised us with on visit #4 (sans truffles).

“Essential” Bazaar Tapas that we get on every visit:

Sea Urchins, Avocado in a Steamed Mini Bun

Jamón Ibérico (Iberian Ham)

Chicken & Béchamel Fritters

Philly Cheesesteak Air Bread 

‘Pa amb’ tomaquet (bread with tomato in Catalan)

Mentioned above:

My Life as a Foodie
(with many more Bazaar dinner details)

The Smoking Gun

More about Sous Vide cooking

Chef Michael Voltaggio

Manager William Douillet

My Bazaar Photos on Flickr

Bazaar by José Andrés, SLS Hotel
465 South La Cienega Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90048
(310) 246-5555
http://www.thebazaar.com

Dining Date: 3/29/09

<– Bazaar Visit 7

Bazaar Visit 9 –>

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Filed under Eating Out, Molecular Cooking

Sage Potato Chips

I love making crispy fried sage. They’re just great on top of grilled steak or even crumbled on hashed browns. Sometimes I just eat them by themselves like potato chips, simply fried in olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt.

Sage Chips Photo #7 MyLastBite.comSo when I saw a recipe for “Sage Potato Chips” in Saveur Magazine, I knew I’d have to try it out immediately. The original recipe is by Chef Dan Barber of Blue Hill at Stone Barns, and I was totally mesmerized by the accompanying photograph in the magazine. I used the ingredients that I already had in my kitchen, and it was easy and delicious. 

What you need:
Potatoes (I had Russet on hand)
Sage Leaves
Oil
Sea Salt
Paprika 

Step 1: Clean and dry sage and potatoes
Sage Chips Photo 1 MyLastBite.com

Step 2: Using a mandolin, make long slices of the potato
Sage Chips Photo 2 MyLastBite.com

Step 3: Make 2 cuts in the center of the potato to hold the sage leaf
Sage Chips Photo 3 MyLastBite.com

Step 4: Heat up oil to 200 degrees and fry each potato slice (without the sage) for ten seconds each then drain
Sage Chips Photo 4 MyLastBite.com

Step 4: After the potato piece cools down a bit, insert one sage leaf into the center cuts. Note: I had BIG sage leaves in my garden and had to adjust the slits so they fit.
Sage Chips Photo 5 MyLastBite.com

Step 5: Raise the oil in the pan to 350 degrees and fry slices again (with the sage leaves inserted) until golden and crispy
Sage Chips Photo 6 MyLastBite.com

Step 6: Season with sea salt and paprika
Sage Chips Photo 8 MyLastBite.com

Dan Barber’s Original Recipe and Photo Here

Sage Potato ChipsMentioned Above:

Saveur Magazine

Article about Blue Hill at Stone Barns

About Chef Dan Barber

15 Comments

Filed under Recipes

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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Filed under Eating Out, Little Bites

Animal’s Loco Moco

ilikai hotel, MyLastBite.comI first tried Loco Moco back in 2003 while on vacation with my husband in Hawaii. It was Peter’s first visit to the islands, and I insisted that we stay at the Ilikai Hotel on Oahu. I’ve always been a huge fan of  “Hawaii Five-O”, and if you remember the opening credits with the cool, balcony shot of Jack Lord (aka the legendary Steve McGarrett!), then you’ll recognize the Ilikai Hotel. We had such a fun time visiting random locations from the show, and we definitely made an effort to eat like the locals.

Loco Moco Hawaii 2003, MyLastBite.comOur favorite dish was (of course) the Loco Moco. The traditional version is made with white rice, hamburger, fried eggs and brown gravy. We first ordered the burger version for breakfast at our hotel, and also tried a SPAM version (instead of beef) that I loved.

It’s been almost six years since I enjoyed that first plate of Loco Moco and I guess I just never thought about searching it out in Los Angeles. So when I read about Animal’s version on TastingTable last week, my heart skipped a beat and I sent Peter a text: “WE NEED TO GET TO ANIMAL NOW!”

Animal’s Loco Moco (below) is anything but “traditional”, and should probably be called “Beyond Loco Moco”, or simply “WHACK”! The dish exemplifies the reason I love Animal so much… because chefs Vinny and Jon are absolutely FEARLESS. Their version doesn’t come with just the burger or a piece of SPAM. It comes with BOTH, and they top it off with an insanely decadent piece of seared foie gras and a fried quail egg.

Foie Gras Loco Moco! MyLastBite.com

It was so good that Peter and I couldn’t stop laughing while we ate it! You know, that guilty “we should be ashamed but we’re NOT” sort of laughing. I can still taste the runny egg yolk spilling over the seared foie gras, through the crispy spam and tender beef, then down to the bottom of the gravy soaked rice. 

Foie Gras Loco Moco! MyLastBite.com

Of course it was rich… and I admit that I made sure Peter and I both took our 81 grams of heart-healthy aspirin afterwards. A few days later, I’m pretty certain I still haven’t worked off the calories, but it was SO worth it! Foie Gras Loco Moco, Quail Egg, SPAM, Niman Ranch Burger, Anson Mills Gold Rice, $35

Crispy Hominy and Lime, MyLastBite.com

I try to order only new things when we eat at Animal, but Peter insisted on getting his favorite Crispy Hominy and Lime! $5

Fluke Crudo, MyLastBite.com
Along with the Loco Moco we did select a light and healthy dish (above) that we loved. The palate-cleansing and refreshing Sliced Fluke, Citrus, Mint, Sea Salt & Jalapeno, $12. (See? They make healthy dishes too!)

[Visit #11)

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

Mentioned Above:

Tasting Table

Opening Scene of Hawaii Five-O

Ilikai Hotel

More SPAM

Loco Moco on Wikipedia

A few more Hawaii Photos:
Hawaii 2003, MyLastBite.com   Hawaii 2003, MyLastBite.com

< Animal Visit #10

Written by Jo Stougaard ©MyLastBite.com All Rights Reserved.
No usage allowed including copying or sharing without written permission.

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Filed under Eating Out, Food Stories (written by me)

The Bazaar by José Andrés [7]

You would think after six group dinners at the Bazaar, I’d have tried everything on the menu right? Wrong.

I thought so too until I started ticking off each dish on a contraband menu that I brought home last month. The truth is, I even started forgetting dishes that I had already tried a few months back, like the Butifarra: Catalan Pork sausage, white beans, mushrooms Senator Moynihan. I tried it on my first visit, but didn’t take a photograph of it… so I forgot.

Visit #7 was a Bazaar “Girl’s Night”!
With Ashley, MyLastBite.comA few months ago I “met” Ashley on Facebook. We were always commenting on the same food photos (by mutual friends) or posting notes about restaurants we’d recently tried. After we became Facebook “friends”, I invited her to our Slumdog Oscar Party and we quickly planned a night out at the Bazaar.

Our “Girl’s Night” fell on a Tuesday, and it was the first time I’d been to the Bazaar on a weeknight. I figured it would be slower than the weekend, and was surprised to see every table filled when we sat down in the Rojo (my favorite) Room.

There were several “restaurant celeb” sightings that evening, including Brent Bolthouse tucked into one of the black leather booths. At the table to the left of us was a writer from “Travel and Leisure” Magazine, and we overheard that another great review was on the way. Seated to the right of us in the second leather booth, was none other than Chef Octavio Becerra from Palate Food and Wine. When he got up at the end of his meal, I stopped him to say hello. Peter and I love his “Porkfolio” and Salmon Rillettes!

This was Ashley’s first visit to the Bazaar, so we ordered a few of the “must haves” tapas including the Philly Cheesesteak with Air Bread, Foie Gras Cotton Candy and tender Lamb Loin (links to photos below). When I scanned the menu, I didn’t remember trying the Butifarra and white bean dish so we ordered that as well, and that turned out to be our favorite dish of “Girl’s Night”!

Butifarra, MyLastBite.com
Butifarra: Catalan Pork sausage, white beans, mushrooms Senator Moynihan. The white beans were incredible… soft on the inside with a light crispy topping.

Caesar Salad (photo by Ashley Rosen) MyLastBite.com
Organized Caesar Salad with Quail Egg and Parmesan

Roe Cone (photo by Ashley Rosen) MyLastBite.com
Soy-marinated
Salmon Roe Cones

Bazaar Lollipops (photo by Ashley Rosen) MyLastBite.com
Chocolate Lollipops: Raspberry White Chocolate and Candied Orange Peel Chocolate

Additional Dishes We Shared:
Philly Cheesesteak: Air Bread, Whipped Cheddar and Wagyu Beef 

Foie Gras rolled in Corn Nuts and wrapped in Cotton Candy

Chicken and Béchamel Fritters

Lamb Loin with Mushrooms and Potato

Bazaar by José Andrés, SLS Hotel
465 South La Cienega Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90048
(310) 246-5555
http://www.TheBazaar.com

Dinner with Ashley, 3/24/09

 

Thanks William! MyLastBite.com
Thank you William!

Mentioned Above:
Facebook

Slumdog Oscar Party

Brent Bolthouse

Travel and Leisure Magazine

Chef Octavio Becerra

Palate Food and Wine

Porkfolio & Salmon Rillettes

<– Bazaar Visits 5 & 6

–> Bazaar Visit 8

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Filed under Eating Out, Molecular Cooking

She Takes The Cake!

Check out the beautiful birthday cake that my sister Janet gave me last week…  
Cake is what you make it! MyLastBite.com

Kindal, Janet, Chace, MyLastBite.comWhen I first opened the cake box, I was sort of stunned because she knows I’m not really into sweets (I like a bite or two), but then her kids (twins, ages 13) started laughing and I realized it wasn’t really a sugary “dessert” cake at all! My very health-conscience, loving, big sister had given me a MEATLOAF and MASHED POTATO birthday cake!

Janet doesn’t like to handle red meat, so of course I asked “where did you have this made”? 

I was absolutely shocked to learn that she mixed up the RAW ground beef herself and spent the whole day baking, molding and decorating it. 

It was the most thoughtful (and delicious) birthday cake I’ve ever had, and it was even better the next day with fried eggs on top! 

I asked Janet for the recipe and she said she pretty much made it up as she went along, but here are her notes in case you want to try it:

“I actually used about 2 1/2 pounds of meat and then added about 1 1/2 cups of  bread crumbs, 3 eggs, sauteed onion (large), about 1/2 cup of heavy cream, salt & pepper & 1 tablespoon of Ranch Dressing dry mix.

I baked the 2 tiers in a greased pan for about an hour…let cool and then placed in fridge overnight…

For the frosting, I first made the mashed potatoes and then let them cool. Then I frosted the white potato base on the meat cake.

Next I mixed yellow food coloring into the white potatoes and added the yellow potatoes to a piping bag. Using a cake decorating tip, I added the yellow potato to the cake, then I mixed in red food coloring to make the orange!”

Meatloaf & Potatoes! MyLastBite.com   Eggs on Meatloaf Cake, MyLastBite.com

Thanks again! Can’t WAIT for next year!

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Filed under Recipes

The Bazaar by José Andrés [5,6]

Friday night at the Bazaar with the guys. No special occasion, just me and three handsome men celebrating the coming weekend with groovy, “new way” cocktails and platters of mostly “modern” tapas.

Joining me was my husband Peter (of course), our friend Julian (an artist and musician in Peter’s band), and photographer extraordinaire Andrew Macpherson. This was Julian and Andrew’s inaugural visit to the Bazaar, and I’ve jokingly started to call these first timers my “Bazaar Virgins” when I check in with the hostess… which pretty much makes me the devoted “Bazaar Courtesan”, I know.

So what’s better than Friday night at the Bazaar with three adventurous, sophisticated and talented men?

The answer of course is, Saturday night at the Bazaar with three adventurous, sophisticated and talented men! That’s right… we went two nights in a row, but understand this is only because we heard that the man himself, the one and only José Andrés, would (possibly) be in town. Indeed he was, and I got serious goose bumps seeing him standing nearby in his sexy white chef coat! On his PBS show, “Made in Spain”, he usually dresses in casual button-down shirts and khaki pants, but watching him command the room in uniform was sort of intoxicating.

At first I was a little nervous for the staff, especially for the crew in the open kitchen. Andrés is a perfectionist and he was definitely inspecting (sometimes photographing) each dish as it went out to diners. I looked at his face and there was something missing. Where was the exuberant smile that he sports on television? Where was his jovial, “everybody’s my pal” demeanor? 

Then I thought, “oh, he’s WORKING… he’s the BOSS”, it’s the “Bazaar by José Andrés” after all! When he took a seat near our table, I began to hear his familiar laugh as he started to relax. Since I was so used to the “happy-go-lucky” chef on television, I had thrown myself into a nervous state when the “real-life, this-is-business” chef emerged. It was pretty funny that I was the one that was flustered, because when I looked back in the kitchen, I realized that the crew (and the entire staff for that matter) were calm and collected… confidently gliding through dinner service. 

As we enjoyed our drinks and tapas, I kept hoping that I’d get a minute with chef Andrés, so I could tell him how much I love his newest restaurant. By that point he had been out of the kitchen for over an hour or so, and was happily holding court in one of the big, black leather booths against the wall.

We had met before, briefly, at Wolfgang Puck’s American Wine and Food Festival last fall. I told him then how I couldn’t stop obsessing over a Spanish blue cheese that I first learned about on “Made in Spain”. He laughed when I blamed him for my creamy addiction and blurted, “Cabrales is like CRACK”! Not my classiest moment, but it was a good one.

After our extended Bazaar dinner, we did get to say hello and I was happily stunned to learn that José Andrés had visited my website. When I introduced myself, he said “I didn’t recognize you at first, without the bread in your mouth”. 

Note to self: From now on, carry a demi-baguette when dining out.

What we ate:

 'Pa amb' tomaquet, Jamones. MyLastBite.com
‘Pa amb’ tomaquet (bread with tomato in Catalan) – Toasted sliced rustic bread brushed with fresh tomatoes AND Jamones (“Flight of all three” platter): Jamón Serrano (literally mountain ham), Jamón Ibérico (Iberian Ham), Jamón Serrano de bellota (higher fat content than Jamón Serrano).

Dragon's Breath! MyLastBite.com
Making the “Dragon’s Breath”, Caramel popcorn bites cooked in liquid nitrogen.

Tres Dragons, MyLastBite.com
Andrew, Peter and Julian experiencing the “Dragon’s Breath”!  What a shame this has been removed from the regular menu (but may be available in the private Saam dining room).

Japanese "Taco", MyLastBite.com
Japanese “Taco”: Grilled eel, shiso, cucumber, wasabi, chicharron.

Above photos taken on Friday 3/13/09
Below photos taken on Saturday 3/14/09

Our Reserved Table at Bar Centro, MyLastBite.com
Our reserved table in Bar Centro

Magic Mojito, MyLastBite.com 
The “Magic Mojito” arrives with a martini glass filled with cotton candy. Then the waiter pours rum (strained over ice) which dissolves into the glass!

At the Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Peter and Andrew enjoying from top left: Pa’amb Tomaguet (Cataln Style toasted bread rubbed with tomato), Not Your Everyday Caprese (Tomato and Liquid Mozzarella Pipettes), Sweet Potato Chips with Tamarind Yogurt Dip, Jamón Ibérico. In the middle are the Papas Canarias (Salty, Wrinkled Potatoes, with Mojo Verde Sauce on the side) and a partial view of the Organized Arugula Salad (Raspberries, Corn, Cabrales Blue Cheese)

NOTE: Photographing at the Chef’s table is difficult. We jokingly called it the “TRON Table”!

Potato Foam, Caviar MyLastBite.com
Tortilla de patatas: Potato Foam, egg 63 (cooked at 63 degrees), caramelized onions (served in egg shell). I LOVE this new version of the potato foam. It used to come in a large martini glass and I prefer this smaller portion with more textures. On the right side of photo is the American Caviar Cone.

One Bite Wonder! MyLastBite.com
Foie Gras Cotton Candy! Me, Julian, my husband Peter and Andrew.

Meeting Jose, MyLastBite.com
Julian, Andrew, José Andrés, Peter

With Jose Andres, MyLastBite.com
Jo & José

At the Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
With the chefs that keep us coming back for more! Marcel Vigneron, (LUCKY me), Michael Voltaggio and Ruben Garcia

Bites we usually have on every visit:

Foie Gras and Quince on mini Brioche Bun

Organized Caesar Salad with Quail Egg and Parmesan

Boneless Chicken Wings with Green Olive Puree and Ice Plant

Foie Gras rolled in Corn Nuts and wrapped in Cotton Candy

Latas Y Conservas: King Crab and Raspberries

Philly Cheesesteak: Air Bread, Whipped Cheddar and Wagyu Beef 

Bazaar by José Andrés, SLS Hotel
465 South La Cienega Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90048
(310) 246-5555
http://www.TheBazaar.com

Mentioned above:

Andrew Macpherson’s Photographs

Julian Hill’s Artwork

Peter’s band, Rubylith

Meeting José the first time

Cabrales Cheese

Made in Spain 

<– Bazaar Visit #4

–> Bazaar Visit #7

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Filed under Eating Out, Molecular Cooking

Canned Joy

Nothin’ says lovin’ like a case of SPAM. I’ve loved it ever since I was a kid in Okinawa, and for my birthday this year, my adoring husband got me a case of assorted (I call it “gourmet”) SPAM. Peter also got me a pair of green, platform sandals that I’d been pining for, but I was more excited about the SPAM. Flavors in the case include: Hot & Spicy, Cheese, Smoked, Garlic, Turkey and BACON. That’s right… bacon flavored SPAM!

Birthday Spam! MyLastBite.com

Most of the expiration dates on the tins read “Mar 2012″, so it’s safe to say I won’t be powering through them anytime soon, and I wouldn’t want to. For me, these are high sodium childhood memories that mustn’t be eaten regularly, only as an occasional treat. I’ve learned my lesson in the past, so moderation (however difficult) is an absolute must.

This morning I set up a “wall of SPAM” behind my huge chopping block in the kitchen. It sort of reminds me of a tiny “Warhol Pop Art” installation and it just makes me smile. Now all I have to do is come up with some new spam-a-licious recipes!

Birthday Spam! MyLastBite.com
After unpacking the case.

My Mini Wall of Spam, MyLastBite.com
Part of my mini wall of SPAM


SPAM in my childhood

SPAM.com

Warhol

Me and Andy (on my birthday in 1986)

Pretty SPAM

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Filed under Little Bites

2009 James Beard Award Nominees

At the Bazaar, MyLastBite.comCongratulations to all the James Beard Award nominees… especially to my friends at the Bazaar!

About:
“The
James Beard Foundation Awards shine a spotlight on the best and brightest talent in the food and beverage industry.”

Best New Restaurant (requirements):
“A restaurant opened in 2008 that already displays excellence in food, beverage, and service and is likely to have a significant impact on the industry in years to come.”

The Nominees:

Cody's Birthday at Bazaar, MyLastBite.comThe Bazaar by José Andrés L.A.
Chef/Owner: José Andrés
Owners: Sam Narian and Philippe Starck

L2O Chicago
Chef: Laurent Gras
Owner: Richard Melman

Momofuku Ko NYC
Chef/Owner: David Chang

Scarpetta NYC
Chef/Owner: Scott Conant

With Jose Andres, MyLastBite.com

Full List of James Beard Award 2009 Nominees

My fantastic visits to the Bazaar
(with lots of food photos)!

Bazaar Visit #1

Bazaar visit #2

Bazaar Visit #3

Bazaar visit #4

(Visits 5 and 6 posted soon)

Bazaar photos on Flickr

Links to nominated restaurants:

Bazaar by José Andrés

L20

Momofuku Ko

Scarpetta


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Filed under Eating Out, Little Bites