Tag Archives: bistro

Deeply Madly Marché

Marché Restaurant Sunday Supper [Visit 6]

When Peter and I fall in love with a restaurant, we fall MADLY. Especially so, when it’s just a few minutes away from our home in Studio City. Although we tried to show some restraint in the past few weeks, we have NOT been able to stay away from our (now favorite) neighborhood spot.

During our New Year’s Eve dinner at Marché (link below), Chef Gary Menes told us about his upcoming “Sunday Suppers”. Instead of the regular tasting menu (which we LOVE because we share multiple plates), there would be a 4-Course Prix Fixe dinner for only $30.

When we learned (on yet another visit) that Marché server Ashton Sullivan would be the evening’s entertainment, we decided to make this first “Marché Sunday Supper” a good old fashioned party.

It’s not a real party without my nephews (big brothers to the twins), so Camron and Cody (along with their girlfriends) drove out from Glendora in the pouring rain. Friends Emrah & Silma trekked into the valley from over the hill, and although Lisa & Dave could have easily walked the few blocks to the restaurant, the streets were just too wet for a casual Sunday stroll.

The atmosphere is so cozy at Marché, especially on a cold and rainy night. Our table of ten hunkered down for a few hours of great food, drinks, soothing guitar by Ashton and of course lots of laughs. As Lisa (@DailyWine) tweeted the next morning: “You’re doing something right when place is packed on a Sun in LA in the rain”. So true.

Sunday Supper #1 [visit 6]:

Marché Restaurant visit 6
1st Course: Romey Lettuce, Goat Cheese, Apples, Cider Vinaigrette.
2nd Course: Soup – Okinawa Sweet Potatoes, Leeks, Truffle Scented Creme Fraiche.
3rd Course: Beouf Bourguignon (cooked sous vide for 36 hours at 60 degrees celsius), Pomme Puree.
4th Course: Creme Caramel, Coconut Butter Cookies.

Marché Restaurant visit 6
3rd course option (instead of the beouf bourguignon) was Blue Hubbard Squash, Wheat Berries, Smoked Pearl Onions, Sauce Soubise.

Marché Restaurant visit 6
Cody (my nephew) & his girlfriend Jade, Camron (my nephew) & his girlfriend Jennee at the first ever Sunday Supper at Marché Restaurant

Marché Restaurant visit 6
Peter having a laugh with Chef Menes

Marché Restaurant visit 6
Music by Ashton Sullivan
Marché Restaurant visit 6
With our good friends Emrah and Simla

Sunday Supper: $30
Quartino of Wine $5
Dining Date: 1/17/10 with Peter, Cody, Jade, Camron, Jennee, Lisa & Dave, Simla & Emrah.
Mentioned above:

Marché [Visit 5]
Marché Restaurant visit 5
Pig Candy: Applewood Smoked Bacon, Brown Sugar, Spices

Marché Restaurant visit 5
Veal Tongue Pastrami, Horseradish Creme Fraiche

Marché Restaurant visit 5
Jambon, Butter, Pain Grille

Marché Restaurant visit 5
Local Yellow Tail, Honshimegi Mushrooms, Sugar Peas, Green Garlic

Marché Restaurant visit 5
Healthy Family Farms Chicken, Purple Top Turnips, Chantrelle Mushrooms, Hearts of Romaine

Marché Restaurant visit 5
Prime Beef, Pomme de Terre, Torpedo Onions, Haritcots Verts, Red Wine

Dining Date: 1/08/10 with Peter, Bob, Lisa & Dave

Note: This restaurant is now closed. Please follow Chef Menes on Twitter

Marché
13355 Ventura Blvd.
Sherman Oaks, CA 91423
(818) 784-2915
Website

Update: 3/30/10 Read Jonathan Gold’s Review!

All Marché photos on Flickr

Marché [1 & 2]

Marché [3]

New Year’s Eve at Marché [4]

Marche on Urbanspoon

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A Bossa Nova New Year’s Eve

Bossa Nova music makes me feel giddy and extraordinarily happy. You know that feeling you get from listening to childhood records? A sudden spike of joy deep inside your soul?

Dancing with my big sister Janet, OkinawaWhen my sister Janet and I were growing up in Okinawa, our favorite records were the ones we weren’t allowed to play. Dutifully, we listened to Disney records that our grandparents mailed from the states, but we most enjoyed sneaking into our dad’s immaculate record collection.

He never found out about our little secret because my big sister was absolutely brilliant (even at seven years old). When we decided on an LP that we wanted to hear, Janet would pull THREE albums partially out of the record shelf. The one we wanted to hear was in the middle, the two others on each side were place holders (so she knew where to return the treasured vinyl). Big sis never allowed ME to actually TOUCH the records, which was probably a really good idea.

Our very favorite albums back then were Herb Alpert, and the awesome Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66. We knew all the words to “Mais Que Nada” (still do), and would invite friends over for after-school dancing. To this day, Bossa Nova is always on my party mix. Just try listening to “One Note Samba / Spanish Flea” without dancing or bobbing your head.

When Peter and I first met fifteen years ago, we bonded over discussions of Bossa Nova music. Two years later on our wedding day, I walked down the aisle to Astrud Gilberto’s “Summer Samba (So Nice)”. If you don’t know the song, the lyrics begin with:

“Someone to hold me tight, that would be very nice
Someone to love me right, that would be very nice

Someone to understand each little dream in me
Someone to take my hand and be a team with me

So nice… life would be so nice, if one day I’d find
Someone who would take my hand and samba through life with me”

And yes, it’s been SO NICE!

Marché Restaurant, MyLastBiteFor New Year’s Eve, we like to do something low-key. Sometimes we spend it with family, sometimes we cook together at home or go out to a nearby restaurant.

We’ve fallen in love with chef Gary Menes’ cooking at Marche’ recently, and luckily the restaurant is just a few minutes from our house. When I read there would be a live JAZZ band on New Year’s Eve, I don’t know why but I just assumed it would be modern or fusion jazz. Not my favorite, but I figured at least Peter would really enjoy it. Besides Bossa, I’m a big fan of New Orleans jazz (especially Preservation Hall, the legendary band we recently saw at Disney Hall).

We had a 9pm dinner reservation, and I knew the food would be fantastic (this would be our fourth visit) so I wasn’t going to let the jazz in the background bother me. The duo wasn’t playing when we were being seated, and after we settled in and put on our party hats, there it was…. glorious BOSSA NOVA!

Yes, it was an elegantly laid-back, truffle-filled (thank you chef Menes!) food fest of a New Year’s Eve at Marche’, but with our beloved Bossa Nova warming up the crowded yet cozy dining room, it felt more like a party just for two.

My very Last Bites in 2009:

Marché Restaurant, MyLastBite
Winter Black Truffle Risotto. Raviolli: Swiss Chard, Mascarpone, Reggiano, Chestnuts.

Marché Restaurant, MyLastBite
Foie Gras Terrine, Date Compote, Brioche. Romey Lettuce, Baby Beets, Goat Cheese, Pistachios.

Marché Restaurant, MyLastBite
Hokkaido Scallops, Cauliflower, Apple, Gastrique, Vaudouvan Butter.

Marché Restaurant, MyLastBite
Fennel, Orange, Pear, Forbidden Rice.

Marché Restaurant, MyLastBite
Healthy Family Farms Chicken, Peas, Carrots, Tendrils, Grits.

Marché Restaurant, MyLastBite
A5 Grade Australian 100% Wagu eye of RibEye , Pomme Puree, Hearts of Romaine, Bunch Onions, Red Wine

Marché Restaurant, MyLastBite
Calvados Brandy Cheesecake (plus lovely Caramel Apple Millefeuill, Apple Walnut Cake and Brown Sugar Ice Cream!) 

Note: This restaurant is now closed. Please follow Chef Menes on Twitter

 

Marché Restaurant, MyLastBiteMarché
13355 Ventura Blvd.
Sherman Oaks, CA 91423
(818) 784-2915
Website

Dining Date: 12/31/09 [this page is Visit 4]

Photos of all my dinners at Marché

Update: 3/30/10 Read Jonathan Gold’s Review!

Mentioned Above:

Bozza Nova from Wes Smith and Graham Dechter

All Marché photos on Flickr

More Okinawa Photos




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Marché [3]

We can’t seem to stay away from our favorite neighborhood bistro! Another fantastic evening Marché Restaurant:

Marché Restaurant visit 3
Amuse Bouche: Kumamoto Oyster w/ Minuet Sauce

Marché Restaurant visit 3
Pickled Fuyu Persimmon

Marché Restaurant visit 3
Perigord Truffle Risotto

Marché Restaurant visit 3
Coleman lettuce, baby beets, walnuts, goa cheese, herbs

Marché Restaurant visit 3
Arugula, tangerine, pecorino, pistachio, verjus vinaigrette

Marché Restaurant visit 3
Sushi grade big eye tuna, baby broccoli, forbidden rice, scallions, shitake, pea tendrils

Marché Restaurant visit 3
Creme Brulee & Beignet

Note: This restaurant is now closed. Please follow Chef Menes on Twitter

Marché
13355 Ventura Blvd.
Sherman Oaks, CA 91423
(818) 784-2915
Website

Dining Date: 12/26/09

Update: 3/30/10 Read Jonathan Gold’s Review!

Marché [1 & 2]

New Year’s Eve at Marché [4]

Marché [5 & 6]

Photos from previous dinners at Marché

Marche on Urbanspoon

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Marché [1 & 2]

CONGRATULATIONS to chef Gary Menes for the terrific L.A. Times review of Marché Restaurant (link below).

Peter and I have been eating at the Sherman Oaks location for years, and have happily returned to each new incarnation of the restaurant, formerly known as Max.

A few years ago, there was a daily show I watched regularly on cable called “Recipe TV”. It featured chefs from L.A. (as well as other cities) sharing recipes and cooking in their restaurant kitchens. Some of the chefs I enjoyed most were Dave Myers of Sona, Eric Greenspan (before he opened the Foundry) and Andre Guerrero (chef/owner) of Max restaurant in Sherman Oaks.

Since Max was just up the street, Peter and I got a kick out of ordering dishes that we had seen prepared on the show. The restaurant became our nearby “special occasion” place and we even celebrated New Year’s Eve in the elegant dining room one year.

Then in late 2008, Max restaurant was stripped down into a more casual bistro. At first, we were leery of trying out the new menu, but then fell absolutely in love with the Max Black Angus Burger and chicken liver pate’. That became our favorite comfort meal in the valley, and I would shamelessly dip my crispy fries into the creamy potted chicken liver like it was ketchup! French fries and chicken liver… a match made in heaven.

When I read that Max was being retooled, I figured it was the end of our favorite “old new” spot. Until I learned that the new chef had most recently worked at Palate Food + Wine in Glendale, under the helm of the awesome Octavio Becerra.

I’m happy to say, our first visit to the NEW Marché restaurant did not disappoint. Peter and I are looking forward to seeing (and of course TASTING) what’s next on the menu!

What we shared on our first visit:

Marché Restaurant, MyLastBite.com
Coddled Eggs, Summer Truffles

Marché Restaurant, MyLastBite.com
Scallops

Marché Restaurant, MyLastBite.com
Pork Rillette

Marché Restaurant, MyLastBite.com
Salad with Speck, Piedmontese Beef

Marché Restaurant, MyLastBite.com
Pork Belly with Figs

Marché Restaurant, MyLastBite.com
Apple Charlotte

Above Dining Date: 10/2/09

Below Dining Date: 11/28/09

Marché Restaurant, MyLastBite
Foie Gras Terrine, brioche au maison

Marché Restaurant, MyLastBite
Castelvetrano Olives with orange and pistou. Potted smoked prawns at Marché Restaurant

Marché Restaurant, MyLastBite
Local Calamari, Haricots Verts, Shitake, Meyer Lemon

Marché Restaurant, MyLastBite
Natural Beef, Potato, Red Wine

Photos from all my visits to Marché

Note: This restaurant is now closed. Please follow Chef Menes on Twitter

Marché L.A.
13355 Ventura Blvd.
Sherman Oaks, CA 91423
(818) 784-2915
Website

Mentioned Above:

L.A. Times Marché Review

L.A. Times Article about Max

Dining at Palate Food and Wine

Dining at the former MAX (Angus Burger)

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Bokado (now closed)

Bokado is a new Spanish restaurant, bar, and gourmet market, conveniently located ten minutes from my home in Studio City. I first read about it on LATimes.com last month, then added it to my lengthy “to do” list.

Bokado Brasserie, MyLastBite.comThe LA Times wrote:
The casual space blends the comfortable grace of a Basque asador (grillery and roast house) with a congenial full bar where updated pintxos (tapas) include spicy patatas bravas, artisanal cheeses and oysters Rockefeller.

When my husband Peter came home early from work last week, we decided to go out for a light dinner and drinks, because it was way too hot to cook, and almost too hot to eat! 

Bokado, which means “little bites” in Basque, sounded perfect. When we arrived, the outdoor patio tables were already filled, so we went inside (where it was nice and cool) and grabbed seats at the bar. The interior is modern but also really charming, with the small gourmet market (or gourmet counter really) at the entrance.

Bokado, MyLastBite.comAs we walked in, we couldn’t help but stop and admire the red-hot standing Berkel slicer near the front window. Someone once told me that the reason chefs prefer this motorless, hand-cranked meat slicer is because the blade doesn’t heat up when slicing paper-thin pieces of meats like prosciutto. On electric-powered slicers, the blade can become too hot, which in turn changes the flavor of the meat.

After we settled in our seats and ordered, I noticed that Bokado owner Frank Leon was in the house, graciously stopping at every table to say hello. Frank also owns La Loggia, a nearby Italian restaurant that we’ve gone to for years, and next to La Loggia is a tapas bar conveniently called “Next Door”, which Frank owns as well.

The tapas (or pintxos) we had at Bokado were delicious and filling, but we still need to go back for a full dinner. I really liked the bar atmosphere because it was light and relaxing, so I’m sure we’ll be spending a lot of summer evenings there with friends.

On our way out, we stopped to take a closer look at the goodies for sale at the cute, little market. The entire back wall was stacked with gorgeous baguettes, and the refrigerated display case held bottles of truffle oil, cheeses, meats and small containers of imported ingredients including quince paste. I like the flavor of quince because it’s not overly sweet, but have never purchased the paste to use at home.

When I asked to buy a container, the gals behind the register couldn’t find a price list anywhere, because as it turned out, they weren’t ready to actually SELL any of the market items yet! Peter and I just laughed and said we’d pick it up on our next visit, but owner Frank overheard the conversation and insisted we take home the quince paste as a gift. Thanks Frank!

Bokado Brasserie, MyLastBite.com
The Entrance. Outdoor patio area is to the right (see first photo above)

Bokado Brasserie, MyLastBite.com
Gourmet Market

Bokado, MyLastBite.com
Goodies!

Bokado, MyLastBite.com
Charming Decor

Bokado Brasserie, MyLastBite.com
Bar Menu

Bokado Brasserie, MyLastBite.com
Beer List

Bokado Brasserie, MyLastBite.com
Roasted Olives and Chilies. 

Bokado Brasserie, MyLastBite.com
Mac and MANCHEGO Cheese, Chicken Croquettes

Bokado Brasserie, MyLastBite.com
Charcuterie with Pan Con Tomate

Quince Paste from Bokado Market, MyLastBite.com
My Quince Paste!

Note: This restaurant is now closed

Bokado
12345 Ventura Blv.
Studio City, CA 91604
(818) 752-9222
Full Bar
Note: Bokado is open for breakfast and lunch too!

(no website)  

Bokado on LATimes.com

Berkel

La Loggia

About Pintxos

About Quince

More photos of Bokado on Flickr

Bokado on Urbanspoon

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Church and State (1 & 2)

Chef Walter Manzke’s smile is infectious. Wait, maybe I shouldn’t say “infectious” since we’re in the middle of the H1N1 Flu scare (I refuse to call it the OTHER name because I love my bacon).

Church and State, MyLastBite.comOn my first visit to Church and State, I didn’t get to meet the chef until evening’s end, when I stole a few seconds of his time to tell him how much Peter and I enjoyed the restaurant. During our entire dinner though, from across the room, I was carefully watching him as he expedited orders and finished off each plate in the open kitchen.

Between bites of the luxurious beef short-rib bordelaise and the perfectly baked (and cute) tiny ramekins of escargot, I would look over and see Chef Manzke’s face beaming. It’s almost like I could feel his joy drifting through the kitchen, then up above the beautiful, antiquated string of lights, and finally, smack down onto my plate.

Delicious food always makes me happy, but seeing chef Manzke’s ear-to-ear grin in the kitchen definitely made me more aware of the joy and care he (and his crew) puts into each dish.

Church & State, MyLastBite.comI love everything about this restaurant; the exterior, interior, the decor. It resides in a beautiful, old brick building that used to be the loading dock for the Nabisco Biscuit Company, and the downtown location makes me feel like I’m in New York City, or at least “New York Street” at Universal Studios. I was shocked how nearby it was as well: Door to door (with no traffic), it’s only fifteen minutes from our home in Studio City.

The bistro is casual enough for jeans and charming enough for a little, black dress. But personally, it makes me feel like dressing up in a boho-chic skirt, over-sized hoop earrings and chunky, cork platforms (something I imagine Ali MacGraw wore in the seventies, on fabulous trips to Paris).

The bar sits directly across from the kitchen, and we were seated near the large, front windows on our first two visits, with perfect views of both. There’s an antique absinthe dispenser on the bar counter which reminded me of the vintage absinthe spoons I started collecting back in 2001, when Peter worked on the marketing campaign for “Moulin Rouge!”

I think Toulouse-Lautrec himself would have loved one of the small tables along the cool, brick wall along the back. And just because I want to try a different view of the gorgeous room, that’s where you’ll find me on my next visit. Just look for the platform shoes and over-sized hoop earrings.

Church & State, MyLastBite.com
The entrance
Church & State, MyLastBite.com
Escargots de Bourgogne: Snails baked in Garlic and Parsley Butter, $12 (for 6). We will always order these on every visit!

Church & State, MyLastBite.com
They were SO GOOD.

Church & State, MyLastBite.com
Pied de Cochon: Pig’s feet and cheeks (made into a fritter cake), lentils, frisee aux lardons with a poached egg on top, $9. My FAVORITE dish so far! (Pied de Cochon means “pig’s foot” in French)

Church & State, MyLastBite.com
Tarte Flambée: Caramelized onions, Bacon, Gruyère cheese, $11. I love thin pizza crusts, and this was perfection.

Church & State, MyLastBite.com
Steak Frites: French fries, Sauce Béarnaise. Classic and DELICIOUS, we got the smaller “Petite Assiette” (small plate) size for $15 (full size, $25). Note: All the main dishes or “Plats Principaux” are offered in two sizes.

Church & State, MyLastBite.com
The whimsical interior.

Church & State, MyLastBite.com
Oreille de Cochon: Pig’s Ears with sauce bearnaise, $7. Courtesy of the nice couple sitting next to us. Crispy, Fatty, Goodness! (the pig’s ears, NOT the couple!)

Church & State, MyLastBite.com
Our wonderful server/pastry chef Marge (aka Mrs. Manzke!), showing us the dessert offerings for the evening.

Church & State, MyLastBite.com
I forgot what dessert we chose TO SHARE. Instead this incredible plank of sweetness was brought to us by Chef Manzke himself!

Apricot Tart, Pot de Crème au Chocolat, I loved the quenelle next to the chocolate (if I remember correctly, there were tiny delicious bits of toasted hazelnuts underneath), Apple Galette (I think), Croustade aux Fraises: Warm strawberry crips, vanilla ice cream.

I didn’t have the heart to tell the chef that I’m not really “into dessert” (one bite and I’m good). Luckily, Peter is INTO dessert, so even though we were full from dinner, we finished most of it!

Church & State, MyLastBite.com
The bar and Absinthe sign (it’s blurry, you’re not drunk)

Church & State, MyLastBite.com
Desserts and Cheeses in front of the open kitchen

Church & State, MyLastBite.com
The kitchen

Church & State, MyLastBite.com
Chef Manzke finishing two dishes, ticket orders

Church & State, MyLastBite.com
Top Left: Immersion Circulator (for cooking Sous Vide). Bottom Left: Chatting with chef Manzke. Right: Chef Walter Manzke expediting. I wanted so stand there all night and watch!

With Chef Walter Manzke, MyLastBite.com
All Smiles with chef Manzke.

Our perfect dinner was made even better by a chance meeting with Tasting Table’s Lesley Balla (former Eater LA editor). We’re “friends” on Twitter and Facebook, but it so was nice to say hello in person!

Church and State BistroChurch & State, MyLastBite.com

1850 Industrial St
Los Angeles, CA 90021
(213) 405-1434

Website (with pdf menu)

Reservations on OpenTable

Dining Dates:
4/5/09
5/2/09

Mentioned Above:

Moulin Rouge!

Toulouse-Lautrec

Absinthe (about)

New York Street, Universal Studios

Ali MacGraw

More about Chef Walter Manzke (work history)

Beef Short Rib Bordelaise that we had on our first visit

All my Church and State photos on Flickr

Church & State on Urbanspoon

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

Firefly

Recently, my husband and I had dinner with friends at Firefly restaurant, which is just up the street from our house. We used to go at least once a week, but then just sort of forgot about it for awhile. The restaurant is absolutely beautiful and a wonderful, romantic spot if you’re looking for a Valentine’s evening out. Ask for one of the tables in the alcoves, so you get a little privacy.

I used to always order their KILLER off-the-menu burger that’s topped with bacon and gorgonzola cheese. It comes with a side of the crispiest, thin-cut fries (just the way I like them). We would sometimes just sit at the bar to grab a quick bite after work and people-watch. This time I decided to try something new and and I’m happy to say it was all delicious. We will for sure be spending a lot more time with our old friend Firefly!
Heirloom Apple Salad at Firefly, MyLastBite.com 
Heirloom Apple Salad with five year old farmer’s gouda, baby celery, marcona almonds, cider vinaigrette
Hamachi on Crispy Rice, MyLastBite.com 
Hamachi Sashimi on Crispy Rice Cakes

"Terrorized" Rib Eye at Firefly, MyLastBite.com 
Grass-Fed “Terrorized” Rib Eye with warm spinach salad, toasted cashew, shallots, bacon, 25 year balsamic 

Firefly
11720 Ventura Blvd
Studio City, CA 91604
818 762-1833
 No Website but more info here  



 

Dining Date: 1/18/09

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