Tag Archives: chef de cuisine

Focus on Fullilove

Years ago, when I traveled the globe with a wildlife photographer, I spent hours in the field (from Africa to the Arctic) wielding a video camera and taking photography notes. When people see my snapshots of these wonderful adventures, they automatically assume that each moment was an all out adrenaline-rush.

Jo with Polar Bear, MyLastBite.comThe truth is, besides filming behind-the-scenes footage and organizing rolls of film (this was before digital cameras), most of my hours were spent simply waiting (along with the rest of the crew). If we weren’t waiting for the perfect light, then maybe we were waiting for an animal to appear. I personally remember always waiting for meal times, but mostly I was just waiting for something (anything) to happen. Be it the open plains of East Africa or an epic ice floe in the Arctic, I learned to devise a few tricks-of-the-mind to stay alert. That next shot could be the award-winning image my boss was always after, so there was no letting my guard down on the job.

Back then (1992-1994) I didn’t have an iPhone or a portable dvd player to entertain myself, but I did keep a walk-man tucked away in my gear. Batteries were a precious commodity in the field, so I restricted myself to just a few moments of music (usually Bowie) each day. Books were on hand of course, but I’d quickly burn through those and find myself again… waiting.

On Safari, MyLastBite.comOn safari in Tanzania, we spent a week watching cheetahs in the beautiful Serengeti. The first couple of days were great, but then I started isolating myself away from my boss and the fellow photographers. While we all sat waiting in our Landrover, I would just “check out” and focus on something apart from the WAITING. Sometimes I would look at a kopje (the rock formations) and spend the entire day “building” my dream home from start to finish. Compartmentalizing turned out to be a gift that I tapped into on a daily basis.

Searching for polar bears near the Arctic Circle was one of the more grueling trips for me. The tiny metal boats were uncomfortable, and we would spend hours and hours searching Wager Bay for swimming bears, especially hard-to-find cubs. The boats were open and I was well-protected from the freezing cold, but endless hours of bumping on the icy water were downright painful.

Working near the Arctic CircleMy job was to video-tape my boss photographing the bears, but when he wasn’t snapping pictures I would hunker down and compartmentalize myself into a fetal position. There was no way I could sleep in the bouncing boat, and one shout from the captain (“BEAR!”) had me up and ready with camera in hand. One of my favorite “surviving the boredom” games on this particular trip was to recreate entire musicals, from start to finish in my head. I’m sure everyone thought I was a nut, but that’s how I dealt with it.

I’ve used this coping skill in some restaurants and bars as well. Not to say I completely zoned out, crawled on the floor and sang “Funny Girl” to myself, but on several occasions I have had to BLOCK out one part of the experience to enjoy another. At times it’s the noise, or maybe the service was terrible. There have been plenty of times when I didn’t enjoy the food at all, so I focused on something else… like the cocktails or even the decor. I didn’t write about those experiences, because that’s not what I normally do.

A recent dinner at Davinci restaurant in Beverly Hills had me excited, but also a bit bewildered. Here, was this amazing chef bringing plate after plate of his exquisite spring menu to our table, but it was sort of like the food didn’t match the atmosphere. For the first hour or so, the background music was nice (a bit of bossa nova, which I love). But when I heard an unidentifiable disco track blaring through the dining room, just as I bit into a velvety Foie Gras Terrine I thought, “well okay, I’m just going to block out the jarring music… and focus on the food.”

The regulars seemed to really enjoy the festive music scene though. It was Saturday night after all, and as our meal progressed, the room became louder with patrons laughing, clapping and even dancing in the dining room. There’s nothing wrong with a rowdy night out with friends, but the raucous scene playing against the seductively, elegant food was pretty much a study in contrasts.

While writing this post, Peter reminded me of the “peach and Heath Bar” incident when we were first dating. After having dinner with a friend in Brentwood, we decided to get some frozen yogurt nearby. Since I couldn’t decide on what to get, Peter went first and asked for peach frozen yogurt with Heath bar candy (toffee & chocolate) crumbles on top. I thought it was just disgusting and for years after that, whenever I thought something didn’t go together, I would just say, “that is SO peach and Heath bar.” Mind you, I love peaches AND I love Heath bars… just not at the same time.

Chef Jason FulliloveExecutive Chef Jason Fullilove was most recently the chef de cuisine for Top Chef winner Ilan Hall’s The Gorbals. Having only tasted appetizers from when The Gorbals served at various events, we weren’t sure what to expect at Davinci. I did see a post by blogger “Food She Thought” that piqued my interest though (link below), so I knew we were in for some good grub.

The food far surpassed our expectations and Chef Fullilove was so welcoming, even sitting down with us a few times to discuss the courses. Our server, Alina, was super attentive as well and we loved our cozy booth in the corner near the stairs (ask for it if you make a reservation).

Eventually, Chef Fullilove said he’d like to open a “fun gastropub environment with cutting edge cuisine.” If the food we tasted is an indication of what the future holds, then I’ll be focusing on Fullilove for many years to come.

Chef Jason Fullilove
Lavender and Honey Granita Amuse: A welcoming & refreshing palate cleanser.

Chef Jason Fullilove
Fried Artichokes: Parsilage, Garlic, Preserved Lemons. So good we had to order a second plate. Each leaf pulled off like a crispy, artichoke chip.

Chef Jason Fullilove
Heirloom Beet Salad: Watermelon Radish, Humboldt Fog, Mache, Pistachio Vinaigrette. Peter and I always order beet salads if on the menu, but the HF cheese really complimented the tangy beets.

Chef Jason Fullilove
Foie Gras Terrine: Smoked Cashews, Candied Cocoa Nibs, Vanilla Gastrique. LIKE VELVET with a candy glass crunch on top.

Chef Jason Fullilove
Asparagus Ravioli: Pecorino, Cherry Tomatoes. Pasta in full Spring!

Chef Jason Fullilove
Squid Ink Linguini, Pomodoro, Loup De Mer. Earthy, luscious with flavors layered throughout.

Chef Jason Fullilove
Preserved Lemon Ricotta, Poached Figs, Pistachio Dust and Sage Foam. One bite of tart, sweet and creamy goodness.

Chef Jason Fullilove
Red Snapper with Lobster Vinaigrette, Smoked Lobster Emulsion, Black Prawns, Octopus Sausage and Black Octopus Cracklins.My personal favorite… Octopus SAUSAGE & Crispy BACON-like cracklin!

Chef Jason Fullilove
Colorado Spring Lamb Duo: House-cured Lamb Bacon, Fennel Puree, Market Vegetables. I don’t like lamb. Peter loves it… he especially loved it with the lamb bacon!

Desserts: I’m not a fan of desserts, but luckily our friends Phil & Kat had stopped by and joined us for the finish. I did have one bite of each and my favorite was the Strawberry Rhubarb Sorbet and the Panna Cotta with Butter Cookie Crumbs (below).

Chef Jason Fullilove
Strawberry Rhubarb Sorbet on left and Kiwi

Chef Jason Fullilove
Apple Zeppoli with Blueberry Cream Sauce

Chef Jason Fullilove
Meyer Lemon Panna Cotta with Butter Cookie Crumbs

Davinci Restaurantwebsite
9737 Santa Monica Blvd.
Beverly Hills 90210
(310) 888-0090

Follow Chef Fullilove on Twitter

Food She Thought’s visit

My former boss and (long-time friend!), photographer Thomas D. Mangelsen

The cheetahs we were watching

Polar bear in Wager Bay

The Serengeti

Sila Lodge, Wager Bay (Polar Bear Viewing)

More  personal pictures in Africa

More personal pictures near the Arctic

The Gorbals

Note: Peter and I rarely attend sponsored meals, so we were confused when no bill came at the end of our dinner. We sat arguing with the servers and I even went in the kitchen to speak to the chef, but they insisted on comping the dinner. I felt very uncomfortable doing this though (especially because I could tell there was so much work put into the evening), so I sat there until we were allowed to leave a HEFTY credit card tip to cover part of the meal. If we had brought cash, this wouldn’t have been an issue. As I wrote earlier, Peter and I both really like Chef Fullilove, so we’ll be treating him out to a fun dinner in the near future!

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Filed under Eating Out, Hot Chefs

The Flirtini Incident

The last time Peter and I hosted Easter brunch at our house, it was sort of a disaster.

We invited my sister Janet, Peter’s sister Susan and both their families for a late Sunday brunch. I spent a few days getting the back garden perfectly decorated with new flowers, and set up a long dining room table outside with my great aunt’s hand-painted china. I even got out my Scottish (clan Maxwell) grandmother’s antique linen napkins and gently ironed each piece, which wasn’t so easy to do because of the hand-embroidered “M” sticking up on the corners.

It was a gorgeous Easter Sunday and our backyard looked like a page out of House & Garden magazine, especially with the flea-market chandelier hanging above the table. Peter secured the heavy fixture to a large branch on our oak tree, even though we didn’t need the light of course. The glass made the garden so pretty, twinkling in the sun through the leaves.

I always like having a “signature” cocktail when I entertain for a large group (even for brunch!). It makes it easier for the hostess (so I don’t have to set up a full bar) and it makes it fun for the guests, especially if the drink is something new.

A few weeks before the disastrous Easter, I was watching the Sex in the City episode where Samantha befriends the transvestites in her new apartment building. Throughout most of the episode she and the “ladies” were arguing over late-night noise outside her bedroom window and Samantha couldn’t get any sleep. After an ongoing catfight with the “guys”, including throwing water on them from her apartment window, she finally decided it would be better just to make nice, and hosted a roof-top barbecue for the whole gang. The episode ended with Samantha raising a glass, toasting Carrie, Charlotte, Miranda and her new “girl friends” with a cocktail called, “Flirtini”.

Samantha’s Flirtini Recipe:
2 oz. Vodka
1/2 oz. Apricot Liquor or Triple Sec
1/2 oz. Pineapple Juice
Splash of Champagne, garnish with a strawberry

I thought it would be so fabulous to serve Flirtinis for Easter lunch. They sounded so “fresh and fruity, like springtime”! It was about noon when our guests arrived and the grown-ups started drinking the first of several pitchers. I had never gotten a buzz so fast before (I’m sure it was the vodka mixed with champagne), and by the time we sat down to eat, we were all stinking DRUNK.

What type of food did I serve for our beautiful Easter brunch? I can’t remember (or maybe I don’t want to remember). I had a hangover by late evening and spent the next two days cleaning and packing up the antique dishes. All that effort setting up the garden, gathering our family together, and the memory of the day is just a painful blur.

I haven’t had a Flirtini since, and only remembered it when I suggested to Peter that we should host Easter at our house this year. But he had a much better idea: How about we treat our family to Easter brunch at the Bazaar?

*Brunch at the Bazaar by José Andrés [visit 10]

Bazaar Brunch, MyLastBite.com
Huevos a la Cubana “Andy Garcia” (12 Tiny Eggs Sunny Side Up), $12. One of the three new brunch items on the menu at the Bazaar by José Andrés. I know this LOOKS like a lot of yolk, but these were small quail eggs. Lightly crispy underneath with a savory tomato sauce on top.

Bazaar Brunch, MyLastBite.com
Eggs Benedict “New Way”, Iberico Ham, $18. So beautiful that I couldn’t stop turning the plate and taking photos! The piece of ham was CRISPY and crackled when I bit into it, and the foam tasted like butter. I’ll never be able to have Eggs Benedict anywhere else again.

Bazaar Brunch, MyLastBite.com
Savory Spanish Torrijas: Iberico Ham, Egg 63 (egg was poached at  63ºF.) and Idiazabal Cheese, $18. This was my favorite new brunch item. It was very similar to french toast under the ham… but so much better of course!

Along with the new brunch items, we shared dishes (that I’ve had several times before) from both the regular Traditional and Modern menus including:

Bazaar Brunch, MyLastBite.com
Tuna Ceviche and Avocado Roll, $12. My sister Janet’s favorite.

Bazaar Brunch, MyLastBite.com
Crab Meat Steamed Buns with Pickled Japanese Cucumbers, $18. Three per order (about two bites per little sandwich), never enough!

Bazaar Brunch, MyLastBite.com
Croquetas de Pollo (Chicken and Bechamel Fritters), $8 This is ALWAYS a favorite at the table. Perfect bites (like large tater tots) of little “chicken pot pies”.

Bazaar Brunch, MyLastBite.com
Bloody Mary: Freshly made tomato juice with a celery-wasabi foam, $16. Definitely could have been a meal in itself! I loved the wasabi foam on top.

Bazaar Brunch, MyLastBite.com
In front: Tableside “Nitro” Blood Orange Screwdriver: Frozen liquid nitrogen blood orange and vodka, $20. House-made Lemonade (freshly squeezed lemon juice, rosemary syrup), $6. Bloody Mary (back, left).

Bazaar Brunch, MyLastBite.com
Felix Meana making the “Nitro” Blood Orange Screwdriver: Frozen liquid nitrogen blood orange and vodka. I love when the liquid nitrogen cart comes rolling up to the table. This screwdriver was velvety smooth and strong! We all loved it.

Bazaar Brunch, MyLastBite.com
Clockwise from top left: Jade (partial), my nephew Cody, Peter’s niece, Chanel.
Top Right: My niece Kindal and Cody’s girlfriend Jade.
Bottom Right: Peter’s sister Susan and her boyfriend, Jerry.
Bottom Left: Chanel, Peter and Miles (Peter’s nephew).

Bazaar Brunch, MyLastBite.com
Clockwise from top left: Miles and my friend, Laur.
Top Right: Susan, Jerry, my sister, Janet and nephew, Chace.
Bottom Right: Jo (me!) and Peter.
Bottom Left: Cody and Chanel.

Bazaar Brunch, MyLastBite.com
Clockwise from top left: Miles digging into dessert, Chace gets comfy on the Blanco couch. With the twins, Chace and Kindal.

Bazaar Brunch, MyLastBite.com
Peter holding court in the Blanca room! The Rojo room was closed for the restaurant’s first official brunch.

Bazaar Brunch, MyLastBite.com
Chef Marcel Vigneron invited the twins (my sister’s kids, Chace and Kindal) back to see the kitchen. They are both fans of “Top Chef” and have been cooking since they were really little, so this was heaven! Thanks Chef!

Dishes we also shared, that I’ve had on previous visits:

Sweet Potato Chips with Yogurt Tamarind Dip, $10

Philly Cheesesteak Air Bread, $8

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

Foie Gras and Quince on mini Brioche Bun, $15

Nitro Coconut Floating Island Dessert, $10

We also shared a pitcher of Sangria Rojo, $42. (no photo)

The Bazaar by José Andrés, SLS Hotel
465 South La Cienega Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 9004
(310) 246-5555
Dining date: 4/12/09

Bazaar Brunch, MyLastBite.comAn extra treat for me was meeting Chef Katsuya Fukushima (in photo, at right). I had seen him on an episode of “Gourmet’s Diary of a Foodie” and was wowed by his knowledge of “modern” cuisine. Chef Fukushima works closely with José Andrés at MiniBar in Washington D.C.

A very special THANK YOU to Bazaar Manager, Felix Meana (also in photo) for taking such good care of us. You made the day extra special.

Thanks also to William and Audra for organizing our large (table of twelve) reservation!!

All my Bazaar photos on Flickr

Mentioned above:

Sex in the City: Episode 48

Top Chef

The twins cooking

House & Garden

“The Flirtini Incident” originally published April 15, 2009

The Bazaar no longer serves brunch.

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

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

The Bazaar by José Andrés [3]

My third visit to The Bazaar by José Andrés made me realize what a great deal the restaurant really is. No, seriously… I think it’s an absolute steal.

For the past few months I’ve been learning how to make molecular goodies at home, so I really enjoy seeing different techniques that the chefs are using at Bazaar. Three recipes that I’d love to master are Ferran Adria’s “Liquid Olive”, “Pea Ravioli” and also something called “Dragon’s Breath” Popcorn. 

Olives Ferran Adrià, MyLastBite.comOver the years I had seen the “Liquid Olive” and “Pea Ravioli” on various TV shows including “No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain” and “The Best Recipes in the World with Mark Bittman”. Both of the episodes took place at Albert and Ferran Adria’s world-famous elBulli restaurant, on the Costa Brava in Roses, Spain. 

My husband Peter and I have tried getting reservations at elBulli for many years, and once again we were notified that all spaces were filled for the upcoming 2009 season. (Email from elBulli)

ElBulli receives over 2 million reservation requests each season, and there are “only” 8,000 seats available from June to December. Yet I email the restaurant a few times a month, just reminding them that we are open to any available dates and figure that if it happens, great… if not, then we try again next year (and the year after).

If by some miracle, there is a cancellation this season and we get the much anticipated “we-won-the-elBulli-lottery” email from Luis Garcia (the man in charge of bookings)… there is no doubt that we would dig deep into our savings and try to go. We could only do this if we had enough time to actually book the trip properly… meaning if we got the notice a few days before the reservation date, there would be no way we could swing it. 

elBulli Reservation Online, MyLastBite.comNow just for the fun of it, let’s say we are given a confirmed reservation at elBulli a full thirty days before the actual departure date. How much would it actually cost to eat that one meal at elBulli?

I decided to find out and started researching flights and hotels on Hotels.com, where I “faux-booked” a trip for June 2009.

I began this exercise (in positive thinking) by searching for the following:
– Two round trip tickets from Los Angeles to Barcelona.
– Six nights at a hotel in Spain: Five in Barcelona and one in Roses near the restaurant. (Realistically, if we would make the trip to elBulli, then we would want to at least spend a few extra days sightseeing around Barcelona).
– Transportation from Barcelona to Roses. 

Our faux-itinerary:

elBull By Air, MyLastBite.comAir Travel
Monday 22 June 2009
Depart Los Angeles (LAX) 5:45 pm 
Arrive Barcelona (BCN) 7:30 pm
+1 day
 
Airberlin 3531  / 8564
(Connect in Dusseldorf International Airport)

Monday 29 June 2009
Depart Barcelona (BCN) 8:45 am 
Arrive Los Angeles (LAX) 3:50 pm
airberlin 8937  / 3530

Hotel
5 Nights at Hotel Sidorme Mollet in Bracelona (I chose the most inexpensive hotel offered).

EuropCar, MyLastBite.com

Total for flights and above hotel (price combined on Hotels.com) is
$2,826 (for both of us)

Add in one night at Vistabella hotel in Roses where elBulli is located is $180 per night.

Rental Car (europcar.com)
Barcelona Pickup June 25 / Return June 28, three days for 
$160

Above Subtotal $3166.00

To that, I add on these costs:

The elBulli 30-course tasting menu, which would cost approximately $500 ($250 per person, or more).

It's a "Duvet" life for my dogs!A full-time dog sitter: Our three dogs are like kids to us, so when we go out of town we pay someone to love them, feed them, run them and most importantly… sleep with them. I know… they are spoiled (we call them “duvet” dogs). For a week away we would pay our usual sitter (Jade), $100 per day. Total of $700

TOTAL for this itinerary: $4366.00

I would still need to add in additional meals & entertainment for the week. We can get by on two meals per day, and will definitely want to hit every tapas bar in site. Then there are museums, entertainment, transport around Barcelona and shopping. I’m going to just round it out to $5,000.

I know there are probably much cheaper ways to make the trip, maybe take the bus or train instead of renting a car, or find super cheap airline tickets with ten stops in between. Whatever the actual costs, we are still talking THOUSANDS of dollars for one coveted meal at elBulli.

How about another famous molecularly focused eatery that’s closer to home? MiniBar… José Andrés’ tiny, six-seat-only restaurant in Washington DC? I first learned about MiniBar on Gourmet’s Diary of a Foodie (on PBS) and the episode was called “Anatomy of a Meal with José Andrés”. Just last week, MiniBar was featured again on “No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain”. That’s where I first saw the “Dragon’s Breath” popcorn and it was just SO COOL… after cooking the small bites of caramel popcorn in liquid nitrogen, Andrés and Bourdain popped the pieces in their mouths and “smoke” came out of their nostrils.

MiniBar is much easier to get to then Roses, Spain, and if we actually scored reservations, the tasting menu (27 little bites) would cost $120 a person. We could easily fly in for one or two nights and keep the costs down (a little bit). MiniBar’s 8:30pm seating starts at 8:40 and can take up to 2.5 hours, so I would plan to arrive the day before in case of flight delays. Let’s say we have a dinner reservation for March 28, 2009. Here’s the breakdown:

Round/Trip flight to DC (again, using Hotels.com):

Friday 27-Mar-09
Depart 1:10 pm  Los Angeles (LAX)
to Washington DC (IAD) Arrive 8:54 pm

Sunday 29-Mar-09
Depart 5:50 pm Washington DC (IAD)
to Los Angeles (LAX) Arrive 8:20 pm 

Two nights at the Candlewood Suites Herndon

Rental Car: Hertz Economy Car

Total for above (for two people): $687
+ $240
for MiniBar
+ $400 for additional meals, sightseeing & shopping

 A trip to José Andrés MiniBar in Washington DC (Air, Hotel, Car and Meals): $1327.00

I could spend the next few days trying to figure out the costs of visiting restaurants that focus a large part of their menus on molecular, modern treats… Alinea in Chicago, wd~50 in NYC, Mugaritz and Arzak (both in Spain), and the mighty Fat Duck in England… but the point I’m trying to make is… I don’t have to. I can hop in my car and drive the fifteen minutes to the Bazaar by José Andrés and slurp down ten liquid “Olives Ferran Adria” (that’s what they’re called on the menu) and the “Dragon’s Breath” liquid nitro cooked popcorn? Yup, the Bazaar has that too! 

Honestly… the place just makes me happy! Each time I’ve taken someone new to experience it with me, and it’s like we’re all in kindergarten and just visiting the circus for the first time… but with way better concession snacks!

For all the joy and deliciousness I’ve experienced in my three visits to Bazaar … I really believe it’s an absolute bargain.

Our cost for our most recent dinner at The Bazaar was $158 for the two of us. That included 9 dishes, 2 desserts and 2 cocktails. The price also includes entertainment (if sitting near the Rojo kitchen) and education (if you’re into molecular cooking too!).

Finally, in comparison to a night at elBulli, The Bazaar by José Andrés is a steal. I know times are tough and I feel tremendously grateful that I get to eat there at all. To me, it’s worth every penny.

New Dishes We All Enjoyed (we were joined by my sister Janet, her husband Paul and our good friends Afaf and Ray):

Shrimp Cocktail at Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
This gorgeous dish (above and below) is called “Just Shrimp Cocktail: Yea Right” $12

Shrimp Cocktail at Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
To eat, you put the whole shrimp in your mouth and squeeze the cocktail-sauce filled pipette! 

Sweet Potato Chips at Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Sweet Potato Chips with Yogurt, Tamarind, Star Anise $10
Foi Gras Mini Burgers at Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Adorable (almost Barbie doll size!) Foie gras and Quince on a Mini Brioche Bun 3 for $12
Uni Mini Buns at Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Sea Urchins, Avocado in a Steamed Mini Bun 3 for $12
Hangar Steak at Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Beef Hanger Steak and Piquillo Pepper Confit $10
Toro at the Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Toro (Tuna) “Nigiri”, Wasabi, Watermelon, Soy and Jalapeño $16
Bazaar Dragon's Breath, MyLastBite.com
“Dragon’s Breath” Caramelized Popcorn made with liquid nitrogen. After you pop these treats in your mouth… smoke streams out your nose (like a dragon)! Made by Chef de Cuisine, Michael Voltaggio. Thank you!

Chef Voltaggio at Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Chef de Cuisine Michael Voltaggio

Bazaar Coconut Island, MyLastBite.com
“Nitro Coconut Floating Island” with Passion Fruit and Banana. It was soft on the inside and frozen on the outside.
Bazaar Dessert, MyLastBite.com
Beet Meringue with Pistachio Cake and Berries
Bazaar Dessert, MyLastBite.com
Chocolate Cake topped with Gold

Dishes we had on previous visits and enjoyed again:

“Philly Cheesesteak” Air bread, Cheddar Cheese, Wagyu Beef $8 (everyone loved these)
Hilly Cheesesteak Air bread, cheddar Cheese, Mushrooms (instead of beef) $7 (my sister’s favorite)
“Not your everyday Caprese” Cherry tomatoes, liquid mozzarella in pipettes $12 
King Crab with Raspberry Vinegar $16 

Dining Date: 2/1/09
A special thanks to William Douillet and the entire staff for an exceptional evening. 

The Bazaar by José Andrés
SLS Hotel
465 S. La Cienega Blvd.
Beverly Hills, CA
(310) 246-5555
thebazaar.com 

Menu for Rojo y Blanca (pdf)

Reservations Available on OpenTable

TV mentioned:

Gourmet’s Diary of a Foodie (pbs)

No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain (travel channel)

The Best Recipes in the World with Mark Bittman (pbs)

Restaurants mentioned:

Alinea

Arzak

elBulli

Fat Duck

MiniBar

Mugaritz

wd~50

More reading:

My Adventures in Molecular Cooking

Bazaar visit #1

Bazaar visit #2

Bazaar visit #4

The Bazaar by Jose Andres on Urbanspoon

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