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 (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).
Making the “Dragon’s Breath”, Caramel popcorn bites cooked in liquid nitrogen.
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”: 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 in Bar Centro
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!
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”!
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.
Foie Gras Cotton Candy! Me, Julian, my husband Peter and Andrew.
Julian, Andrew, José Andrés, Peter
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
Andrew Macpherson’s Photographs
Peter’s band, Rubylith