Tag Archives: french

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)

Anisette Brasserie (now closed)

Anisette brasserie is so lovely. The high ceilings and white glazed tiles make the room look so “clean”. The bar wall is massive, and I’d hate to be sitting there during a quake since the bottles are displayed all the way to the ceiling, secured only with a thin strip of metal. It looks impressive though, and that’s the point. Peter and I went with friends two weekends in a row. First with Jeffrey and Rina. Then again the next weekend with Paddy and Clara. Chef Alain Giraud came to our table a few times on our first visit. He was very gracious and made sure we were enjoying our meal. On our two visits, there were two repeat orders that we had to have both times. The Foie Gras and the Beef Cheeks. We’ll be back again soon.

What we ate at Anisette Brasserie:

Foie Gras with Figs on Brioche

Anisette Brasserie

Scallops with Fennel in a Basil Sauce

Anisette Brasserie

Provencal Beef Daube (aka Beef Cheeks),
with Glazed Root Vegetables & Creamy Mashed Potatoes

Anisette Brasserie

Steak Frites with Bearnaise Sauce

Anisette Brasserie

Vacherin Glace (Lavender Ice Cream and Perfect Summer Strawberries)

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

www.AnisetteBrasserie.com
225 Santa Monica Blvd Santa Monica, CA 90407, (310) 395-3200
This restaurant is now closed

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Michel Richard’s Citrus at Social

Note: This restaurant is now CLOSED.

My Favorite Bite? The “Mosaic – Carpaccio of Surf, Turf and Earth”. Scallops, beef, & salmon garnished with citrus and flavored oils. An absolutely stunning dish… art on a plate.

Citrus at Social

The reason we LOVE Chef Michel Richard.

Address: Citrus at Social (CLOSED in Jan 2010)
6525 Sunset Blvd. (at Schrader),
Hollywood, California

(323) 337-9797

Website

Dining Date: 2.28.08

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Melisse Restaurant

A Not So Special Occasion 

I’m embarrassed… simply embarrassed. This was my first visit to Melisse Restaurant and it’s just shameful that I hadn’t been before. With all the press and chatter about French eats in Los Angeles…. from Comme Ca to Anissette… why hadn’t I dined at Melisse before? It took two recent food festivals to open my eyes to this gem… a gem that’s been open for almost TEN YEARS!

My first taste of Chef Josiah Citrin’s cooking was at the James Beard “Chefs and Champagne” event in May. Melisse served a Spring Veal with Anson Mills Polenta, Morel Essence and Red Wine Jus. I went back several times for more bites.

My second encounter with Chef Citrin was at Taste of the Nation. Melisse’s Liberty duck breast… tender, juicy and like no other duck I’d had before. This time, I sent my husband back for seconds and thirds.

After making our restaurant dinner reservation (for 4), I hopped online to read reviews about Melisse. The majority were fantastic, positive reviews but the thing that made me pause, was that it seemed to be more of an “event” restaurant… a place to celebrate anniversaries & birthdays. After reading this… I sort of panicked. The reservation date wasn’t near my birthday or my husbands. Our anniversary was 6 months away. Almost every review I read started with “I took my wife here for our 10th anniversary” or “I surprised my husband for his birthday”.

What if the server asked what we were celebrating? What if we had nothing to celebrate? NOTHING TO CELEBRATE? I wanted to smack myself in the head. How about just being grateful that we can even GO to Melisse without it being a “special occasion”. Duh. Life is good. Life is TASTY.

So in Celebration of Loving Food…. Here is just SOME of what we ate!
Note: There were four of us dining together and we shared the 12+ dishes!

Bacon bread. Yup. Bacon in Bread.
Peeled half grapes rolled in goat cheese & crushed pistachios.
Shot glass with a orange cashew foam, with a spoon of Ahi tartar on the side.
Egg Caviar, Poached Egg, Lemon Chive Creme Fraiche and American Osetra Caviar.
Monterey Bay Abalone, Leeks, Arbequina Olive Oil Jus.
Sweet White Corn Ravioli… this was so good we ordered a second plate.
Maine Lobster Thermidor.
Sonoma Spring Lamb, Courgettes, Sweet Garlic, Nicoise Olive Lamb Jus.
Lobster Bolognese with Cappelini, Basil, Brown Butter & Truffles.
Veal Loin, Spare Rib and Cannelloni of Shank, Morel Mushrooms, Asparagus, Polenta.

The Cheese Course to DIE for! Livarot, Epoisses and Golden Wreath from Normandie.

Dinner was fantastic. Our server, Douglas Delancy, was attentive, fun and a great help going over the menu. He really made the evening special… even though we were the only folks there not “celebrating” anything in particular!

A cute side note… I loved that my handbag had it’s own seat. Why don’t restaurants do this more often? When we sat at the table, a server swooped in with a vintage stool. Even my little handbag felt special at Melisse!

We will be back to Melisse soon, to celebrate absolutely nothing in particular… except the amazing food!

Melisse Restaurant

Melisse Restaurant

Melisse Restaurant

Melisse Restaurant


Melisse Restaurant

Melisse Restaurant

Doug Delancy Melisse Restaurant

Doug Delancy Melisse Restaurant


The gorgeous & attentive Doug

DougDelancyMelisse

Chef Josiah Citrin, Melisse Restaurant
With owner & chef Josiah Citrin

Melisse Handbag Stool

Dining Date: 7.5.08

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