Peter and I both love chef Josef Centeno‘s cooking. With four restaurants in downtown L.A., we often have a hard time deciding which one to eat at. There’s Baco Mercat (home of the bäco) and Bar Ama (with the best queso in town). High-end Orsa & Winston is currently offering a fantastic Yakitori-Ya menu (through March 2). Josef’s newest eatery, Ledlow, recently won a rave Jonathan Gold review. All the restaurants are within walking distance of each other at 4th and Main, and all are simply fantastic.
After twenty years together, it’s not easy to surprise my husband of 18 years. But for his birthday last month, with the help of Josef and his fiancee (my friend) Betty Hallock, we did just that. I joked to Betty that I wished I could take Peter to all of Josef’s restaurants for his birthday and she said they had actually been thinking of organizing a restaurant crawl.
I was thrilled when Josef offered to select the evening’s menu, which included two dishes and a drink at each location. To make things easier, since it was four different kitchens and staff, I paid for the evening ahead of time and left a tip at each (45 minute) stop. Many thanks to Betty and Josef for helping me surprise Peter!
Photos from our December 2014 “Centeno Crawl” below:
STOP 1: Bäco Mercat
Peter was shocked and so thrilled to find the first “Happy Birthday, Peter” menu waiting at our first stop, which was Baco Mercat.
The Moxie Cocktail at Baco Mercat: Bourbon, cynar, lime juice, agave, mole bitters.
Caesar Brussels Sprouts with Pecorino, Anchovy, Garlic at Baco Mercat.
Hamachi Crudo, Avocado, Hash Brown, Abkhazian Chile Spice at Baco Mercat.
STOP 2: Orsa & Winston
The menu waiting at Orsa & Winston.
Breakfast In A Shell with Coddled Egg, Pancetta, maple syrup at Orsa and Winston.
Satsuki Rice with Parmesan Cream, Geoduck and Uni at Orsa & Winston.
Clos du Tue Boeuf Chenin Blanc at Orsa & Winston.
STOP 3: Bar Ama
Peter’s birthday menu at Bar Ama (stop 3).
The Nacho Cocktail (tequila blanco, chile-lime shrub, campari, citrus, honey) at Bar Ama.
Slow Roasted Beef Belly with Pomegranate, Cotija and Tomatillo at Bar Ama.
“Mom’s Green Enchiladas” with Tomatillo & Chicken at Bar Ama.
STOP 4: Ledlow
Final stop for birthday cake & soufflé at Ledlow.
Grand Marnier Soufflé at Ledlow.
Pastry chef Margeaux Aragon made a birthday cake too! Chocolate Cake with Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting at Ledlow.
20 Years Together (we met in Nov 1994). Happiness Selfie (Dec 2014).