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Saam (Bazaar visit 9, Saam visit 1)

Dining in the new Saam restaurant makes you feel special. It’s located behind a secured, nondescript door near Bar Centro, at the Bazaar by José Andrés. Each of the twenty courses (one or two bites each) are brought out on individual plates, while you sit at one of the exclusive, coveted tables. To me, it feels like a sleek and sexy modern-day speakeasy.

Saam at the Bazaar, MyLastBite.comThe service? Impeccable. I haven’t been to Alinea yet, but I’m guessing the experience is close, or at least as close as we’re going to get here in Los Angeles! It’s like flying first class, where you’re treated like a celebrity and you know it. Especially true for an early dinner on opening weekend. We were one of the first to be seated for the Saturday evening service, and at times there were four staff members looking after the two of us.

The food? It was my ninth visit to the Bazaar and I knew the menu backwards and forwards, so I was pleasantly surprised to find each dish “kicked up a notch”, and thrilled to try a few new bites as well. I found myself mouthing “wow” to my husband Peter, especially when we were served updated versions of dishes we tried on previous visits.

“Saam: The Chef’s Tasting Menu” is printed on top of each take-home menu (rolled up and tied with a little black ribbon), a great souvenir to remember an elegant evening. But throughout our wonderful dinner, I couldn’t help but feel there was something missing. The food was the best I’d ever had at the Bazaar, so that wasn’t it. Our server Charlie was attentive, engaging and throughly knowledgeable. Carolina was nearby in case we had any needs or questions as well. Managers William and Felix stopped by to ensure that we (and later, each and every table) were enjoying the evening, but my dinner still felt incomplete. Why?

Because “Saam: The Chef’s Tasting Room” was missing the one thing I love most about the Bazaar (besides the food), it was missing the chefs.

My favorite tables at the Bazaar are one of the two “Tron” tables in the Rojo room. They’re not officially called “Tron” tables… that’s just what we call them because they have cool laser-like red lights beneath the surface. The few times I’ve been lucky enough to have a seat facing the open kitchen was at one of the these tables. I loved watching Chef Voltaggio warm up the “smoking” gun to finish off the salmon dishes. And as a fan of the show “Top Chef”, could there be anything better than seeing Chef Marcel Vigneron working the foam? By the way, I think the show portrayed him as an arrogant nitwit, because in person he’s a real sweetheart. 

After we finished our evening at Saam, we made our way to the Rojo kitchen where the kitchen staff was in full swing. It was busy, crowded and the room was filled with the frenetic energy that I missed. It sort of felt like I had been at the wrong party earlier.

Do I recommend Saam? Absolutely. Especially if it’s your first visit to the Bazaar. It’s quieter and more focused than either the Rojo or the Blanca room, and you’ll be carefully guided through a palate pleasing, high-flying experience. Heck, it’s not that I don’t like flying first class (the few times I’ve experienced it), it’s just that I like watching the crew even better.

Tasting Menu is $120 per person.

Saam at the Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Course #1: Salt Air Margarita. Delicious as always.

Saam at the Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Course #2: Sweet Potato Chips and Yogurt Dip. I love the anise flavor in the yogurt.

Saam at the Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
 Caviar Steamed Bun. Using the steamed bun makes for a nice twist on a classic.

Saam at the Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Course #4: Olive Oil Bonbon This was such a treat!! I first saw this being made on “Gourmet’s Diary of a Foodie” by Chef Andrés and his Minibar Chefs: Ruben Garcia and Katsuya Fukushima. It’s like a candy shell filled with olive oil. Into your mouth and it crumbles. SO AMAZING.

Saam at the Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Course #5: Bagel and Lox Cone. Delicious as always.

Foie Gras Cotton Candy, MyLastBite.com
Course #6: Cotton Candy Foie Gras (foie gras rolled in corn nuts). Still a favorite and so good I forgot to take a photo before eating! (photo from previous visit)

Saam at the Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Course #7: Olives Ferran Adria. My first love (and why I started taking Molecular Gastronomy classes last year!)

Saam at the Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Course #8: Jose’s Ham and Cheese.  I LOVED the Jamón Ibérico with the soft La Serena cheese inside the “air bread”. This was one of the “kicked up” dish updates, similar to “Philly Cheesesteak”. La Serena is a creamy, aromatic (aka really stinky which I love!) cheese from Extremadura in Western Spain.

Saam at the Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Course #9: Sea Urchin Conservas. Fantastic flavors AND presentation.

Saam at the Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Course #10: Boneless Chicken Wing. Delicious as always.

Saam at the Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Course #11: Shrimp Cocktail. The updated cocktail sauce was richer, almost creamy.

Saam at the Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Course #12: Nitro Gazpacho. I always love when the Liquid Nitrogen cart rolls up! Gazpacho “cooked” in the nitro.

Saam at the Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Course #13: Blufin Tuna Toro (and Norwegian Lobster). Both AMAZING.

Saam at the Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Course #14: Norwegian Lobster.
Perfection in one bite.

Saam at the Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Course #15: “Smoked” Salmon. Another favorite, the dish is finished using a “smoking gun”.

Saam at the Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Course #16: Not Your Everyday Caprese (top). I recently learned how to make these liquid mozzarella balls!

Course #17: Tournedos Rossinii 2009. Wagyu beef, truffle and foie gras. MORE PLEASE!

Saam at the Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Course #18: Dragon’s Breath (caramel popcorn “cooked” in liquid nitrogen). Currently only served in the Saam room, we’ve enjoyed it several times before. It’s FUN!

Saam at the Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Felix Meana making Dragon’s Breath

Saam at the Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Coconut in a “Half Shell”. Peter loved all three desserts. I was too full!

Saam at the Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Chocolate Biscuit Coulant Michel Bras (above) and Petit Fours: Tablets, Bonbons

Saam, at the Bazaar by José Andrés, SLS Hotel
 465 South La Cienega Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 9004
(310) 246-5555
Dining date: 4/11/09

Mentioned above:

Tron, the movie

Tron, the table

Alinea (someday!)

Top Chef

Smoking Gun

Molecular Gastronomy Classes

Gourmet’s Diary of a Foodie

Watch the episode with the Olive Oil Bonbon!

MiniBar

In the kitchen with the chefs

<< Bazaar Visit #8

Bazaar Visit #10 >>

All my Bazaar photos on Flickr

Saam at the Bazaar By José Andrés on Urbanspoon

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Filed under Eating Out, Molecular Cooking

The Bazaar by José Andrés [8]

Sunday night at the Bazaar with Phil from “My Life As A Foodie”, his wife Katrina, and fellow food-lovers Dean and Stephanie.

When we were seated at the “Chefs Table” in the Rojo Room, Peter and I made sure that he and I were the two diners facing AWAY from the open kitchen. We had four eager “Bazaar Virgins” with us and for them to get the most of the experience, they faced the chefs, giving them first-class seats to the “show”!

We shared many of what I now call “essential” tapas from both the Blanca and Rojo menus. These are dishes we get every visit and include: Jamón Ibérico, Chicken and Béchamel Fritters, Sea Urchin with Avocado in a Steamed Mini Bun and Philly Cheesesteak Air Bread (photo links below).

This was my eighth dinner at Bazaar. Had I tried everything on both the Rojo and Blanco menus? Well no, to be honest there were still a few vegetable dishes I’d been avoiding. It’s not that I don’t like veggies, it’s just that when presented with a choice between plump butifarra (sausage) or brussel sprouts… I’m going to always insist on the meats (or seafood or foie gras) first.

Our evening was made even more delightful when Chef Voltaggio presented a NEW, elegant salmon dish that he wanted us to try. The “Smoked” Salmon was cooked sous vide (French for “under vacuum”), served with cucumber “noodles” and set on top of a small potato blintz. This was all presented under a glass dome and served on a piece of black slate. Before leaving the kitchen, the dome was lifted slightly and Chef Voltaggio “smoked” the salmon with a culinary *smoking gun. When the servers brought the salmon to the table, puffs of smoke gently wafted from under the glass as the domes were removed. It was cool (and tasted heavenly).

General Manager, William Douillet, seemed to always “magically” appear when there was the slightest inquiry.  Thoughtful and courteous, he always makes each visit a “special” occasion. Our four friends, no longer “Bazaar Virgins”, still haven’t stopped talking about the experience.

Tapas we tried on this visit:

Ajo Blanco, MyLastBite.com
Ajo Blanco: White Gazpacho, Tomatoes, Grapes, Raisins, topped with Tomato Granita $5. I loved this savory dish (sort of like a panna cotta), especially the texture of the granita on top.

Cauliflower "Couscous", MyLastBite.com
Sautéed Cauliflower “Couscous”
: Cauliflower puree, harissa, pomegranate $8. The tiny, crunchy bits of cauliflower were terrific mixed with the pomegranate.

Brussel Sprout Leaves, MyLastBite.com
Brussel Sprout Leaves with lemon purée, apricots, grapes and lemon “air” $8. I hated brussel sprouts as a kid, so the fact that I actually liked this was a nice surprise.

Buñuelos, MyLastBite.com
Buñuelos (Codfish Fritters) with Honey Aoli $8. I liked that I could really taste the fish in these fried balls. Usually with deep-fried fish, all I taste is the “fried” part.

Quesos, MyLastBite.com
Cheese from right to left: This was my first taste of 
La Serenaa creamy, aromatic (aka really stinky which I love!) cheese from Extremadura in Western Spain. Valdeón is a rich, creamy, intensely-flavored cow and goat’s milk blue cheese, saltier than Stilton and not as intense as Cabrales. Idiazábal is the national cheese of the Basque country, is made from sheep’s milk and is usually smoked. Served with Picos (Spanish crispy bread) and Quince jam. 3 Quesos $15

"Smoked" Salmon 1, MyLastBite.com
The “Smoked” Salmon arriving at our table…

"Smoked" Salmon 3, MyLastBite.com
The
“Smoked” Salmon, cooked sous vide with Cucumber Noodles, then “smoked” with a smoking gun, served over a small Potato Blintz. The flavors and textures were OUTSTANDING… perfectly cooked salmon, with faux cucumber noodles on crispy potatoes.

Wild Mushroom Rice, MyLastBite.com
Wild Mushroom Rice with Idiazábal Cheese, $10. A creamy, savory tapas version of the rice dish Marcel surprised us with on visit #4 (sans truffles).

“Essential” Bazaar Tapas that we get on every visit:

Sea Urchins, Avocado in a Steamed Mini Bun

Jamón Ibérico (Iberian Ham)

Chicken & Béchamel Fritters

Philly Cheesesteak Air Bread 

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

Mentioned above:

My Life as a Foodie
(with many more Bazaar dinner details)

The Smoking Gun

More about Sous Vide cooking

Chef Michael Voltaggio

Manager William Douillet

My Bazaar Photos on Flickr

Bazaar by José Andrés, SLS Hotel
465 South La Cienega Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90048
(310) 246-5555
http://www.thebazaar.com

Dining Date: 3/29/09

<– Bazaar Visit 7

Bazaar Visit 9 –>

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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 [4]

I think it’s perfectly fitting that my fourth visit to the Bazaar by José Andrés, came just a few days before the L.A. Times awarded the restaurant FOUR stars. I don’t have a rating system on MyLastBite, but if I did… I would give the Bazaar a TEN (out of ten).

Since the very first night the restaurant opened (I was there), I’ve been telling everyone about this “gift” that Jose Andres has given to L.A. I know times are tough, but if you can afford to eat out once in awhile and haven’t been to the Bazaar yet, then make a reservation now. Your spirits (and taste-buds) will be quickly lifted, and you’ll feel good that you did something nice for yourself.

I love the Bazaar so much that I find myself berating friends who haven’t been there yet. These are friends who eat out once or twice a week and just haven’t “gotten around to it”. I want to shake them and scream “Do you have ANY idea what you are missing?”. Thanks to S. Irene Virbilia (L.A. Times Restaurant Critic), maybe now they’ll finally go experience the magic for themselves. 

The Bazaar is not just a “special occasion” restaurant, although on this fourth visit we went to celebrate my nephew Cody’s birthday. Each time we go to the restaurant, Peter and I make sure to take family or friends, because it’s such an awesome experience to share with people you love… especially if you are celebrating something (or someone) special! 

What we ate:

Cody's Birthday at Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Of course, we started the evening with my favorite… the 
Foie Gras Cotton Candy! Bites of foie gras rolled in crushed corn nuts then wrapped in cotton candy. My nephew Cody and his girlfriend Jade loved them! $5

Cody's Birthday at Bazaar, MyLastBite.comCaviar Cones with Crème Fraîche $8

Cody's Birthday at Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Nitro Caipirinha $20

Cody's Birthday at Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Making the Nitro Caipirinha (cachaça and lime) made with Liquid Nitrogen

Cody's Birthday at Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
“Not Your Everyday (Winter) Caprese” (Molecular Liquid Mozzarella Balls)$12

Cody's Birthday at Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Steamed Crab Buns with Pickled Japanese Cucumber $15

Cody's Birthday at Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
”Just Shrimp Cocktail: Yea Right” $12

Cody's Birthday at Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Alitas de pollo: Boneless chicken wings with green olive puree $9. These were so good, we ordered seconds!

Mushrooms toped with Truffles, MyLastBite.com

Chef Marcel Vigneron brought this special dish to our table. I can’t remember what is was called, but it was filled with mushrooms and topped with freshly shaved truffles. A wonderful treat… THANKS CHEF!!

Cody's Birthday at Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
truffles, lovely truffles!

Cody's Birthday at Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Pisto Manchego con flor de calabaza: Sauteed peppers, zuchini, onions, eggplant and tomatoes with a beautiful poached egg. $9

Cody's Birthday at Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Beef Hanger Steak and Piquillo Pepper Confit $10

Cody's Birthday at Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Japanese Baby Peaches with Persimmon, Yogurt and Olive Oil $12

Cody's Birthday at Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
The incredibly gracious William Douillet making our “Dragon’s Breath”! Caramel Popcorn bites “cooked” in Liquid Nitrogen!

Liquid Nitrogen at the Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
William lifting the Caramel Popcorn out of the Liquid Nitrogen!

Cody's Birthday at Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
I love Cody’s face as he bites into the “Dragon’s Breath”!! Priceless.

Cody's Birthday at Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Cody exhaling the “Dragon’s Breath”

Cody's Birthday at Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Cody, Jade and Chef Marcel Vigneron

Cody's Birthday at Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
The Patisserie Menu

Cody's Birthday at Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Nitro Island, specially delivered by the lovely Waylyn Lucas!

Cody's Birthday at Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
“Nitro Coconut Floating Island” Dessert $10

Cody's Birthday at Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Apples Carlota $10

Cody's Birthday at Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Jo, Felix, William, Dan, Jade and Cody. Thanks for ANOTHER fantastic evening!

At The Bazaar by Jose Andres, MyLastBite.com 
My wonderful husband, Peter.

Additional dishes we had (as well as previous visits):

Olives Ferran $8

Sweet potato chips $10

Toro (Tuna) “Nigiri”, Wasabi, Watermelon, Soy and Jalapeño $16

Jicama wrapped guacamole with micro cilantro and corn nuts $10

“Philly Cheesesteak”: Air bread filled with cheese and topped with Kobe beef $8

Lomo de corder con Patatas y trufas: Lamb Loin with Mushrooms and Potato. $14.00

Jamon Platter $32

Five Quesos: Murcia, Valdeon, Idiazabal, La Serena, Manchego $25

Jamon Croquettes $9

The Bazaar by José Andrés, SLS Hotel
465 South La Cienega Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90048
(310) 246-5555
http://www.TheBazaar.com

Bazaar photos on Flickr

Dining Date: 2/15/09

<– Bazaar Visit #3

–> Bazaar Visit # 5 and 6

Mentioned Above:

L.A. Times (Don’t miss the awesome video)

About Cody

My Adventures in Molecular Cooking

The Bazaar by Jose Andres on Urbanspoon

17 Comments

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

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

The Bazaar by José Andrés [2]

Foie Gras Cotton Candy?

Another outstanding dinner at The Bazaar by José Andrés last night. This time celebrating my friend Laur’s birthday in the “Rojo” dining room, which was warmer and had a more seductive vibe than the “Blanco” we dined in last time.

New dishes we tried this visit included three pretty little “cans” of seafood filled with delicious mussels, oysters and crab called “Latas Y Conservas”.

From the Rojo menu: “Canning was invented in 1810 in France by Mr. Nicolas Appert. Spain adopted this technique and today is known for producing the best canned products in the world. Here at the Bazaar by Jose Andres, we make them in house daily.”

Mussels Escabeche, MyLastBite.com
Mussels Escabeche, marinated in olive oil, vinegar and smoked paprika $7

Kumamoto Oysters, MyLastBite.com
Kumamoto Oysters with lemon and black pepper $12

King Crab, MyLastBite.com
King Crab with raspberry vinegar $16

Organized Arugula Salad, MyLastBite.com
Organized Arugula Salad with raspberries, corn and Cabrales blue cheese $9

Dashi "Linguini" with Tomato, Lemon and Caviar, MyLastBite.com
Dashi “Linguini” with tomato seeds, lemon and caviar $9

Ottoman Carrot Fritters, MyLastBite.com
Traditional Ottoman Carrot Fritters with pistachio sauce (Peter loved these), $7

 Caviar Cone, MyLastBite.com
Caviar Cone with crème fraîche

Foie Gras Cotton Candy, MyLastBite.com
My very favorite bite of the night (so much so that I ordered extra!) was YES … the 
Foie Gras Cotton Candy! Bites of foie gras rolled in crushed CORN NUTS then wrapped in cotton candy. The salty, sweet and super rich flavor was simply incredible.

Dishes we had on our first visit and enjoyed again:

Tortilla de patatas, MyLastBite.com
Tortilla de patatas ‘new way’: Warm potato foam with a slow cooked egg at 63 degrees, and caramelized onions $9

‘Philly cheesesteak’, MyLastBite.com
 ‘Philly Cheesesteak’: Air bread stuffed with cheese and topped with Kobe beef $7  
Fideo, MyLastBite.com
‘Rossejat’ de fideos: Traditional fried pasta, paella-style with monkfish and shrimp, cooked in a seafood broth $10

Bazaar Appetizers, MyLastBite.com
Mozzarella-tomato pipettes with micro basil $8

The Bazaar restaurant is so much fun, especially when you look around and notice that people are smiling at every table. It’s all about jumping in and sharing an exciting new experience together. Whether it’s Ferran Adria’s Liquid Olive (we each had two), potato “foam”, or succulent bites of Kumamoto oysters. I personally feel incredibly grateful that we have our own little bit of “el bulli” right here in L.A.

Thank you José!

Jo, Bob, Peter, Laur, MyLastBite.com
Hanging out after dinner…

Bazaar Visit #1

Bazaar Visit #3

Bazaar visit #4

The Bazaar by José Andrés, SLS Hotel
465 South La Cienega Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90048
(310) 246-5555
http://www.thebazaar.com

The Bazaar by Jose Andres on Urbanspoon

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Filed under Eating Out, Molecular Cooking

The Bazaar by José Andrés [1]

The opening night of the Bazaar by José Andrés was supposed to be last Monday (11/10), but was delayed until last night (11/17). The restaurant is described as “a modern-day indoor piazza where guests and locals alike can enjoy pioneering culinary creations and intricately-concocted libations throughout several spaces: Bar Centro, Blanco, Rojo and the Pâtisserie.” It sounds a little intimidating I know, but when you walk in the front door the friendly staff are ready to lead you through the evening… and what a fun evening it was!

"New Way" Dirty Martini, MyLastBite.comThere were four of us for dinner, my husband Peter, my sister Janet and her husband Paul (whose birthday we were celebrating). We started off with drinks at Bar Centro, which offers a traditional bar menu and modern “new way” drinks. I ordered the “New Way” Dirty martini with spherified olives and brine “air”. I was really excited to try Ferran Adria’s “liquid olive” and it did not disappoint. If you haven’t seen the video clip of Ferran Adria making the liquid olive at el Bulli, then you may not appreciate it as much as I did. The segment was on Mark Bittman’s “The Best Recipes In The World” show on PBS. Episode 9 titled “The Cutting Edge”. It’s worth searching for online if you missed it.

Between the four of us we shared twenty dishes (including two desserts) from both the Rojo (traditional tapas) and Blanco (modern tapas) menu. In addition to cocktails we also tried the White Sangria (which was fantastic), Spanish Marge wine and then finished the evening with Pedro Ximénez Sherry.

Our server Skyler was fantastic. He was enthusiastic, paid great attention to us and really knew the menu inside and out. Simply said, Skyler was a wonderful guide on our trip through the Bazaar!

My favorite dishes (that I would definitely order again and again):

Philly Cheesesteak, MyLastBite.com
Philly Cheesesteak Air Bread filled with cheese and topped with Kobe beef $7.00
Mozzarella Tomato Pipettes MyLastBite.com
Mozzarella Tomato Pipettes with Micro Basil. These were so fun to eat! At the same time you bite the tomato, you squeeze the pipette into your mouth, a really tasty combination of olive oil and a creamy liquid mozzarella. $8.00

Organized Caesar MyLastBite.com
Organized Caesar with Quail Eggs and Parmesan Cheese. This plate was so beautiful we sort of just stared at it for a minute. There was only one quail egg and I was lucky to grab it! Delicious. $9.00

Japanese Peaches, MyLastBite.com
Japanese Baby Peaches with Yogurt and Olive Oil. Sweet and Tart. $12.00

Olives Ferran Adrià, MyLastBite.com
Olives Ferran Adrià. Our server Skyler scooped out the liquid olives from a jar tableside (below). The plate came with 4 olives, each on it’s own spoon. $10.00 for four “olives”.  If you don’t want to spend the $10 for four liquid olives, just order the “New Way” Dirty Martini… it comes with the olive!

Olives Ferran Adrià, MyLastBite.com
We also really enjoyed:

Croquetas de pollo, MyLastBite.com
Croquetas de pollo – Chicken and Béchamel Fritters. They tasted like chicken and dumplings mixed inside, crispy on the outside. $7.00

Watermelon & Jicama Guacamole, MyLastBite.com
Watermelon Skewers with Pedro Ximénez reduction and Tomato Seeds. A GREAT palate cleanser $15.00. Jicama Wrapped Guacamole with Micro Cilantro and Corn nuts (above right) $10.00

Braised Pork Cheeks, MyLastBite.com
Carrilleras de Cerdo con Naranja. Braised Pork Cheeks with California Oranges. $8.00

Gambas al Ajillo, MyLastBite.com
Gambas al Ajillo. Sautéed Shrimp with Garlic and Guindilla Pepper. $12.00

Patatas Bravas, MyLastBite.com
Patatas Bravas “New Way Jose”. José’s fried potatoes with aioli and spicy tomato sauce. $7.00

Chef Marcel Vigneron, MyLastBite.com
Tortilla de Patatas ‘New Way’ – Warm potato foam with a slow cooked egg 63 and caramelized onions. $9.00 (I watched former Top Chef contestant chef Marcel Vigneron make this. It was fun to see him working the foam!)

Bogavante a la Gallega, Galician-style Lobster Medallions with Olive Oil Crushed Potatoes and Smoked Paprika. $15.00

Selection of five cheeses, served with “picos”, Spanish crispy bread, quince jam and almonds and ‘Pa amb’ tomaquet – Toasted sliced rustic bread brushed with fresh tomatoes. The Idiazábal cheese was my favorite. $25.00

Tempura Avocado with Ponzu Air. $8.00

‘Rossejat’ de Fideos, Traditional fried pasta, paella-style with monkfish and shrimp, cooked in a seafood broth. $10.00

Butifarra con ceps y montgetes del gantxet ‘Daniel Patrick Moynihan’. Homemade pork sausage with white beans $9.00

Lomo de corder con patatas y trufas, Lamb Loin with Mushrooms and Potato. $14.00

Desserts: Apples Carlota, bread pudding and Traditional Spanish Flan with Fresh Cheese and Fruit.

Bazaar Desserts, MyLastBite.com

The Bazaar by José Andrés, SLS Hotel
465 South La Cienega Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90048
(310) 246-5555
Dining Date: Nov 17, 2008

Bazaar Visit #3

Bazaar visit #4

Positively Delicious Bazaar Reviews Posted on:

Gayot

CitySearch

LA Times

Yelp

José Andrés and Jo Stougaard MyLastBite.com
With Chef José Andrés at the
American Wine & Food Festival, Universal Backlot.

The Bazaar by Jose Andres on Urbanspoon

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Filed under Eating Out, Molecular Cooking