Tag Archives: review

Party at the Ox!

Most of the time, when Peter and I go out to dinner, it’s just the two of us at the table. While catching up on the day’s activities, we order cocktails and share a few dishes, trading plates after eating EXACTLY half. I think we’re pretty lucky because after fifteen years together, we still love hanging out, especially when we’re trying a new restaurant. Just look for the couple having the most fun in the room… it’s probably us!

Lazy Ox Canteen visit 1Every once in a while we go out with a group of friends, and two of our most recent gatherings have been at the Lazy Ox Canteen in Little Tokyo. The first visit was on January 14th after we attended an earthquake fundraiser at TiGeorges Haitian Restaurant on Glendale Blvd. Peter and I, along with our neighbor Nelson, met up with Charles and Robert to find a very successful charity event, but no food (they had just sold out). So after we all made donations, we decided to head downtown and check out the Lazy Ox.

We didn’t have reservations, but hostess Janna (who is gorgeous and super sweet) let us takeover a long, communal table. The giant mirror across the way made it perfect for checking out the entire room.

Our servers were both fantastic. At first “Q” took our orders and helped us decide on a few dishes from the $5 happy hour menu, then Rolando stepped in with recommendations from the regular menu. Having just come from the Haiti charity event, we were all in such great spirits and it showed in what we ordered. Lots of wine, lots of sharing and lots of laughs.

Lazy Ox Canteen visit 1I started talking to Rolando about his “day job” at Sage Mountain Farm, and was fascinated to learn that he personally delivers his vegetables to the Lazy Ox. His passion really showed in the way he spoke about the produce, and it also made me slow down and pay more attention to the  food on the plate in front of me. Rolando also works with several other L.A. area restaurants including Locali in Silverlake.

Our second dinner at “the Ox” (as everyone now seems to be calling it), was a couple of weeks after the first. Another group dinner with friends Bob and Andrew, who were entertaining visiting relatives. Another fun night sharing almost unending plates of (albeit daring to some) delicious food.

My favorite bites so far have been the Bӓco (if you go, order this FIRST!), Pig’s Ears, Chicharones Skewers, Braised Beef with Cream of Wheat… oh HECK, just look at the photos below because I’ve fallen for everything on Chef Josef Centeno’s menu!

Peter and I will be back soon, if we can get a reservation that is! Rave reviews (links below) and a recent mention on Jonathan Gold’s “99 Things to Eat in L.A. Before You Die” list will make it a bit more difficult to party at the Ox, but it’s definitely worth the effort!!

Lazy Ox Canteen visit 1
The Bӓco: Grilled flatbread, crispy pork belly, arugula and poblano sauce

Lazy Ox Canteen visit 1
Truffled Potato Croquettes. Only $5 on Happy Hour Menu

Lazy Ox Canteen visit 1
Patatas Bravas with Smoked Paprika

Lazy Ox Canteen visit 1
Sea Bream is brick oven roasted, head on, with herbs, lemon, purple baby scallions, and chimichurri

Lazy Ox Canteen visit 1
White Soy Marinated Yellowtail with crushed avocado, crispy hash brown and creme fraiche

Lazy Ox Canteen visit 2
Crispy Pig Ears with Horseradish Cream

Lazy Ox Canteen visit 2
Whipped Jersey Cow Ricotta with Sea Salt and Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Lazy Ox Canteen visit 2
Toasted Peruvian corn, with spices and lime called cancha

Lazy Ox Canteen visit 2
Pork Chicharones Skewers with poblano sauce at Lazy Ox Canteen. $5 on the Happy Hour Menu.
Lazy Ox Canteen visit 2
Chicken Livers with Whole-Grain Mustard & Pancetta Crisp $7

Lazy Ox Canteen visit 2
Charred Octopus with Pickled Shallots, Lima Beans and Smoked Paprika $15
Lazy Ox Canteen visit 2
Salt Cod Brandade Fritters with Grated Mojama & Lemon Vinaigrette $8

Lazy Ox Canteen visit 2
Braised Beef Paleron (pot roast) w/ cream of wheat, kumquats and red wine $23
Lazy Ox Canteen visit 2
Slow Cooked Pork Shoulder with Turnips, Quinoa and Walnut Chile Tarator Sauce $21

Lazy Ox Canteen visit 2
Hand-Torn Egg Pasta with Sunny-Side Egg, Brown Butter & Fines Herbs $11

Lazy Ox Canteen visit 2
Sopapillas

All my Lazy Ox Canteen Photos on Flickr

LAZY OX CANTEEN
241 S. San Pedro St.
Little Tokyo, Downtown L.A. 90012
(213) 626-5299
http://www.LazyOxCanteen.com

Dining Dates: 1/14/10 & 2/6/10

99 Things to Eat in L.A. Before you Die by Jonathan Gold

Jonathan Gold’s Review on L.A. Weekly

L.A. Times Review

Jonathan Gold discusses Lazy Ox on KCRW’s Good Food

Check out Anne Fishbein’s BEAUTIFUL photos!

Haiti Fundraiser at TiGeorges’ Chicken

Sage Mountain Farm

Follow the Lazy Ox on Twitter

Lazy Ox Canteen on Urbanspoon

Advertisements

14 Comments

Filed under Eating Out, Hot Chefs

Mozza 2Go!

Mozza 2 Go, MyLastBite.comSince our very first visit to Pizzeria Mozza (Christmas Eve 2006), Peter and I have continuously wished for two things: That Mozza would offer a Pizza-to-go / Delivery service, and that Nancy Silverton would make a pizza with chicken liver, guanciale and burrata. If you love Mozza’s Chicken Liver Bruschetta, then you’d understand how amazing this dream pie could be.

Last Thursday, when I learned (via @Foodwoolf on Twitter) that “Mozza 2Go” was OPEN, I immediately texted my husband and wrote, “DO NOT MAKE PLANS TOMORROW!” 

Peter had Friday off from work, and up to that moment, we had no actual plans for the 3rd of July. I searched online to find an opening time for Mozza 2Go, but the closest thing to actual hours listed (at that time) was an Eater LA article stating that, “the first order accepted at noon and the last order at 11:00 pm”.

Thinking there would be a line around the block (hey, it’s Mozza after all!), I told Peter we should plan on getting there by 10:30 AM. I figured we could order a pie, eat it there and then do some shopping at the Grove afterwards. There’s a Mac Store at the Grove… and Peter was obsessed about getting his new iPhone. All I wanted was to check out the new Mozza 2Go. It was a “win win” situation for sure.

By 10:45 am, the only people visible at Mozza 2Go were locksmiths working on the doors to the Scuola di Pizza (Pizza School) next door. I took several photographs of the exterior and called the Mozza 2Go phone number. The lovely voice on the recording noted that they were open Tuesday through Sunday, and that the phone lines opened at 11:00 am, with the first order availalable at noon. The message also said to check the Mozza2Go.com website for more details, but as of that morning (Friday July 3rd), the site was not yet online (Peter kept checking with his old iPhone).

So, we waited. “Mozza Groupies”, just the two of us. I kept calling the number and got the same recording… over and over again. At 11:30, we (meaning Peter) decided we should drive to the Grove and come back afterwards. My iPhone-obsessed husband traipsed off to the Mac store, while I impatiently shopped at World Market and Sur La Table (both stores are near the parking lot).

At about one o’clock we finally got back in the car (Peter flying high from his 3Gs iPhone purchase), and drove back to Highland and Melrose. The sidewalk was still empty, but Mozza 2Go was finally OPEN! Yes, some wishes do come true!

No crowds yet, just us and another couple waiting to order pizza. For some reason (hunger?) I thought we could order a pizza and have the choice of either eating there or taking it home, but of course it’s called “Mozza 2Go”! After a quick look around (they sell the chicken liver AND the Budino to go!), we decided to try to get a table at Pizzeria Mozza around the corner. Having skipped breakfast, we were both, by then, famished and a little cranky (at least I was, Peter was playing with his shiny new toy). 

During the end of our lunch at Pizzeria Mozza (photos & link below), Peter called Mozza 2GO and ordered a Fennel Sausage Pizza for us to pick up afterwards. We figured we may as well try the 2Go service since we were there, and heck… we never get sick of Mozza!

When we got back to Mozza 2Go, I was curious about the Pizza School next door. “Where do I sign up?” was the first question out of my mouth, but it turns out it’s for private events only, with a max of 45 “students” per class. A press release was recently sent out that noted, “In addition to pizza training the Scuola will be home to a variety of cooking demos, wine tastings and other culinary exploits”. I asked about the cost for a private pizza class (with 44 of my nearest and dearest), but no one had any answers yet. My birthday isn’t until March, so there’s plenty of time for Peter to sort that out.

Mozza 2 Go, MyLastBite.com
 Mozza 2Go Entrance / Awning

Mozza 2 Go, MyLastBite.com
Scuola di Pizza front window (to the left of Mozza 2Go).

Mozza 2 Go, MyLastBite.com
Mozza 2Go Entrance.

Mozza 2 Go, MyLastBite.com
Imported goodies for sale.

Mozza 2 Go, MyLastBite.com
That’s Butterscotch Budino on the top right shelf!

Mozza 2 Go, MyLastBite.com
Mozza 2Go Menu.

Mozza 2 Go, MyLastBite.com
Butterscotch Budino to GO! Make sure you get the Rosemary Pinenut Cookie with it.

Mozza 2 Go, MyLastBite.com
Monini Olive Oil used in the Mozza kitchens. (Nancy participates in this olive oil coop in Italy).

Mozza 2 Go, MyLastBite.com
Counter goodies. (Partial of Nancy Silverton) 

Mozza 2 Go, MyLastBite.com
Peter paying for our treats.

Mozza 2 Go, MyLastBite.com
At the counter.

Mozza 2 Go, MyLastBite.com
Scuola di Pizza (Pizza School) next to Mozza 2Go.

Mozza 2 Go, MyLastBite.com
Looking from Mozza 2Go into Scuola di Pizza.

Mozza 2 Go, MyLastBite.com
Pizza boxes on the shelves at Scuola di Pizza.

Mozza 2 Go, MyLastBite.com
Our pizza (Fennel Sausage, Panna, Red Onion $15) outside of Mozza 2Go.

Mozza 2 Go, MyLastBite.com
I love Nancy’s signature on the pizza box sticker! (Yes, I saved it)

Mozza 2 Go, MyLastBite.com
Fennel Sausage, Panna, Red Onion Mozza 2Go Pizza –
PERFECT 
at home!

Mozza 2Go
Scuola di Pizza

6610 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90038
323 297 1130

Website

Hours: 12pm – 11pm
Closed Monday
Free 15 minute parking for take out orders available behind Mozza 2 Go.

Dining date: July 3, 2009

All Mozza 2Go Photos on Flickr

Mentioned above:

Lunch at Pizzeria Mozza

@Foodwoolf

Eater LA

The Grove

World Market

Sur la Table

iPhone

18 Comments

Filed under Eating Out

Pizzeria Mozza – 7/03/09

Pizzeria Mozza, MyLastBite.comWhile waiting for the new Mozza 2 Go to open last Friday, my husband Peter and I decided to get some lunch at Pizzeria Mozza, which is right around the corner. We’ve never gone to Mozza just for the pizza, although they certainly do make our favorite pies in town.

If you were to ask us separately, what our favorite pizza was at Mozza, there is no doubt we would both say, “Chicken liver and Guanciale”. It doesn’t actually exist, but we pretend like it does by each ordering our own serving of Bruschetta with Chicken Livers, Capers, Parsley & Guanciale (three pieces each). It’s the one dish that Peter and I always crave, so whenever we sit down for a bite at the pizzeria, we treat the chicken liver on bruschetta like the “main course”, then split a pizza “on the side”.

I want to note here that the bread that comes with the chicken liver is beautiful. The bruschetta is warm, crispy and is a sturdy vehicle for the creamy chicken liver. I have no complaints about the bread, but I just think the chicken liver mixture would be stellar on Mozza’s light and airy pizza crust. The dough could be cooked with just a little olive oil in the wood-burning oven, then topped with chicken liver, guanciale and burrata while still warm. 

This brilliant idea of ours hasn’t made it on the menu yet, even though we hint anytime we see Nancy at a food festival or at the restaurant. I was thrilled to learn that Mozza 2 Go will be selling their chicken liver for take-out as well, so you can bet I’ll be having some fun whipping up my dreamy concoction at home!

The pizza (that we shared) on this visit was a luscious Egg, Bacon, Yukon gold Potato & Bermuda Onion Pizza. We also each had a quartino of Bastianich Tocai Friulano wine, and it was a perfect start to the holiday weekend.

Pizzeria Mozza, MyLastBite.com
Bruschette: Chicken Livers, Capers, Parsley & Guanciale

Pizzeria Mozza, MyLastBite.com
Egg, Bacon, Yukon gold Potato & Bermuda Onion Pizza, Photo 1

Pizzeria Mozza, MyLastBite.com
Photo 2

Pizzeria Mozza, MyLastBite.com
Photo 3

Pizzeria Mozza
641 N. Highland Ave. Los Angeles,
California 90036
(323) 297-0101
mozza-la.com

Dining date: July 3, 2009

Mozza 2 Go (my first visit)

Bastianich Tocai Friulano

Mozza 2 Go (website)

About Guanciale

12 Comments

Filed under Eating Out

The Bazaar by José Andrés [11]

After multiple visits to the Bazaar (this being number eleven), Peter and I get most excited when we’re bringing in “Bazaar Virgins” (first timers) to the restaurant. It’s even more fun when they’re big time foodies like our friends Ron and Diane. Thanks to the wonderful staff (William, Felix, Alison, Audra!), we were seated at my favorite table in the Rojo room, with a direct view of the open kitchen.

It’s always a delight when Amanda rolls up to our table with the liquid nitrogen cart (or caviar or cotton candy). And I love when servers that aren’t even working our table (Calvin and Hugh) stop by for a quick hello. I’ve had several people ask me why I keep returning to the Bazaar, when there are so many other places to try, and honestly… besides the incredible food and fun atmosphere, it’s because they make me (and my “virgins”) feel perfectly welcome on each and every visit.

THANK YOU to everyone at Bazaar and SLS!

Bazaar Visit #11, MyLastBite.com
West Hollywood Cone: Rainbow Tobiko Caviar (almost too pretty to eat!)

Bazaar Visit #11, MyLastBite.com
Papas Canarias: Salty, wrinkled potatoes with mojo verde

Bazaar Visit #11, MyLastBite.com
Japanese Taco: Grilled eel, shiso, cucumber, wasabi and chicharron

Bazaar Visit #11, MyLastBite.com
Tortilla de Patates “New Way” Potato Foam, egg 63, caramelized onions

Bazaar Visit #11, MyLastBite.com
Gazpacho estilo Algeciras: Traditional gazpacho

Bazaar Visit #11, MyLastBite.com
Ensaladilla Rusa: Potato salad, tuna belly and mayo (I know this doesn’t look like much, but the flavors here were FANTASTIC.)

Bazaar Visit #11, MyLastBite.com
Wild Mushroom Soup: Idiazabal cheese and golden egg yolk

Bazaar Visit #11, MyLastBite.com
Uva Bella cocktails (muddled white grapes, gin, elderflower liqueur, fresh lemon juice, simple syrup and orange bitters).

The Bazaar by José Andrés, SLS Hotel
 465 South La Cienega Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 9004
(310) 246-5555
http://www.theBazaar.com

< Visit 10

Dining date: 4/26/09

The Bazaar By Jose Andres on Urbanspoon

6 Comments

Filed under Eating Out

Kogi

The Kogi Taco Truck made me miss being in my twenties. Especially over the last couple of months, since I started following their Twitter updates on my cell phone. Late at night I’d be in bed reading a book, and have to stop so I could see the incoming Twitter text: “10PM-2AM@The Brig – Abbot Kinney and Palm in Venice”. I couldn’t stop wondering, “Who ARE these people partying EVERY night of the week, chasing down the Kogi taco truck at 2AM?”

It was sort of depressing, because I wanted to be out there chasing the truck too, but then again, I didn’t want to be OUT THERE chasing the truck (or chasing anything for that matter). The Alibi Room in Culver City actually runs a Kogi kitchen (monday thru saturday), but still, I had no desire to fight rush-hour traffic and wait in a ridiculously long line, just for a TACO. 

I admit it, at 45 years old, I’m definitely more of an OpenTable, “reservations a month in advance” sort of eater these days, but of course, that wasn’t always the case.

Twenty-Something, MyLastBite.com

Shortly after I turned twenty-one, I moved to Pacific Beach in San Diego, then spent the next couple of years partying non-stop with my friends. Our days consisted mostly of working in retail during the day, sunning ourselves on our days off and planning “girls night out” EVERY single night of the week.

Most of us were on pretty tight budgets, but we knew which beach bars served free “happy hour” food (drinks bought by the fellas), and it usually consisted of nachos, taquitos or plates of bacon-topped potato skins. Remember when potato skins were the cool, new appetizers?

Roberto's Taco Shop, MyLastBite.comOur favorite drinking holes back then were places like the Beachcomber or the Pennant, and we never missed a Tuesday $1 Margarita night at Diego’s on Garnet Avenue. Quick trips to Mexico for cheap lobster and margaritas were followed by dancing all night at the local clubs.

These nightly adventures always ended with a trip to Roberto’s Taco Shop in Mission Beach, which was steps from the shore, next to the aging Big Dipper roller coaster. The giant, carne asada burrito was my favorite and I always ordered it with extra guacamole. I can’t recall ever eating there during the day, or going there sober for that matter, but back in the day, Roberto’s Taco Shop was MY Kogi.

All-You-Can-Eat Kogi Event, MyLastBite.comIf you’re not familiar with Kogi BBQ, then you probably don’t live in the Los Angeles area. The first time I read about Kogi was on an EaterLA/Lesley Balla post back in December (boy, do I miss her on Eater these days). Ever since then, Kogi has been the “it” taco truck in the city, offering the flavor of spicy Korean barbecue, conveniently wrapped in a fresh tortilla. Kogi gained even more followers when they started using Twitter to communicate upcoming locations with their customers. It was a simple (and brilliant) way for Kogi to keep in contact with hungry, usually late-night, eaters.

All-You-Can-Eat Kogi Event, MyLastBite.comLast Thursday, I just happened to be reading the Kogi website, when I noticed a post titled, “What 20 Bucks Can Buy You”, and was thrilled to learn that it was for a fundraiser in nearby Burbank the same evening. The Gina Alexander Philanthropy Project partnered with Kogi to offer All-You-Can-Eat Kogi tacos for $20, with the proceeds benefiting the Center of Hope Village (for abused children) in the Philippines.

I called Peter and made sure he could make it home early so we could finally try the now-famous Kogi tacos together. Just last week the Kogi truck had been on the Fox lot where he works and he hoped to try it then, but the line was just too long for a my workaholic husband, who doesn’t like to break for lunch anyway.

We arrived at the event 30 minutes early, and after paying our $20 donation (each), we headed for the Kogi truck line, quite pleased to be very close to the front. It was another hour before the truck actually showed up, but there was plenty of entertainment to keep us occupied (photos below), and we didn’t mind because it was all for a good cause.

Peter and I both ordered two Korean Short Ribs and one Spicy Pork. The All-You-Can-Eat Kogi Taco offer, was limited to three at a time, which made sense because when I looked back at the line behind us, there must have been at least 150 hungry people waiting on the street. 

The tacos were terrific (LOVED the spicy pork), and we were content with the three that we tried. Of course if we didn’t have to get back in line and wait again, we would have definitely made it a furious pig-out session, but mostly it felt good to make the donation (Peter later told me he slipped them another $20), and to FINALLY get a taste of the Kogi phenomenon!

Afterwards we headed home, took our pups for their evening walk, and then I fell asleep next to my husband reading my favorite, new book. And guess what? I was tickled pink, NOT to be in my twenties again.

All-You-Can-Eat Kogi Event, MyLastBite.com
Peter saving our spot in the Kogi line

All-You-Can-Eat Kogi Event, MyLastBite.com
DJ Derek Basco entertaining the kids (and us grown-ups too!)

Wrestling at GAPP Event, MyLastBite.com
Waiting for the wrestling event

All-You-Can-Eat Kogi Event, MyLastBite.com
The Kogi Taco Truck arrives!

All-You-Can-Eat Kogi Event, MyLastBite.com
Peter almost up to order… and check out the line behind him.

All-You-Can-Eat Kogi Event, MyLastBite.com
The Kogi Truck menu

All-You-Can-Eat Kogi Event, MyLastBite.com
Korean Short Ribs and Spicy Pork!

All-You-Can-Eat Kogi Event, MyLastBite.com
GAPP founder (Gina Alexander Philanthropy Project) Gina Alexander, with Kogi owners Caroline Shin-Manguera and Mark Manguera.

Upcoming All-You-Can-Eat Kogi Taco dates: 

Thurs, June 25
Thurs, July 30
Thurs, August 27
You must rsvp for your name to be placed on the list.
Email/RSVP or Get more info by contacting
gapp@ginaalexander.com

More Kogi photos on Flickr

Mentioned Above:

Kogi Website

Gina Alexander Website

Center of Hope Village in Philippines

Kogi on Twitter

About Twitter

The Alibi Room

All-You-Can-Eat Kogi Event Info

Eater L.A. – Lesley Balla on Kogi

Lesley Balla currently writes for Tasting Table

OpenTable

Eater LA

My current, favorite book (that I’m reading again)

With Peter

Our Pups

Roberto’s Taco Photo Courtesy of David C.

The Pennant Bar

The Beachcomber

Dining Date: 4/30/09


Kogi Korean BBQ on Urbanspoon

13 Comments

Filed under Food Events (festivals, classes, etc.), Food Stories (written by me), Food Trucks

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

11 Comments

Filed under Eating Out, Molecular Cooking

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.

18 Comments

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