Tag Archives: S. Irene Virbila

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

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Deeply Madly Marché

Marché Restaurant Sunday Supper [Visit 6]

When Peter and I fall in love with a restaurant, we fall MADLY. Especially so, when it’s just a few minutes away from our home in Studio City. Although we tried to show some restraint in the past few weeks, we have NOT been able to stay away from our (now favorite) neighborhood spot.

During our New Year’s Eve dinner at Marché (link below), Chef Gary Menes told us about his upcoming “Sunday Suppers”. Instead of the regular tasting menu (which we LOVE because we share multiple plates), there would be a 4-Course Prix Fixe dinner for only $30.

When we learned (on yet another visit) that Marché server Ashton Sullivan would be the evening’s entertainment, we decided to make this first “Marché Sunday Supper” a good old fashioned party.

It’s not a real party without my nephews (big brothers to the twins), so Camron and Cody (along with their girlfriends) drove out from Glendora in the pouring rain. Friends Emrah & Silma trekked into the valley from over the hill, and although Lisa & Dave could have easily walked the few blocks to the restaurant, the streets were just too wet for a casual Sunday stroll.

The atmosphere is so cozy at Marché, especially on a cold and rainy night. Our table of ten hunkered down for a few hours of great food, drinks, soothing guitar by Ashton and of course lots of laughs. As Lisa (@DailyWine) tweeted the next morning: “You’re doing something right when place is packed on a Sun in LA in the rain”. So true.

Sunday Supper #1 [visit 6]:

Marché Restaurant visit 6
1st Course: Romey Lettuce, Goat Cheese, Apples, Cider Vinaigrette.
2nd Course: Soup – Okinawa Sweet Potatoes, Leeks, Truffle Scented Creme Fraiche.
3rd Course: Beouf Bourguignon (cooked sous vide for 36 hours at 60 degrees celsius), Pomme Puree.
4th Course: Creme Caramel, Coconut Butter Cookies.

Marché Restaurant visit 6
3rd course option (instead of the beouf bourguignon) was Blue Hubbard Squash, Wheat Berries, Smoked Pearl Onions, Sauce Soubise.

Marché Restaurant visit 6
Cody (my nephew) & his girlfriend Jade, Camron (my nephew) & his girlfriend Jennee at the first ever Sunday Supper at Marché Restaurant

Marché Restaurant visit 6
Peter having a laugh with Chef Menes

Marché Restaurant visit 6
Music by Ashton Sullivan
Marché Restaurant visit 6
With our good friends Emrah and Simla

Sunday Supper: $30
Quartino of Wine $5
Dining Date: 1/17/10 with Peter, Cody, Jade, Camron, Jennee, Lisa & Dave, Simla & Emrah.
Mentioned above:

Marché [Visit 5]
Marché Restaurant visit 5
Pig Candy: Applewood Smoked Bacon, Brown Sugar, Spices

Marché Restaurant visit 5
Veal Tongue Pastrami, Horseradish Creme Fraiche

Marché Restaurant visit 5
Jambon, Butter, Pain Grille

Marché Restaurant visit 5
Local Yellow Tail, Honshimegi Mushrooms, Sugar Peas, Green Garlic

Marché Restaurant visit 5
Healthy Family Farms Chicken, Purple Top Turnips, Chantrelle Mushrooms, Hearts of Romaine

Marché Restaurant visit 5
Prime Beef, Pomme de Terre, Torpedo Onions, Haritcots Verts, Red Wine

Dining Date: 1/08/10 with Peter, Bob, Lisa & Dave

Note: This restaurant is now closed. Please follow Chef Menes on Twitter

Marché
13355 Ventura Blvd.
Sherman Oaks, CA 91423
(818) 784-2915
Website

Update: 3/30/10 Read Jonathan Gold’s Review!

All Marché photos on Flickr

Marché [1 & 2]

Marché [3]

New Year’s Eve at Marché [4]

Marche on Urbanspoon

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A Bossa Nova New Year’s Eve

Bossa Nova music makes me feel giddy and extraordinarily happy. You know that feeling you get from listening to childhood records? A sudden spike of joy deep inside your soul?

Dancing with my big sister Janet, OkinawaWhen my sister Janet and I were growing up in Okinawa, our favorite records were the ones we weren’t allowed to play. Dutifully, we listened to Disney records that our grandparents mailed from the states, but we most enjoyed sneaking into our dad’s immaculate record collection.

He never found out about our little secret because my big sister was absolutely brilliant (even at seven years old). When we decided on an LP that we wanted to hear, Janet would pull THREE albums partially out of the record shelf. The one we wanted to hear was in the middle, the two others on each side were place holders (so she knew where to return the treasured vinyl). Big sis never allowed ME to actually TOUCH the records, which was probably a really good idea.

Our very favorite albums back then were Herb Alpert, and the awesome Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66. We knew all the words to “Mais Que Nada” (still do), and would invite friends over for after-school dancing. To this day, Bossa Nova is always on my party mix. Just try listening to “One Note Samba / Spanish Flea” without dancing or bobbing your head.

When Peter and I first met fifteen years ago, we bonded over discussions of Bossa Nova music. Two years later on our wedding day, I walked down the aisle to Astrud Gilberto’s “Summer Samba (So Nice)”. If you don’t know the song, the lyrics begin with:

“Someone to hold me tight, that would be very nice
Someone to love me right, that would be very nice

Someone to understand each little dream in me
Someone to take my hand and be a team with me

So nice… life would be so nice, if one day I’d find
Someone who would take my hand and samba through life with me”

And yes, it’s been SO NICE!

Marché Restaurant, MyLastBiteFor New Year’s Eve, we like to do something low-key. Sometimes we spend it with family, sometimes we cook together at home or go out to a nearby restaurant.

We’ve fallen in love with chef Gary Menes’ cooking at Marche’ recently, and luckily the restaurant is just a few minutes from our house. When I read there would be a live JAZZ band on New Year’s Eve, I don’t know why but I just assumed it would be modern or fusion jazz. Not my favorite, but I figured at least Peter would really enjoy it. Besides Bossa, I’m a big fan of New Orleans jazz (especially Preservation Hall, the legendary band we recently saw at Disney Hall).

We had a 9pm dinner reservation, and I knew the food would be fantastic (this would be our fourth visit) so I wasn’t going to let the jazz in the background bother me. The duo wasn’t playing when we were being seated, and after we settled in and put on our party hats, there it was…. glorious BOSSA NOVA!

Yes, it was an elegantly laid-back, truffle-filled (thank you chef Menes!) food fest of a New Year’s Eve at Marche’, but with our beloved Bossa Nova warming up the crowded yet cozy dining room, it felt more like a party just for two.

My very Last Bites in 2009:

Marché Restaurant, MyLastBite
Winter Black Truffle Risotto. Raviolli: Swiss Chard, Mascarpone, Reggiano, Chestnuts.

Marché Restaurant, MyLastBite
Foie Gras Terrine, Date Compote, Brioche. Romey Lettuce, Baby Beets, Goat Cheese, Pistachios.

Marché Restaurant, MyLastBite
Hokkaido Scallops, Cauliflower, Apple, Gastrique, Vaudouvan Butter.

Marché Restaurant, MyLastBite
Fennel, Orange, Pear, Forbidden Rice.

Marché Restaurant, MyLastBite
Healthy Family Farms Chicken, Peas, Carrots, Tendrils, Grits.

Marché Restaurant, MyLastBite
A5 Grade Australian 100% Wagu eye of RibEye , Pomme Puree, Hearts of Romaine, Bunch Onions, Red Wine

Marché Restaurant, MyLastBite
Calvados Brandy Cheesecake (plus lovely Caramel Apple Millefeuill, Apple Walnut Cake and Brown Sugar Ice Cream!) 

Note: This restaurant is now closed. Please follow Chef Menes on Twitter

 

Marché Restaurant, MyLastBiteMarché
13355 Ventura Blvd.
Sherman Oaks, CA 91423
(818) 784-2915
Website

Dining Date: 12/31/09 [this page is Visit 4]

Photos of all my dinners at Marché

Update: 3/30/10 Read Jonathan Gold’s Review!

Mentioned Above:

Bozza Nova from Wes Smith and Graham Dechter

All Marché photos on Flickr

More Okinawa Photos




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Marché [3]

We can’t seem to stay away from our favorite neighborhood bistro! Another fantastic evening Marché Restaurant:

Marché Restaurant visit 3
Amuse Bouche: Kumamoto Oyster w/ Minuet Sauce

Marché Restaurant visit 3
Pickled Fuyu Persimmon

Marché Restaurant visit 3
Perigord Truffle Risotto

Marché Restaurant visit 3
Coleman lettuce, baby beets, walnuts, goa cheese, herbs

Marché Restaurant visit 3
Arugula, tangerine, pecorino, pistachio, verjus vinaigrette

Marché Restaurant visit 3
Sushi grade big eye tuna, baby broccoli, forbidden rice, scallions, shitake, pea tendrils

Marché Restaurant visit 3
Creme Brulee & Beignet

Note: This restaurant is now closed. Please follow Chef Menes on Twitter

Marché
13355 Ventura Blvd.
Sherman Oaks, CA 91423
(818) 784-2915
Website

Dining Date: 12/26/09

Update: 3/30/10 Read Jonathan Gold’s Review!

Marché [1 & 2]

New Year’s Eve at Marché [4]

Marché [5 & 6]

Photos from previous dinners at Marché

Marche on Urbanspoon

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Marché [1 & 2]

CONGRATULATIONS to chef Gary Menes for the terrific L.A. Times review of Marché Restaurant (link below).

Peter and I have been eating at the Sherman Oaks location for years, and have happily returned to each new incarnation of the restaurant, formerly known as Max.

A few years ago, there was a daily show I watched regularly on cable called “Recipe TV”. It featured chefs from L.A. (as well as other cities) sharing recipes and cooking in their restaurant kitchens. Some of the chefs I enjoyed most were Dave Myers of Sona, Eric Greenspan (before he opened the Foundry) and Andre Guerrero (chef/owner) of Max restaurant in Sherman Oaks.

Since Max was just up the street, Peter and I got a kick out of ordering dishes that we had seen prepared on the show. The restaurant became our nearby “special occasion” place and we even celebrated New Year’s Eve in the elegant dining room one year.

Then in late 2008, Max restaurant was stripped down into a more casual bistro. At first, we were leery of trying out the new menu, but then fell absolutely in love with the Max Black Angus Burger and chicken liver pate’. That became our favorite comfort meal in the valley, and I would shamelessly dip my crispy fries into the creamy potted chicken liver like it was ketchup! French fries and chicken liver… a match made in heaven.

When I read that Max was being retooled, I figured it was the end of our favorite “old new” spot. Until I learned that the new chef had most recently worked at Palate Food + Wine in Glendale, under the helm of the awesome Octavio Becerra.

I’m happy to say, our first visit to the NEW Marché restaurant did not disappoint. Peter and I are looking forward to seeing (and of course TASTING) what’s next on the menu!

What we shared on our first visit:

Marché Restaurant, MyLastBite.com
Coddled Eggs, Summer Truffles

Marché Restaurant, MyLastBite.com
Scallops

Marché Restaurant, MyLastBite.com
Pork Rillette

Marché Restaurant, MyLastBite.com
Salad with Speck, Piedmontese Beef

Marché Restaurant, MyLastBite.com
Pork Belly with Figs

Marché Restaurant, MyLastBite.com
Apple Charlotte

Above Dining Date: 10/2/09

Below Dining Date: 11/28/09

Marché Restaurant, MyLastBite
Foie Gras Terrine, brioche au maison

Marché Restaurant, MyLastBite
Castelvetrano Olives with orange and pistou. Potted smoked prawns at Marché Restaurant

Marché Restaurant, MyLastBite
Local Calamari, Haricots Verts, Shitake, Meyer Lemon

Marché Restaurant, MyLastBite
Natural Beef, Potato, Red Wine

Photos from all my visits to Marché

Note: This restaurant is now closed. Please follow Chef Menes on Twitter

Marché L.A.
13355 Ventura Blvd.
Sherman Oaks, CA 91423
(818) 784-2915
Website

Mentioned Above:

L.A. Times Marché Review

L.A. Times Article about Max

Dining at Palate Food and Wine

Dining at the former MAX (Angus Burger)

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RH Restaurant

RH @ Andaz, MyLastBite.comDinner at RH restaurant has been one of the best all-around dining experiences I’ve had in quite a while. It’s not just the sleek surroundings of the restaurant, the attentive staff or even the food writer’s dream of an open kitchen. It’s mostly about the straightforward, yet sumptuous market-driven cooking of French-trained Chef Sebastien Archambault.

Having grown up in the 70’s, I also loved the fact that I was dining at the “Riot Hyatt” (RH), the center for all rock ‘n’ roll badness way back when. One of the best-known stories of the infamous hotel was when (as Wikipedia notes): “Led Zeppelin rented as many as six floors of the hotel in the mid-to-late 1970s for the band members and entourage. Drummer John Bonham was reported to have driven a motorcycle along the hallways”. 

On Stage at the Whisky-a-GoGo, MyLastBite.comIf you’ve seen the film “Almost Famous”, you’ll remember the hotel scene where Penny Lane takes William to meet with the band. Director Cameron Crowe did a wonderful job replicating the hotel’s free-spirited fun of the era, and even though I never got to actually stay at the “Riot Hyatt”, a few years ago I did come very close.

In 2004, my husband Peter rented out the legendary Whisky-a-GoGo club for my 40th birthday party. He knew that as a kid, I used to sneak out to see bands like “X” and “Motley Crue”, so it was a real treat to play guitar on the same stage.

The Whisky-a-GoGo, MyLastBite.comFor this milestone birthday celebration, we flew in my younger brother Greg and his band from Scotland, and just for fun… we treated them to a night at the Hyatt.

The Whisky is just up the street from the hotel, so after our gig we loaded up the band equipment, then dropped off Greg and his mates at the legendary flophouse. The hotel was renovated in January 2009 and is now called the Andaz West Hollywood.

The food at RH Restaurant is more “French Brasserie” than “Sunset Strip Room Service”, but take one bite of Chef Archambault’s “RH” Burger and you’ll feel like a self-indulgent, spoiled celebrity. The Black Angus beef is topped with a piece of perfectly seared foie gras, morel mushrooms, and it comes with a side of TRIPLE-fried french fries with fresh truffle shavings (not just truffle oil).

The RH Burger is absolutely my favorite burger and fries combination EVER. On top of that, the rest of the meal was excellent as well.

What we ate:

RH @ Andaz, MyLastBite.com
Market fresh veggies arrived at our table first.

RH @ Andaz, MyLastBite.com
Pata Negra Ham-Bellota (aged 36 months) w/ Tomato and Garlic Crostini. (Pan con tomate – Pa amb tomaquet) $25

RH @ Andaz, MyLastBite.com
Hudson Valley Foie Gras Terrine with Kumquat Confit $18

RH @ Andaz, MyLastBite.com
Hudson Valley Foie Gras Terrine with Kumquat Confit (close up)

RH @ Andaz, MyLastBite.com
Morels and Green Spring Onion Tart w/ Parsley Oil $18

RH @ Andaz, MyLastBite.com
The RH Burger: Black Angus Beef, Foie Gras and Morels $26 (includes fries)

RH @ Andaz, MyLastBite.com
Truffled Triple Fried French Fries (included with burger). Extra side $7

RH @ Andaz, MyLastBite.com
Green Vegetable Risotto Arborio with Peas, Zucchini, Asparagus and Fava Beans $20

RH @ Andaz, MyLastBite.com
12 Hour Cooked Boneless Suckling Pork with Roasted Apricot and Rosemary Jus $25

RH @ Andaz, MyLastBite.com
Side Dishes: Glazed Rainbow Carrots and Cauliflower Gratin $7 each

RH @ Andaz, MyLastBite.com
Warm Chocolate Cake w/ Little John’s English Toffee Caramel $8

RH @ Andaz, MyLastBite.com
Executive Chef Sebastien Archambault

RH @ Andaz, MyLastBite.com
RH from Sunset Strip

RH @ Andaz, MyLastBite.com
Shrimp & Bread Appetizers at the Bar. The day of our reservation, I learned that the RH bar was the start of the Sunset Strip’s first-ever “Twitter Crawl”, so Peter and I went early to check it out!

RH @ Andaz, MyLastBite.com5
Left: 
Mojito, Martini, Vodka 
Top Right: Looking in from the bar into the restaurant before dinner
Bottom Right: Looking out the RH bar window, Vincent Chace and his “boys”.

RH @ Andaz, MyLastBite.com
Seriously, one of the SWEETEST chefs in town! Chef Sebastien Archambault was kind enough to give me a private tour of the kitchen.

RH @ Andaz, MyLastBite.com
Touring the Open Kitchen

RH at Andaz West Hollywood
8401 Sunset Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90069
(323) 785-6090 Website

Dining Date: 7/1/09 with Peter, Julian & Wendy

Check out Twitter Tuesdays!
Posted on Twitter 7/28/09
“RH restaurant announces
Twitter Tuesdays. Get one complimentary dinner when dining with 2 or more people if you are following us
@
andazweho “

Mentioned Above:

History of the Riot Hyatt

My brother Greg’s band (in 2004) playing at my 40th birthday

Greg’s current band  His personal website

Whisky-a-GoGo website

“Riot Hyatt” clip from “Almost Famous” (scene starts at 1 minute in)

“Almost Famous” on IMDB

“Almost Famous” DVD

Entourage

The first Sunset Strip Twitter Crawl

All my RH photos on Flickr

With my brother Greg, on another legendary L.A. stage

RH at Andaz West Hollywood on Urbanspoon

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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

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 [5,6]

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, Jamones. MyLastBite.com
‘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).

Dragon's Breath! MyLastBite.com
Making the “Dragon’s Breath”, Caramel popcorn bites cooked in liquid nitrogen.

Tres Dragons, MyLastBite.com
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", MyLastBite.com
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 at Bar Centro, MyLastBite.com
Our reserved table in Bar Centro

Magic Mojito, MyLastBite.com 
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!

At the Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
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”!

Potato Foam, Caviar MyLastBite.com
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.

One Bite Wonder! MyLastBite.com
Foie Gras Cotton Candy! Me, Julian, my husband Peter and Andrew.

Meeting Jose, MyLastBite.com
Julian, Andrew, José Andrés, Peter

With Jose Andres, MyLastBite.com
Jo & José

At the Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
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
(310) 246-5555
http://www.TheBazaar.com

Mentioned above:

Andrew Macpherson’s Photographs

Julian Hill’s Artwork

Peter’s band, Rubylith

Meeting José the first time

Cabrales Cheese

Made in Spain 

<– Bazaar Visit #4

–> Bazaar Visit #7

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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