Tag Archives: salmon

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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Palate Food & Wine [1 & 2]

When Palate Food & Wine first opened last May, I thought the restaurant was located in a mall. Specifically, I thought it was one of the new eateries at the “Americana at Brand” in Glendale. I immediately added it to my “eat there soon” list, but I hesitated making a reservation because it was in a mall.

It’s not that I have anything against eating at a mall. Whenever I go to the Grove (next to Farmer’s Market), I love eating at Ulysses Voyage Greek restaurant. My favorite bite there is the “Chicken Lemonato”. When I go shopping with my sister’s kids at Montclair Plaza, we ALWAYS stop for a bite at Hotdog-On-A-Stick, and it’s usually me begging to stop! I have no problem eating at a mall… it’s just that I’ve never gone to a mall for the sole purpose of dining … until recently.

When Los Angeles Magazine proclaimed Palate Food and Wine, the “Years Best Restaurant” (Jan 2009 issue), I thought “well that’s worth eating at a mall”. My husband and I made a reservation for an early 6pm Saturday dinner on January 3rd. We left the house about thirty minutes before (it would usually be about a fifteen minute drive), because we were concerned about busy mall parking. I was also worried about trying to find the restaurant in a shopping center that neither of us had been to before.

Driving up to Americana we saw signs for valet parking so we turned in the driveway, but before we got out I asked, “which way is Palate?”. The valet had no clue so we waited in the car while he checked for us. He came back a minute later and said there was no “Palate” restaurant at Americana. 

By this time, I decided to do the obvious thing and called the restaurant for directions. I wish I could find a better word than this, but since it works so beautifully here… I simply need to say… DUH, Palate Food and Wine is NOT located at the mall!

For those of you (who like me) thought it was located INSIDE the Americana at Brand, the restaurant is actually a few blocks PAST the mall (if you’re coming from the 134 freeway). It’s on the right side (on Brand blvd) in between Garfield and Chevy Chase Dr. Just look for the Mazda dealership and you’re very close.

What about the food? We LOVED it. So much that we went back the next Saturday, but this time for a later 9:30 dinner reservation (just to get a different vibe). Chef Becerra was warm and inviting on both visits. We chatted about truffles on the first night and pork belly on the second. I mistakenly thought the pork belly portions were bone marrow (from across the room) and was wondering why they weren’t on the menu. 

During our first dinner at Palate, our table was next to where Chef Becerra was expediting orders… which is absolute HEAVEN for me, except my back was to the chef and kitchen! Peter kept “oohing” and watching as Chef Becerra was finishing the plates before sending them out to diners. I made sure I had the better view on our second visit.

Near the end of that first dinner…. after we had ordered our cheese course, Peter said “hey, that looks like a truffle shaver. I think the chef is shaving truffles”. I quickly snapped my head around and yes indeed… Becerra was shaving big, beautiful black truffles on to what looked like three portions of the lightest, fluffiest scrambled eggs ever. This was definitely not on the menu so I asked the chef what he was making. And then I called our waiter over so, we too, could partake in the decadent truffle egg dish.

The waiter paused and said “really?… you want to order it now, after your cheese course? I’ll have to check with the chef”. A few minutes later we were happily eating the lighter-than-air fluffy eggs (on a crostini) covered with perfectly shaved truffle slices.

That was definitely one of our favorite bites at Palate (so far). And we would have missed it if Peter didn’t know what a truffle shaver was! He was familiar with it because I use ours regularly to slice garlic and shallots. It would have been so unfortunate if we had missed out on the delicious “off the menu” dish.

Our favorite server on both nights was the lovely and charming Monica. Just like Chef Becerra, she made us feel comfortable and welcome. If you haven’t been to Palate yet, you should find your way there (it’s not at the mall!) soon.

What we ate (from “Winter Dinner Menus” 43 & 44)
Butter at Palate, MyLastBite.com
Homemade butter with radish slices and fleur de sel.

Dinner at Palate, MyLastBite.com
Porkfolio with Grape Leave Mustard $12, Potted Salmon Rillettes $5, Short Ribs (with Pomme Puree) $19, Pork Belly (with Sweet Potato Hash) $17.

Dinner at Palate, MyLastBite.com
Pickled Persimmon $3, Scallops $12, Cheese Course: (Puits d’astiers, Brillat Savarin, Epoisses) $12 (for 3), Young Rabbit with Roasted Grapes $18.

Truffles & Eggs, MyLastBite.com
Crostini with Eggs and Shaved Black Truffles (off menu item). Not in photos that we also loved: Potted Olives with Citrus & Thyme $5, Potted Berkshire Pork $5.

Fromaggier at Palate, MyLastBite.com
One of my favorite rooms at Palate was the fromager station. If you love cheese as much as I do, then you’ll want to press your face against the chilled glass too. Make sure you wave a hello to the AWESOME fromager, Andrew Camp!
Fromaggier at Palate, MyLastBite.com
Andrew hard at work. 

Cheeses at Palate, MyLastBite.com

Chef Octavio Becerra, MyLastBite.com
with the delightful Chef Octavio Becerra

Note: This restaurant is now CLOSED

Palate Food and Wine
933 S Brand Blvd
Glendale, CA 91204
818. 662.9463

Positively Delicious Reviews posted on:

L.A. Times

CitySearch

Gayot

Additional Links:

My Truffle Shaver

http://www.AmericanaAtBrand.com/

http://www.UlyssesVoyage.com/

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

Fusion Sushi 313

by Jo Stougaard

Stripmall sushi joints. Aren’t they always the best finds? Even the original Studio City Katsu-Ya (my regular haunt) is better than the newer, larger outposts.

Yesterday was my sister Janet’s birthday so we went to her favorite sushi place (in Glendora, CA) called “Fusion Sushi 313”. A tiny little place in yet another dreary looking stripmall. Joining us for dinner was my husband Peter and Janet’s three kids; Chace, Kindal and Cody. Her husband is a firefighter and was working at the station.

Janet ordered her favorite sake, Sayuri (smooth & creamy unfiltered sake). I was thrilled to find they imported Orion beer from Okinawa (where Janet & I grew up before moving to California). Not many Japanese restaurants carry Orion beer, so this to me was definitely a good sign.
Fusion Sushi313 OrionBeer SayuriSake
The restaurant looked pretty boring from the outside, and was tastefully simple on the inside… but when the food came the energy completely changed. It was simply awesome!

My nephew Chace is 12 and is the least adventurous eater in the family. There’s nothing wrong with that. He just likes good old Teriyaki steak, and will only go so far as to eat California rolls. His twin sister Kindal and big brother Cody (19) will try ANYTHING. Kindal happily ordered Crunchy Spicy Tuna & Seared Albacore. Cody was in charge of ordering the “fusion” dishes off the extensive three page menu.

We were all so excited to share the multiple plates of rolls & sashimi, reaching over each other, that one delicious piece was dropped into a glass of water (more on that later).

The Salmon Tataki (salmon sashimi, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, fried olives, avocado and garlic chips)… this was incredible… so elegant to look at… something you’d see on an Italian Crudo menu. That was my sister & husband’s favorite dish.

Fusion Sushi 313 Salmon Tataki

Cody and I loved the “Heart Attack”. When Cody suggested it I said “I don’t even care what it is… with a name like that I know I’ll need it!” It was just wicked good! A Jalapeno stuffed with cream cheese, spicy tuna and of course… DEEP FRIED.

Fusion Sushi 313 HeartAttack1

The Dynamite baked seafood dish was terrific too. I don’t think I’ve had it with such FRESH clams before.

Fusion Sushi 313 Dynamite

At the end of our meal, I noticed that the dropped sushi roll was still in Chace’s water glass. The ice had melted so it was a bit cloudy and well…. just really gross! I jokingly said to Chace “Twenty bucks if you drink that sushi water”. He didn’t hesitate for a second and just started sucking down the sushi-infused water! Now, this is the kid that ordered Teriyaki Steak because he isn’t really “into” sushi yet! I was shocked at first… then thrilled and handed over the $20! The next time we go to Fusion Sushi 313, I know he’ll be brave enough to try Uni (sea urchin) and I don’t care if it costs me another $20!

Chace drinks Sushi!

Cubaks Fusion Sushi 313 Fusion Sushi 313 is located at
1758 S Grand Ave
Glendora, CA 91740
(626) 335-4033

Lunch: 11:30am-3:00pm (Mon-Fri)
Dinner: 5:00pm-10:00pm (7days)

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Michel Richard’s Citrus at Social

Note: This restaurant is now CLOSED.

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

Citrus at Social

The reason we LOVE Chef Michel Richard.

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

(323) 337-9797

Website

Dining Date: 2.28.08

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