Tag Archives: spanish

Perfecto Rocher’s Paella

I can’t stop thinking about this lobster paella by Perfect Rocher. It’s only available on Sundays at Smoke, Oil, Salt on Melrose in Hollywood.

Read Jonathan Gold’s review here, and do go if you’ve never had authentic paella. It’s simply life-changing!

Perfect Rocher's Paella Sunday

Paella de Llamatol with Patagonia Shrimp, Garlic Lemon Aioli, Bomba
Photo by Jo Stougaard

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Filed under Eating Out, Little Bites

Bokado (now closed)

Bokado is a new Spanish restaurant, bar, and gourmet market, conveniently located ten minutes from my home in Studio City. I first read about it on LATimes.com last month, then added it to my lengthy “to do” list.

Bokado Brasserie, MyLastBite.comThe LA Times wrote:
The casual space blends the comfortable grace of a Basque asador (grillery and roast house) with a congenial full bar where updated pintxos (tapas) include spicy patatas bravas, artisanal cheeses and oysters Rockefeller.

When my husband Peter came home early from work last week, we decided to go out for a light dinner and drinks, because it was way too hot to cook, and almost too hot to eat! 

Bokado, which means “little bites” in Basque, sounded perfect. When we arrived, the outdoor patio tables were already filled, so we went inside (where it was nice and cool) and grabbed seats at the bar. The interior is modern but also really charming, with the small gourmet market (or gourmet counter really) at the entrance.

Bokado, MyLastBite.comAs we walked in, we couldn’t help but stop and admire the red-hot standing Berkel slicer near the front window. Someone once told me that the reason chefs prefer this motorless, hand-cranked meat slicer is because the blade doesn’t heat up when slicing paper-thin pieces of meats like prosciutto. On electric-powered slicers, the blade can become too hot, which in turn changes the flavor of the meat.

After we settled in our seats and ordered, I noticed that Bokado owner Frank Leon was in the house, graciously stopping at every table to say hello. Frank also owns La Loggia, a nearby Italian restaurant that we’ve gone to for years, and next to La Loggia is a tapas bar conveniently called “Next Door”, which Frank owns as well.

The tapas (or pintxos) we had at Bokado were delicious and filling, but we still need to go back for a full dinner. I really liked the bar atmosphere because it was light and relaxing, so I’m sure we’ll be spending a lot of summer evenings there with friends.

On our way out, we stopped to take a closer look at the goodies for sale at the cute, little market. The entire back wall was stacked with gorgeous baguettes, and the refrigerated display case held bottles of truffle oil, cheeses, meats and small containers of imported ingredients including quince paste. I like the flavor of quince because it’s not overly sweet, but have never purchased the paste to use at home.

When I asked to buy a container, the gals behind the register couldn’t find a price list anywhere, because as it turned out, they weren’t ready to actually SELL any of the market items yet! Peter and I just laughed and said we’d pick it up on our next visit, but owner Frank overheard the conversation and insisted we take home the quince paste as a gift. Thanks Frank!

Bokado Brasserie, MyLastBite.com
The Entrance. Outdoor patio area is to the right (see first photo above)

Bokado Brasserie, MyLastBite.com
Gourmet Market

Bokado, MyLastBite.com
Goodies!

Bokado, MyLastBite.com
Charming Decor

Bokado Brasserie, MyLastBite.com
Bar Menu

Bokado Brasserie, MyLastBite.com
Beer List

Bokado Brasserie, MyLastBite.com
Roasted Olives and Chilies. 

Bokado Brasserie, MyLastBite.com
Mac and MANCHEGO Cheese, Chicken Croquettes

Bokado Brasserie, MyLastBite.com
Charcuterie with Pan Con Tomate

Quince Paste from Bokado Market, MyLastBite.com
My Quince Paste!

Note: This restaurant is now closed

Bokado
12345 Ventura Blv.
Studio City, CA 91604
(818) 752-9222
Full Bar
Note: Bokado is open for breakfast and lunch too!

(no website)  

Bokado on LATimes.com

Berkel

La Loggia

About Pintxos

About Quince

More photos of Bokado on Flickr

Bokado on Urbanspoon

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Filed under Eating Out

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

Ferran Adria – One of the GREATS

Chef Ferran Adria was in town recently. Los Angeles was his only west coast stop to promote his new book “A Day at elBulli”

A Day at elBulli? I wish!

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the chef, a seat at his restaurant elBulli is one of most sought after reservations in the world. They receive over 2 million reservation requests each year, and there are only 8,000 available per season. More Info

On the morning of the book signing, I woke up at 4 am and couldn’t go back to sleep. I would be meeting FERRAN ADRIA! He was scheduled to be at the Cook’s Library at 3:30 for a book signing, but I was there by 1:30, nervously telling the staff “I’m a little early for Ferran”. Earlier that morning I called to find out how the event would be organized and was told “first come, first serve”.

The Cook’s Library is a true gem. It’s a small culinary bookstore, just up the street from the Beverly Center. This was my first visit and I fell in love with it instantly. The walls are filled with every cookbook I already own (hundreds) and every single one I have on my Amazon wishlist. Right then, I promised myself to only purchase my cookbooks there. So “bye buy” to my lazy Amazon.com shopping!

Since I was there so early, I sat on the small couch and piled up a stack of books and settled in. I noticed someone across the way doing the same, and I soon learned that she had been waiting for Ferran since 11:30am. Two hours before me! Good. I didn’t seem so freakish after all.

My husband Peter arrived around 2:30 just when it started getting busy. He never takes time off from work, but I insisted he come meet me by saying “it’s like the Pope is in town and we have an audience with him! You CAN’T miss this”! Of course I was also thinking “You have to be there so I can get a picture with Ferran Adria!”. And Honestly, it wouldn’t have been so special if we hadn’t shared it together. The sheer excitement of meeting the man, that many call “the BEST chef in the world”.

To have a book signed by Ferran, it had to be purchased at The Cook’s Library. We bought five copies… each book weighing in at seven pounds! Earlier the staff handed out post-it notes with numbers to help organize the line. Peter and I were number two. I proudly stuck the sticky on his lapel and we continued watching the scene together, as more and more people tried to squeeze into the small store. The line eventually went out the back door into the street.

It was fun to see that the staff was also thrilled to be meeting the famous chef. One of the clerks told us that Ferran Adria’s people had CONTACTED THEM. Ferran himself had picked the Cook’s Library for this book signing, an awesome honor indeed.

At 3:30 all eyes were on the front door. I spotted her first…. Isabel aka Mrs. Ferran Adria. I recognized her from a recent episode of “Made in Spain”, the show hosted by Ferran’s protégé Jose Andres. Mrs. Adria had a small video camera and was proudly filming her husband walking in the book shop. We all cheered and watched Ferran get settled in behind a desk, next to a mountain of books.

When I heard his translator speak, I instantly knew her voice. Lucy Garcia is also Anthony Bourdain’s Spanish translator. I think television is funny because we feel like we actually know the people. It was Lucy who was with Anthony Bourdain on his first visit to elBulli in 2006, “Decoding Ferran Adria” (Season 2, Episode 13). I have it on DVD and it always amazes me. In Bourdain’s recent 2008 Spain episode, Lucy was there again. This time Bourdain was in the elBulli kitchen with Ferran’s equally talented brother, Albert.

By 3:35 Peter and I were standing in front of the great chef with our five copies to be signed. He laughed when he saw our stack of books and thanked us. HE THANKED US. So gracious. He was happy to take photos and made ME feel special by his simple kindness.

That evening, still on my “Ferran Adria High”… I kept thinking about why it felt so special to meet him. He’s not my all time favorite chef… that top honor goes to Mario Batali (the best TV cooking instructor!)…. He doesn’t make my heart pitter patter like Anthony Bourdain or Eric Ripert. And meeting him wasn’t really like “meeting the Pope” (as I said to my husband) because we’re not even catholic!

To sum it up…
Meeting Ferran Adria is like a movie buff meeting Steven Spielberg…

Peter,Steven Spielberg, Jo MyLastBite.com

a Star Wars devotee hanging out backstage with composer John Williams…

Peter, John Williams, Jo MyLastBite.com

a Tonight Show viewer waiting for a flight with Johnny Carson in East Africa…

Jo, Johnny Carson MyLastBite.com

a Van Halen groupie partying with bassist Michael Anthony…

Jo, Michael Anthony, Peter MyLastBite.com

or…

a Pop-Art fanatic bumping into Andy Warhol on 5th Ave.

Andy Warhol and Jo MyLastBite.com

I’ve been fortunate enough to meet each of them, and now have the pleasure of adding Ferran Adria (the BEST CHEF in the world) to my list of GREATS.

Jo with Ferran Adria by MyLastBite.com
Jo with the Legendary Chef Ferran Adria! October 14th 2008 3:35pm

Ferran Adria at the Cooks Library by MyLastBite.com
Ferran Adria… signing one of the 5 books we purchased at the Cook’s Library. 

Lucy Garcia Ferran Adria and Peter by MyLastBite.com
Lucy Garcia (Ferran’s translator… Bourdain’s also!), Ferran and Peter 

Jo with Mrs. Ferran (Isabel) Adria by MyLastBite.com
Jo with the charming Isabel Adria (Ferran’s wife)

Peter, Cook's Library by MyLastBite.com
Peter carrying our autographed loot… each book weighs in at 7 pounds!

The book is amazing, overwhelming and simply stunning.

Video about “a Day at elBulli”

Cook’s Library

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Filed under Food Stories (written by me)