Tag Archives: sunset
Dinner 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”.
If 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 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 at Andaz West Hollywood
8401 Sunset Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90069
(323) 785-6090 Website
Dining Date: 7/1/09 with Peter, Julian & Wendy
My brother Greg’s band (in 2004) playing at my 40th birthday
“Riot Hyatt” clip from “Almost Famous” (scene starts at 1 minute in)
“Almost Famous” on IMDB
“Almost Famous” DVD
All my RH photos on Flickr
With my brother Greg, on another legendary L.A. stage
My husband Peter had “Good Friday” off last week and we did something we RARELY ever do together… we decided to go out to lunch.
Peter almost never takes lunch at work because he feels like it’s a waste of time (classic workaholic), unless it’s a business meeting of course. Not eating during the day, ensures that he comes home hungry for dinner, which means he ALWAYS likes what I make. The truth is, I can get a little cranky when he doesn’t love my cooking, so this “no lunch at the office” system works well for both of us.
Jitlada Thai Restaurant has been on our “to do” list since last summer, when I first read about it in the July issue of Gourmet magazine. It’s a favorite spot of our friend Jeffrey, who has eaten at even the best Thai restaurants in Thailand. We hoped we could get Jeffrey to join us for lunch, but he couldn’t make it.
I also emailed my food blogger pal, SinoSoul. He loves Jitlada so much that he hosts dinners there, gathering food lovers to experience the authentic, Southern Thai (meaning extremely SPICY) dishes together. He’s invited me to an upcoming Jitlada dinner, but when I read about the extremely painful aftermath of the last gathering, I feared that I may not be able to take the heat.
How does previous night’s dinner make you late to work the next morning? When you must explode with something fancy in the toilet. But hot damn the Southern Thai food was good on the way in.
I then clicked on a few other Jitlada blog links and thought FoodMarathon’s was particularly alarming:
I woke up this morning with a black tongue and my stomach precariously balanced between the volatile states of seizure and bleeding.
My apologies if the above offended you, but it’s the reason that I recently became a tiny bit fearful of Jitlada. I LOVE spicy food and can take it pretty, darn hot. Jalapeños are like cucumbers to me, and I add whole habañeros (seeds and all) to my eggs for breakfast. But I’ve never felt like I needed to visit the emergency room the next morning. Obviously Jitlada is a whole new, fiery experience.
So before I attend SinoSoul’s upcoming dinner, I hoped to at least get to Jitlada for lunch, and take sort of a test run. Good Friday turned out to be the perfect opportunity for Peter and I to try it together. SinoSoul wasn’t able to join us for lunch either, but thankfully he did email a list of dishes we should try. The menu is extensive and can seem very confusing if it’s your first visit, so it’s imperative that you do your research before you go.
Peter and I arrived a few minutes before they opened for lunch and were greeted by the lovely and charming, Sugar. She sat us in the second dining room next to the window and quickly took our drink order. I think she was a little shocked that we ordered Singa beer before noon… but heck, it was a holiday after all!
The menu was incredible and we would have been so LOST if SinoSoul hadn’t sent a list. When Sugar came to deliver our beers, she introduced us to her father Tui Sungkamee, who also happens to be the chef. We chatted for awhile then I handed them the printed list of items we would be ordering. It was fun to watch them carefully go over the dishes we wanted… Chef Tui double-checking the English-to-Thai translation with his daughter.
Our lunch was OUTSTANDING, and if you haven’t been to Jitlada Thai yet (or lately), you should make the time to go now. We didn’t ask for extra spice on any of the dishes, but most carried a substantial amount of heat. Nothing painful though, just a wonderful, warm, and incredibly flavorful rush. I knew that I could take it much, much hotter, so I felt a great sense of relief.
I’m really looking forward to SinoSoul’s Jitlada dinner now. First of all, he’s promised that he won’t intentionally try to scorch my palate, and second of all… I’m certain that I’ll have chef Tui and sweet Sugar watching over me. With over 300 items available (they don’t all fit on the menu), you can bet I’ll be returning again and again!
What we ate (and loved):
Note: I mistakenly labeled above photo “Curry w/ Baby Clam & Wild Tea Leaves” on Foodgawker.
All my favorite Jitlada dishes (so far) on Flickr
5233 1/2 W. Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA
Dining Date: 4/10/09
Jitlada article excerpt from Gourmet:
“Then, in 2006, the restaurant changed hands again. The new owners were Sarintip “Jazz” Singsanong and her brother Suthiporn “Tui” Sungkamee, two of 12 siblings from the ancient province of Nakhon Si Thammarat, in southern Thailand, near the Malaysian border—also the home province, coincidentally, of Jitlada’s previous owners. Singsanong, the first of her family to immigrate to the U.S.—she arrived in 1979 with the proverbial (as she says) “two hundred dollars and one suitcase”—had studied hotel management in Bangkok. She enrolled at L.A. City College to learn English and found part-time jobs in local restaurants before landing a job at the Biltmore Hotel. Little by little, she brought her family over, and she and Tui, who owned four restaurants in Thailand, began working with another brother, John, at a Thai restaurant in Westwood called Emporium, which is still in business. “We couldn’t really do authentic home cooking there,” says Singsanong, “because our customers didn’t like things too spicy.” Her dream was to have a restaurant that could and that would offer Tui a showcase for his talents. When Jitlada became available, they took it over.” Full Article here
I just purchased my ticket to Taste of the Nation 2009, and wanted to share a few photos from last year’s event. If you’ve never been before, it’s a great opportunity to taste wonderful food from many of our top L.A. restaurants.
My favorite part (besides all the food) was chatting with the chefs in a relaxed, fun atmosphere… all while supporting Share Our Strength’s fight to end childhood hunger. It’s a “fill up and feel good” event for sure!
From the Share Our Strength Website:
“Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation is the nation’s premier culinary benefit, featuring top chefs and mixologists — all of whom are coming together to donate their time, talent and passion to end childhood hunger in America.
More then forty of the area’s finest restaurant and wineries will participate in Taste of Nation Los Angeles, bringing a memorable afternoon that will highlight some the best food and wine that Los Angeles has to offer. Come join us for an afternoon in Culver City, enjoy a strolling buffet, entertainment, live auction and much more. Join us as we work to create a hunger-free generation. 100% of ticket sales benefits Share Our Strength’s fight to end childhood hunger.”
Taste of the Nation Los Angeles
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Corner of Venice Blvd. & Culver Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90232
Note: The “Early Bird” ticket price is no longer available on the Taste of the Nation site. Thanks to SinoSoul for letting me know.
Tickets are $125.00.
Price at door is $135.00. (I know this seems expensive, but last year there were over 40 restaurants at the event, and it was worth every penny to try a taste from each!)
2008 Participating Restaurants A-K
2008 Participating Restaurants L-Z