10/6/18 – LA – Bavel & Simone

Bavel
I can’t quite believe I haven’t been back yet.  My only criticism is that these fantastic dishes that stood out to us on the menu collectively came with too much bread.  If you haven’t been yet, a definite must-do in LA.

Josef – clove infused gin, apple brandy, almond, fennel, lemon

hummus!

lamb tartare – burnt onion creme fraiche, pickled chive blossom, mint, cinnamon

grilled octopus – orange infused yogurt, sumac, dried bell pepper, sun golds, chervil

slow roasted lamb neck shawarma – tahini, pickled turnips, fermented cabbage, laffa

Simone
Simone was highly anticipated after a very delayed opening. But after being plagued by a host of ownership and management issues, and without food that compensated, it is now closed.

seasonal pickles

tomatoes, mustards, sorrel, whipped tahini

red lentil hummus, smashed cucumbers, nasturtium

pole beans, urfa chili creme fraiche, purple tomatillo, almond

ricotta gnudi, grated tomato, guanciale, basil

charred squash, nectarines macadamia salsa macha

hoja santa sturgeon, roasted corn, blistered shishitos

9/2/18 – Seoul – Soigne

The last dinner of a whirlwind trip to Seoul was really quite good. The theme of the menu was “Stamina Food” which reflects the Korean philosophy of food in the sense that it is not nearly a means of indulging in the pleasure of eating but as medicine for protecting and recovering one’s health. The very detailed dish descriptions provided described how each dish was chosen and how it was cooked. Very thoughtful even if too long to post here.












9/1/18 – Seoul – Mosu

In 2017 Sung Anh moved Mosu from San Francisco to Seoul. It is definitely Korea’s gain as this was an absolutely lovely dinner with fantastic service and delicious dishes, especially the abalone “taco.”

burdock bark

small bites






sea perch, white kelp, habanero

mackerel, pine cone, grilled carrot

black truffle, hog fennel, rice

short rib, shiitake, shaoxing wine

quail, ground cherry, pearl onion

black raspberry, kombu, almond

caramelized milk, amaranth, cognac

Costa Mesa & LA – 8/18/18 – Taco Maria & Vespertine

Taco Maria
The pork belly taco was the best taco I have had anywhere.

Paloma

Aguachile – Hokkaido scallop, cucumber, jalapeno, avocado, cilantro oil

Arrachera – hanger steak, roasted chilis, applewood bacon, queso
Tocino – pork belly, piloncillo glaze, plums, salsa de aguacate

Vespertine
I’m still not quite sure what I think about Vespertine. The building is fantastic. Photos really do not do it justice as you need to see it within its neighborhood. I loved the outdoor space where we started and finished as well as the rooftop. But the dining room just felt odd and dark and cold and the music was mind numbing. I can’t say that any of the dishes were memorable but were all just good. At the very least it makes you think.

V E S P E R T I N E – Menu – 08.18.18