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

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


Los Angeles – March 31, 2018 – Son of a Gun & Pizzeria Mozza

Sun of a Gun
Still one of my favorite places. The pimento cheese and shrimp will never get old.

pimento cheese dip

peel & eat shrimp

salad of somewhat unknown ingredients

Pizzeria Mozza
I’m very picky about pizza and Mozza is still one of the best. But the carrots were so fantastic that I had to go back for them.

shaved carrots, fennel, mizuna rabe, caraway yogurt & rye

meatballs, mozzarella di bufala, tomato, chili flakes & fresh oregano

LA – 3/9/18 – Majordomo

I am so excited to have Momofuku on the west coast!!!!  Too bad it is impossible to get reservations but if you time it right you can get a seat at the bar. The egg and smoked roe bing was delicious and a fun take on the Ko egg. Too bad peas will likely not be on the menu by the time I make it back.


Bing – eggs & smoked roe

raw sugar snaps, horseradish, lemon, shallot

Santa Barbara rock crab – spicy cured, chilled & crab fat rice


NYC – 8/10/16 – Sushi Zo

There was no menu and I did not take notes so unfortunately 2 months later I can’t remember what most of these were aside from the somewhat obvious.  NYC is becoming awash in omakase these days and it seems that many people I talk to feel passionate about one particular place, although often it seems to be just the latest opening.  I’m not sure that Sushi Zo is my favorite although I can find nothing negative to say.  The fish was impeccable and service flawless.  Just minor points of personal preference, such as more varied beverage choices, elsewhere.





LA -7/25/15 – Petit Trois, eggslut, Bestia

Petit Trois
I arrived a few minutes before opening to find a number of people already in line. Luckily some of their parties were not complete by the time the doors opened so I had no problem getting a seat.  I absolutely loved everything about this meal from the service, to the fantastic cocktail, to the beautiful salad, to the copious amounts of bread I ate to soak up the juice from the mussels.

Heirloom tomato salad, buffalo mozzarella, lemon verbena  Moules Frites, white wine, shallots, garlic, creme fraiche  

eggslut
With several hours to kill before dinner, of course the most logical thing to do was have a second lunch.  The line would have been much more bearable had it been about 10 degrees cooler outside but at least it moved quickly.  I’m not even a fan of breakfast sandwiches but eggslut could convert anybody!

Fairfax – soft scrambled eggs and chives, cheddar cheese, caramelized onions and siracha mayo in a warm brioche bun 

Bestia
There is definitely a reason that Ori Menashe of Bestia was named one of Food & Wine’s best new chefs for 2015 and that Bestia is a favorite for so many. I only wish I was with a larger group and could have ordered more because everything I saw around me looked so good. A perfect ending to this weekend trip.

Farro salad, shaved heirloom cauliflower, pine nuts, avocado puree, pickled chili, mint, montasio    Smoked whitefish crostino, dill, potatoes, scallions, fresno chilies, celery leaf     Spanish prawns, salumi, cherry tomatoes, charred potato, cucumber, plums, oregano Yellow peach and santa rosa plum crostata, frangipane, buttermilk ice cream