Recently, I was in Los Angeles again. On my last visit to the city of angles, among other great food experiences, I had the pleasure of dining at the Bazaar by Jose Andres. This trip also had some exceptional meals. I will quickly recap them for you.
Before we continue, you should know that I stole most of the pictures in this particular entry from google searches. Thanks for taking such great pics if I used on of yours.
1st Night: A group of foodie friends and I went to Susan Feniger’s
Street Restaurant. Having seen Feniger compete on Top Chef Masters I was excited to try her food. There was about 15 of us that went to dinner. We started (as we start most of our dinners) with a cocktail at the bar while we waited for our table.
The cocktails were amazing! We also saw an actor eating dinner. I don’t know his name but he’s the guy from SuperBad that hits Jonah Hill with his car then gets into the fight with the guy at the house party… “Sorry bro, Tiger got out of the cage…” That guy. We didn’t take a pic or approach him cause he was eating…
When we were sat at our table, our server offered a family style tasting menu. We kindly obliged. Over the next couple of hours, we were fed about 12 courses. They came in rapid fire and I didn’t get a chance to document each one. I know we had the Spinach Varenyky, Mussels, Lamb Kafta, Shrimp stuffed shitake mushrooms (Excellent!), Carrot and Harissa Salad, Sashimi, Celery Root Puree, Cheese Grits, Beef Short Ribs (AWESOME!), Fried Chicken, and I think a few others that escape me now. The mushrooms and ribs were both excellent, but the star of the night in my opinon (and most others at the table) was the Kaya Toast.
This is so simple, yet so delisious! I need to re-create this at home. It’s a toast sandwich, filled with Coconut jam, served with a fried egg and dark soy sauce. When all of the flavors and textures hit your tongue, it’s STUNNING. Be sure to get plenty of egg yolk and soy in your perfect bite!
Best of all the entire tasting menu was only $30/person. We all left very satisfied- full even. I highly recommend you try Street!
2nd Night: Korean BBQ. When you’ve eaten as much as me, it’s hard to have “New” dining experiences… Good meals, great meals, easy, but “New” not so easy. My friend Esther (or EstAH as I call her) suggested we go to a Korean BBQ. I had been wanting to try Jitlada, A thai restaurant that has been featured on several Food Network programs. It was too far from where we were staying so we went to a random Korean BBQ joint instead.
When we walked it it was packed and 8 of us crammed into a booth while 5 more waited. There was a grill in our table… Okay, so I get it- we cook our own food. Like my Mom’s Beef on the table, or Bo Nuong Vi. Boy was I in for a surprise… Sure we cooked out own food, but there was more: A silken tofu soup that was incredible! Koean Steamed Egg that matched the texture of the silken tofu but provided a contrast in flavor. Then there was the meat… it was endless, LITERALLY! EstAH says that $20/person all you can eat Korean BBQ is the standard in LA- this place was only $17. So EstAH keeps piling the meat onto the grill in the center of the table: Tray after tray of short rib, brisket, tounge, pork belly. We’re about to enter a meat comma when EstAH says, “You’re not getting full yet are you?!” WTF EstAH- we’ve just put down like 4 pounds of meat!
Now, you should know that EstAH is like 95 pounds soaking wet holding a kilo of rice. Her and Jeff, the other Korean in the bunch, have a combined weight of approximately my left leg. Oddly, they both took pride in eating every other diner under the table. I have no Idea how they did it! It was like watching Kobayashi devour hot dogs!
While the meat and the sides were absolutely marvelous, the show stopper of this meal was the mushroom. About 3/4 way through our Meat-xtravaganza, EstAH orders up some whole mushrooms from the kitchen. They’re regular white button mushrooms. She carefully de-stems them, and sets about 6 of them and places them cap side down on on the grill. She threatens DEATH on anyone who touches, moves, flips, seasons, or otherwise molests her precious mushrooms. After about 10 minutes each mushroom cap has collected an oil looking liquid. EstAH carefully hands us a mushroom and tells us to slurp the hot liquid… … … It tastes like mushroom. INSANELY like mushroom. It’s the best mushroom soup I’ve ever had! Holy cow! How the hell did that happen!? “Korean Secret” EstAH replies… Did you season it? “Nope-” as my mind is blown, EstAH throws more meat onto the grill… damn!
Conclusion: I need to recreate that mushroom liquid in mass quantity. I also need to find an all you can eat Korean BBQ in Houston. Harvey Chan is gonna love it!
3rd Night: Ford’s Filling Station. This place is owned by Harrison Ford’s son Bradford. When I heard about it, I just thought he was an investor but the menu looked good, so we went… I was surprised when Bradford Ford came to our table with a chef’s coat on! He was really nice, very passionate about local sustainable food. Our group of about 10 people shared several courses that night. Although everything was good- really good- really good like your foodie friend cooked you dinner good, there were a few stand outs: Bacon Wrapped Dates. So simple- two ingredients, roasted in a wood fire. I will steal this dish and serve it at parties (Sorry Chef Ford). Also, the mac and cheese was to die for! some of the best mac I’ve had. One more thing- the fried chickpeas, simple, salty, delicious. Fried in their husks (I hadn’t ever seen chickpeas in their husks! Pretty fancy beer food… Delicious!
The one place we didn’t get to was the Grill ‘Em All Burger Truck. I really wanted to try the burgers that won Food Network’s Great Food Truck Race. I guess The Dee Snider Burger will have to wait until my next trip to LA!