Providence

I have said this many, many times and I will say it again I consider Providence to be the best fine dining restaurant in Los Angeles.  Chef Michael Cimarusti was not there and GM/Partner, Donato Poto was also not there. You would think our dining experience would be mediocre, NOT AT ALL!!!!!!!!! Chef de cuisine, Tristan Aitchison did a terrific job, sommelier Drew Langley is a true professional and Molly our server was incredible – she wrote down every dish with every ingredient on note cards for me. That is why my descriptions are so precise – a huge thanks to Molly.

P - Champagne

BYO Champagne to start

P taco

TACO – scallop tartar, sushi rice, seaweed, bubu arare (crispy rice crackers), nasturtium leaf – fantastic

P - Clam

Chilled Middleneck clams, chorizo and clam consomme, roasted red pepper, coriander, chorizo foam – a refreshing presentation of chilled clam

P - presentation of cigars

Presentation of next dish

P - cigars

Ficelle (cigars) – Red wine braised Wagyu, feuille de brick, ume aioli (Japanese plum), celery leaf – just delicious

P - second wine

BYO Wine

P - uni presentaion

Uni presentation

P - uni

Uni Yuzu, yuzu peel, uni, soy milk panna cotta, wasabi paste, caviar, gold leaf – a wonderful combination of flavors

P - scallops

Raw Nantucket Bay Scallops, lemon zest, crispy puffed rice, creme fraiche and shaved white truffles – absolutely A++

P - geoduck clam

Presentation of the Geoduck Clam, julienne of cucumber, Ikura

P - geoduck clam with ponzu poured on

Ponzu poured over the Clam – light and full of flavor

P -- squid crabonara

Squid Carbonara, egg sabayon, pancetta, white truffle – another winner

P - egg drop soup

Dungeoness crab egg drop soup (dashi, bonito, sake), matsutake mushrooms, celery leaf, scallion, celery

P - abalone

New Zealand Abalone, puffed and braised buckwheat, brown butter foam, sea beans, borage blossoms

P - Foie gras

Duck Foie Gras, smoked apple puree, aged balsamic vinegar, sorrel – I do wish we could have real foie but this was excellent

We were suppose to have 3 more courses, John Dory, Black Bass and Wagyu – we just couldn’t we were full.

What a terrific meal. It just doesn’t get any better than this.

 

 

Vin Bar/Valentino

I have written about Vin Bar/Valentino numerous times. I think it is the best Italian restaurant in Los Angeles. Chef Nico is so talented and there is no better restauranteur than Piero. We never look at a menu – we just let Nico cook and Piero chooses the wine.

V_ Champane

Champagne to start

V - Croquette

Croquette filled with spinach sitting in a pool of parmesan fondue – delicious

V- Lobsteer Crudo

Lobster crudo that had been marinated in anchovies on a bed of fresh orange topped with thinly sliced onion sprouts – another absolute winner

V- white wine

White wine

Now Piero and I got into a discussion about white truffles. I mentioned that so many of the truffles we have had in restaurants are poor quality and taste like cardboard. Piero asked if we wanted to see his alba white truffles.

V- Piero with trruffles

Piero and Chef Nico with the truffles – top notch quality!

V- close-uup of truffles

Close-up of the beautiful truffles – of course we asked for a course that would include truffles

V- Monkfish

Peppered Monkfish and butternut pistachio soup – an inspired combination executed to perfection

V- Red Wine

Red Wine

V- Totellini

Tortellini stuffed with veal brain that had been sautéed in butter topped with a generous amount of Alba white truffles – finally truffles that tasted like truffles

V- chicken

This is NOT Chef Nico’s plating. My husband forgot to take a picture and this was our take-out portion -we were getting full so this is what we took home. Chicken stuffed with sausage, chestnuts and porcini mushrooms sitting on a bed of risotto parmesan with shaved white Alba truffles – a nod to Thanksgiving and just stupendous.

We decided to forgo cheese and dessert.

This was a perfect meal served beautifully, executed with precision accompanied by terrific wines. What more can one ask for?

 

Maude

Maude is the brain child of Curtis Stone. Maude was just named best new restaurant in Los Angeles. It is a small restaurant – only 25 seats with 2 seatings a night. Each month the ingredient changes and all 9 courses uses that ingredient in some form. It is a very difficult reservation to get.

A very special November menu – Truffles – I will let the photos tell the story

Maude wine

White wine from their list

Maude - parmesan canoli

Parmesan Cannoli filled with black truffle infused ricotta

Maude - pop tart

Pop tart filled with onion marmalade, mushroom truffle glaze

Maude soup 1

Maude soup 2

Soup – Potato, Roasted Kohlrabi, Braised Escarole, Black Truffles, Green is Romesco and Broccoli

Maude sqush salad

Squash Salad – Persimmon, Brussel Sprouts,  Truffle batons, Truffle powder, Hubbard squash, Truffle Vinaigrette, Brown Butter

Maude scallop crudo

Scallop crudo – Pan seared scallop served at room temperature, Red Beet Gelee, Pickled Salsify, Truffle soil

Maude - hen egg

Hen Egg, Brioche Croutons, Creamed Leeks, Onion baked in salt, Alba White Truffles

Maude turbot

Turbot, Spinach puree, braised endive, Truffle coulis, shaved Burgundy truffles

Maude - Tagliatelle

Acquerello Risotto, Casamento Cheese, Brown Butter, White Alba Truffle

Maaude - sweetbread

Veal Sweetbread, Cauliflower, Sauce Perigord

Maude - venison

Venison, Parsnip, Matsutake, Chocolate, Shaved Truffles

Maude - cheese

Teleme,  Walnut, Cranberry,  Black Truffle

We were so full we skipped dessert that was

Toffee Cake, Alba Truffle Ice Cream, Raisin, Pomegranite

French Laundry

We were extraordinarily lucky to be invited to the 20th anniversary of the French laundry. We have been going to the French Laundry for over 19 years and have had the pleasure of tasting the cuisine of each executive chef. This special dinner featured French Laundry classics. The letter Thomas wrote to us at the dinner speaks volumes – what a wonderful person. This is why the French Laundry is our go to restaurant in the States and why we will continue to be supportive clients and more importantly friends.

Thomas 20th Letter

I will let the photos tell the story of our incredible evening.

F- Champagne

Champagne to start

F- Cornet

Cornets

F- Gougeres

Gougeres

F- Oysters and pearls

“Oysters and Pearls”- Sabayon of Pearl Tapioca with Island Creek Oysters and White Sturgeon Caviaar

F- Salad

Salad of Hawaiian Hearts of Peach Palm – Brentwood Corn, Garden Radishes, Pickled Chanterelle Mushrooms and Wild Purslane

F- Bread after salad

Bread Service

F- Wine after salad

Next wine

F- Skate

Atlantic Skate Wing “Poelee”, Caramelized Savoy Cabbage and Whole Grain Mustard Emulsion

F- Lobster

Not a great photo – half eaten!

“Peas and Carrots” – Butter Poached Maine Lobster, Pea Tendril Salad and Sweet Carrot Butter

F- Wine after Lobster

Next Wine

F- Ragout

Another mostly eaten dish – my photographer was enjoying himself and eating instead of snapping!

“Degustation de Pommes de Terre” – Ragout of Garden Potatoes, Romaine Lettuce, Strauss Butter and Shaved Australian Black Winter Truffle

F- DuckF- Duck 2

Wildflower Honey Lacquered Liberty Farm Pekin Duck – Poached Brooks Cherries, Garden Turnips, “Foie de Canard” and Watercress

F- Beef

Charcoal Grilled Snake River Farms “Calotte de Boeuf” – Crispy Bone Marrow, Garden Beans, Oregon Cepes, and Blanquette de Champignons

F- Gateau

Gateau de Bleu D’Auvergne – Stewed Blueberries, English Walnuts and Cutting Celery

Not pictured: Photographer quit!

Strawberries and Cream – Mascarpone Sherbet with Tellieherry Black Peppercorn and Strawberry Syrup

Il Flottante – Thaition Bean Creme Anglaise, Poached Swiss Meringue, Valrhona Chocolate Cremeux and Spun Sugar

There is no way to convey what this evening meant to us. We feel like we are a member of the French Laundry family and we never take that for granted. We consider ourselves blessed.

Gazpacho

Gazpacho

 

This recipe is from Epicurious and is delicious.

yield

Makes 6 servings

This is also terrific with yellow tomatoes. Garnish with thin cucumber slices and some chopped red onion, if desired.

 

ingredients

  • 2 pounds large tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 pound country-style bread, crust removed, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 4 cups)
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded, diced
  • 1 cup chopped peeled English hothouse cucumber
  • 1 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/4 cup Sherry wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 cup water

preparation

Working over bowl, gently squeeze tomato halves to release seeds and juices. Strain juices, pressing on solids to extract as much juice as possible (about 1/2 cup). Discard seeds. Chop tomatoes. Transfer chopped tomatoes and tomato juices to large glass bowl. Add next 9 ingredients. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour.

Working in batches, puree gazpacho with 1 cup water in blender until smooth. Pour gazpacho into coarse strainer set over large bowl. Press on solids to extract as much soup as possible. Season with salt and pepper. Chill at least 2 hours and up to 1 day. Serve cold.

 

Manresa

Manresa is one of our favorite restaurants and Chef David Kinch is a brilliant chef. We were extremely lucky to have a meal at Manresa on Wed July 2. I have horrible news – Manresa had a fire on Monday July 7.

News here:

http://www.mercurynews.com/bay-area-news/ci_26102133/los-gatos-manresa-restaurant-damaged-by-early-morning

Unfortunately we will have to wait for Manresa to reopen to have another incredible experience.

Our Meal:

M- drink

John decided to start with one of Manresa’s special cocktails – “Dirty Turnip”- dry vermouth. bison grass infused vodka, turnip and pickling solution from the turnip

BYO Wines for the evening:

M- Champagne

M- Silex wine

M- Chambolle wine

I will let the photos tell the “story.”

M - petit fours

Signature dish of roasted red bell pepper and black olive madeleines

M- Croquette

Apricot, chervil croquette – you ate this in one bite and the liquid center was delicious

M- olive oil

Olive oil and spring savory ice cream, kale seaweed dried with kombu,

M- sea urchin

Sea urchin and fermented plum panna cotta, diced green apple, lemon juice, grapeseed oil, sea bean, borage flower

M- Bread

Bread Service – not shown incredible home made butter

M- strawberry

Strawberry picada with anchovies, dried crispy capers, sourdough, crunchy vinaigrette. raspberry ice, raw milk curd, basil ( I hope I got this right – I ask a lot of questions and want to know all the ingredients – the wait staff is very patient with me)

M- summer clams

Summer clams ( razor and surf from Mass), cape berries, malibar spinach, bachelor button flowers, salt wort, gelee – roasted lemon cucumber with bronze fennel

M- morels

Morels, Celtuce, nasturtium with levain, puffed buckwheat, ice plant, vichyssoise sauce

M- kinMedai

Kin Medai (snapper) with eggplant, tomatillo, sesame salt, amaranth

M- into the veg garden

Signature dish – “Into the vegetable garden” – I tried to get what was in this but was only able to get a few – dehydrated parsnip, chicory, potato, radish, turnip  – taking notes at Manresa is a challenge

M- Black Cod

Black cod with lightly pickled carrots, flowering coriander, coriander emulsion

M- Tidal Pool

“Tidal Pool” – abalone, puffed crispy rice, pumpkin seeds and dashi and onion broth to finish

M - Lamb

Spring lamb, confit of squash and porcini mushrooms

My photographer was getting weary and me his partner was also weary of taking extensive notes so from the menu presented to us:

Goat’s milk caramel, green curry sorbet…

…yogurt and matcha, cucumber with shiso

Peaches and Cream

Petit fours “strawberry-chocolate”

I only hope that all goes well with the reconstruction of Manresa and that Manresa opens as soon as possible. I wish David Kinch and his staff my best and I know when Manresa reopens it will be better than ever and I will be there!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Providence

Providence is the best fine dining restaurant in Los Angeles. Chef Michael Cimarusti is a genius – his gift is taking the best ingredients and combining texture and flavor to highlight that ingredient. GM/Partner, Donato Poto is an extraordinary host and manager. When we arrived who was at the valet station? Donato!!!!!!!! He will do anything to run a tight ship. The service is extraordinary and sommelier Drew Langley is a true professional.

The restaurant has been completely renovated. It is beautiful, tasteful, elegant and very comfortable

P - new wallpapeer

The new wallpaper is perfect.

P - new room

A section of the new room

We BYO our wine and I will just post what we brought.

P- Champagne

2006 Launois Champagne

P - wine

1985 Bienvenue Batard Montrachet, Henri Clerc

P - Rioja

2003 Lopez Heredia Rioja Blanc

P - Chhateau neuf du pape

2011 Chateau Neuf du Pape Blanc Domaine du Pegau

P - wine 1996

1996 Beaune les Cras, Camille Giroud

P - Meuller

1998 Mueller-Gators Eiswein

Now for our spectacular meal – A+++++++++++ We never look at a menu – we just let the Chef surprise us.

P- scallop taco

Scallop “taco” with nasturtium leaves, bubu arare (baby rice crackers), lime, olive oil

P - clam chorizo

Clam Chorizo – littleneck clams, chorizo consomme, red pepper confetti, chorizo espuma

P= Tai Snapper

Japanese Tai Snapper, basil and ginger syrup, basil oil, pickled ginger

P - Goma Saba

Goma Saba (Japanese mackerel), Calabrian chiles, cilantro blossoms, pickled red onions, cucumber, lemon, bronze fennel

P - Butter

Butter and salt for bread

P - Bread

Bread service – seaweed, plain, bacon

P - foam

Unfortunately all you can see is the smoked halibut foam poured on  top – blanched English peas, olive oil, lemon zest

P - uni

Santa Barbara uni, tapioca, coconut milk, red curry, basil, mint, peanuts – “Thai influence”

P - Hairy Crab

Poached Hairy Crab, lime, shellfish consomme. scallions, diced and sliced nectarines

 

P - Spot Prawn with sauce

Santa Barbara Spot Prawns, peas, pea tendrils, prawn broth made with fennel, orange, madeira and the heads of the prawn

P - Beef cigars

Wagyu beef cigars, mayonnaise, celery leaf on top

P - Salmon

Columbia River King Salmon, wild French asparagus, morels, ramps, radish foam, smoked butter

P - sardine

Japanese sardines, roasted artichokes, tomato compote, ratatouille,  basil oil

P - Black Bass

Black bass, porcini mushrooms – this and our cheese course have incomplete descriptions – a lot of wine!

P - Cheese Cart

Cheese Cart

P - Cheese Plate

Cheese plate – I do know we had Comte cheese

This was a spectacular meal – it just doesn’t get better than this – absolutely A+++++++

 

 

 


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