Archive for March, 2009

Bazaar

Our second time at the Bazaar was very different than our first experience. This time we sat in the more traditional room, the Rojo side with the open kitchen. 

Rojo at the Bazaar

Secondly, we rarely order cocktails, but we had decided ahead of time that we wanted to experience the theatricality of the Bazaar and  do everything, including a tarot reading and a caricature. (more on that later).

 

First up cocktails:

drink-2

“New Way” Dirty Martini

Dry martini, olive spherifiation and olive brine air – I have had the olive spherifiation at El Bulli and yes it was Adria’s “olive.”

 

drink-1

“Salt Air” Margarita

Classic margarita topped with salt air

 

potatoes

Papas Canarias, Salty Wrinkled Potatoes, Mojo Verde. The potatoes are  cooked in seawater or salt in the style of the Canary Islands so that the potatoes are creamy inside and suffused with salt. Irene, the Los Angeles food critic loved this dish, but to me they were just potatoes.

 

uni

Sea Urchin, pipirrana, Andalusian Vegetables – the uni was not the quality of Urasawa’s, but the 1/8 inch dice of vegetables would have made the French Laundry brigade proud and the effect was almost like eating gazpacho.

 

oyster

Kumamoto Oysters, lemon, black pepper – this was a repeat dish and excellent.

 

foie

Cotton Candy Foie Gras – this is absolutely sensational and a must order. In retrospect, I wish I had ordered at least 3.

 

tuna

Toro “Nigiri”, Wasabi, Watermelon, Soy, Shiso and Jalapeno.  Instead of rice, the tuna sat on top of a watermelon cube.  The foam on top was soy based. I really liked this dish, although my husband wasn’t as taken with it as I was.

 

Time for a tarot reading by Cynthia. You can have a private session with her for $60 for 30 minutes. At SLS, it is free. Personally, I wouldn’t bother, even for free.

http://www.thelostmuse.com/

 

shrimp

Sauteed Shrimp, garlic, Guindilla Pepper – delicious and another winner.

 

sauce-shrimp

Sauce with the shrimp – of course we asked for bread to dip up the sauce.

 

foie-brioche

Foie Gras, Quince, Brioche Buns – wow and double wow – perfect A+

 

philly

Philly Cheesesteak – Air Bread Cheese, Kobe beef – another repeat dish for us and also another winner.

 

Time for a caricature. I did say I was going to experience all aspects of the Bazaar.

lizziee

 

hangar

hangar-1

Beef Hanger Steak, Piquillo Pepper Confit, Ice Plant – I was debating between this dish and the lamb and if I was going tonight I would order the lamb.

 

kim

Service was excellent and our waitress, Kim was not only efficient but beautiful.

Bazaar is an experience. Even the bathrooms are worth a visit. Is it 4 star dining? Not the way I see 4 stars. Is it fun? Yes, plus some of the dishes are “destination worthy.” 

 

 

 


 

 

Hungry Cat

I grew up in Boston so “lobstah” (we don’t pronounce r’s in Boston) rolls are a part of my background along with fried clams with the bellies. Unfortunately the latter is just not available on the West Coast – at least really good fried clams and alas Hungry Cat’s lobster roll doesn’t come close to a shack in Maine.

hungry-cat-oysters1

Raw Oysters on the Half Shell

 

hungry-cat-shrimp1

Peel ‘n Eat Shrimp

 

hungry-cat-lobster-roll

Lobster Roll, Butter Toasted Roll with French Fries – the fries were soggy

 

hungry-cat-lobster-roll-1

Close-up of Lobster Roll – where oh where is the lobster? 

 

A Lobstah roll!!!

http://www.hollyeats.com/Reds.htm

 

hungry-cat-burger

Pug Burger with Bacon, Avocado and Blue Cheese – not bad

Would I go out of my way to go to Hungry Cat? No. But, if I was in the neighborhood, wanted their raw bar selection, perhaps.

Ubuntu

First, a huge apology to Chef Jeremy Fox for not writing up our meal at Ubuntu in July.  Second, a huge congratulations to Chef Jeremy Fox for being named by the James Beard Foundation as one of the final nominees for Best Chef: Pacific Region. As it has been some time since this meal, my descriptions will be somewhat limited (I can’t find my notes), but hopefully the photos will tell the story.

Ubuntu is an all vegetable restaurant – no meat, no fish. This is not to say that it is green grass restaurant with no taste or low in calorie. Jeremy handles vegetables with the care and finesse normally accorded to proteins. What you are immediately struck by is his layering of flavors and his reliance on culinary technique not “tricks.’

jeremy1

Adorable Jeremy

 

ubuntu-olives

Italian olives, Nasturtium pesto, Nasturtium petals

 

ubuntu-almonds

Marcona almonds with lavender sugar and sea salt

 

ubuntu-radishes

Breakfast radishes with local chevre, nori infusion and smoked black sea salt

 

ubuntu-chickpea-fries

Chickpea fries with herbs, Romesco sauce

All of the above are addictive

 

ubuntu-assorted-peppers

Assorted fried peppers from the garden with mint

 

ubuntu-watermelon-soup

Watermelon Velouté with Basil, Basil Seed Caviar, Sprouts – I am not sure I got this right so apologies to everyone if I am wrong.

 

ubuntu-vichyoisse

 Cool Watermelon and Lemongrass Soup with a splash of coconut milk and decorated with a cascade of shoots. This had a definite Asian feel due to the lemongrass and coconut milk.

 

ubuntu-leaves-and-things

Leaves and Things – walk into a garden and enjoy.

 

ubuntu-ehglish-peas

English Peas and Shoots in Pea Shoot  Consommé with White Chocolate, Macadamia and Mint – never in a million years would I think to pair peas with white chocolate, but it was a remarkable marriage.

 

ubuntu

Grilled Peach Panzallels, Burrata, Mozarella, Brioche, Basil, Aged Balsamic – I think

 

ubuntuwater-retained-plants

Water-retained Plants 

 

ubuntu-pizza

 Ubuntu Pizza with truffled pecorino and ???

 

ubuntu-squash

Roasted, Puréed, and Raw Courgettes and Succulents with Ubuntu Vadouvan and Panisses 

 

ubuntu-squash-1

Squash #2

 

ubuntu-eggs

This was in a word a masterpiece – we requested an egg dish and Jeremy did eggs in all its various guises – absolutely extraordinary

Now for Deanie’s desserts

ubuntu-plums

Plums with Nasturtium

 

strawberries

Strawberries

 

last-dessert

 

A wonderful meal and a huge thank you to Jeremy and Deanie.

 

Burger Bar – Mandalay Place

The Burger Bar at Mandalay Place is fun. The place is mobbed, but the tables turn quickly. It is owned by Hubert Keller – Fleurs de Lys San Francisco and Las Vegas.

burger-bar-room

 Essentially you build your own burger – choosing what toppings you want from a huge list of options and what type of bread.

 

onion-rings

We started with an order of onion rings with 2 sauces – one barbecue and the other more or less a take on ranch dressing.

 

 johns-burger

My husband had the Black Angus Beef with Cheddar, Bacon and a Fried Egg on a Ciabatta Roll.

 

my-burger-2

 I had the Snake River American Kobe with Oyster Mushrooms, Caramelized Onions, and Cheddar on a Ciabatta Roll.

There was too much roll vis a vis the beef and we both ended up eating the burger as an open-faced sandwich.

 

fries

Sweet Potato Fries rounded out the meal.

A fun place with tasty food.

Take-out Sushi Again

Takao – Brentwood

Lots of toro (rolls plus sashimi), lots of uni (sushi plus rolls with squid), lots of yellowtail belly (sashimi and rolls). Unfortunately my taste in Japanese fish tends to be on the expensive side.

 

take-out-sushi1

sushi

Close-up

Chinois – Santa Monica

Lunch is becoming our restaurant meal due to a certain new puppy. Chinois seemed a good option. The lunch menu is not as extensive as the dinner menu, the prices are lower for the classics i.e. the duck but that is also reflected in a seemingly smaller portion size.

chin-tuna

Tuna tartar on won ton crisps  with a ponzu sesame sauce and a red chili sauce with a Maui onion, radish and pea shoot salad. The tartar was delicious, but Chinois seems to over plate their dishes with a lot of “greens” and “salad.”

 

chin-oysters

Warm Deep-fried Oysters with Cucumber Sauce and Salmon Pearls – a great dish – again notice all the “greens.”

 

chin-wine

BYO wine

 

chin-ribs

Barbecued Pork Ribs with sweet and sour Teriyaki Sauce and hot mustard sauce in a Chinese spoon – I haven’t had old-fashioned ribs in years (I think the last time was a Westside favorite – Madame Wu’s). The ribs were perfect.

 

chin-duck

Peking Duck with Plum Sauce – At dinner this is served with a Bao. At lunch they serve it with crepes.

 

chin-crepes

The Crepes

 

 

chinois-bao

chinois-duck-1

The duck and bao at dinner

 

chin-rice

Duck Fried Rice

All in all an excellent lunch.

Kiss Sushi – San Francisco

From a dinner in the past.

We were lucky to have the opportunity to experience Kiss Sushi with 2 regulars. Being with knowledgeable regulars seemed to be an essential component of experiencing Kiss at its best. To say that this is a tiny restaurant is the ultimate in understatement. Kiss seats only 12 people with the most coveted spots at the 5-seat sushi bar. Naka-san cooks and prepares everything himself. There is one only other server.  Naka-san is from Hokkaido and his cuisine is “country” in style, featuring fish from the cold waters of this northernmost of the major islands of Japan.

kiss-chef

Obviously we did not order and let him set the pace with an Omakase dinner. I am hoping my descriptions are accurate, but I apologize in advance for any mistakes.

 

kiss-11

 A “salad” of bamboo, hijiki, lotus root and soy bean.


kiss-2

Japanese pear, Herring Egg, Japanese Greens, Micro Shiso


kiss-3

 Sashimi – baby striped bass, squid, toro, fluke, mirugai

 

 kiss-4

Hakusai – a layered terrine of Napa cabbage and minced tuna and baby striped bass in a white soy bean sauce topped with chives and pickled ginger flower

Now sushi – I really liked the proportion of rice to fish with the rice being the supporting component with the fish pristine.

 

kiss-tuna1

Back of the tuna marinated in soy for a couple of minutes


kiss-salmon-eggs1

Salmon Eggs


kiss-yellow

 Aji – Horse Mackeral


kiss-clam

 Giant Clam

 

kiss-soup

 kiss-soup-1

 Chawanmushi – a silky smooth egg custard with halibut, snow peas, and ????

 

kiss-suhsiu

Amberjack


abaolone1

 Abalone with Abalone Liver


kiss-sushi-fish

 Saba


kiss-uni

 Uni


kiss-last-sushi

 Naka-san referred to this as “Kimono Sleeve” – Fluke with Shiso, Rice and Plum

Kiss is not the haute cuisine Kyoto-style experience of Urasawa or our neighborhood sushi place Takao with its emphasis on “cooked” dishes. But if Kiss was in my neighborhood, it would soon become a favorite haunt – Japanese comfort food at its best. It is definitely a “find” and the company equaled the food. 

For another post on Kiss:

http://www.bunrab.com/yummychow/Reviews/SFReviewsFrameset.html?KissReview.html


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