Archive for June, 2010

Barbecue Chicken Dinner

Barbecue Chicken, Corn on the Cob, Cole Slaw, Potato Salad, Corn Bread

CLARK’S BARBECUED CHICKEN (adapted from Bon Appetit)

The marination and slow cooking process produces very moist chicken. Clark’s distinctive tomato-based sauce provides plenty of rich, smoky flavor; the dry rub delivers a strong, spicy taste.

10 cups (or more) cold water

2 cups (packed) golden brown sugar

1 tablespoon coarse salt

about 6 to 8 pounds of chicken – thighs, breasts (discard rib bones), legs

1 cup (approximate) Clark’s Barbecue Sauce*

1/4 cup (approximate) Clark’s Ole #8 Rib Rub*

Mix 10 cups water, sugar and salt in large roasting pan. Place chicken skin side down in water mixture. Add more water to cover chicken if necessary. Cover and refrigerate at least 12 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 300°F. Drain chicken; pat dry. Place chicken, skin side down in single layer on heavy large baking sheet with rim. Brush each chicken with 2 tablespoons barbecue sauce. Sprinkle each with 1 1/2 teaspoons rub. Turn chicken over. Brush each with 2 tablespoons barbecue sauce, then sprinkle each with 1 1/2 teaspoons rub.

Bake chicken skin side up until chicken is deep mahogany color, basting every 20 minutes with pan juices, about 2 hours 15 minutes.

Serves 4.

Bon Appétit – July 1995

To order Clark’s Barbecue sauce and Rib Rub see here:

http://clarksoutpost.com/cgi-bin/clarksbbq/023.html?id=r3K9cGuF

http://clarksoutpost.com/cgi-bin/clarksbbq/022.html

from Clark’s Outpost Barbecue, Tioga, Texas

Takao

Takao has been our neighborhood go-to sushi bar since the first day it opened. In fact, we were the very first customers. Takao has always excelled at clean presentations, well-executed cooked dishes and high quality fish. Unfortunately, Saturday night was not Takao’s finest hour.

Snow crab, fava beans, eggplant – the eggplant seemed out of place

Japanese Flounder – the accoutrements were to be added to the soy sauce – good

Blue fin tuna coated with wasabi sauce – the wasabi was so overpowering that we ended up scraping all of it off.

Spanish Mackerel, sesame seed, red onion, carrot, scallion, ginger – way too many ingredients that hid rather than highlighted the fish.

Cooked Octopus with spicy chili oil – the octopus was so tough and chewy, it was inedible.

Fresh water eel with egg and Sukiyaki (bonito-flavored soy) sauce sprinkled with Sansho – Takao is known for his finesse with cooked dishes – this was a mess – no internal integrity to the dish, just a jumble of ingredients.

Soft Shell Crab Tempura with fried onions, red, green and yellow pepper, ponzu sauce

Once the dish was deconstructed and the elements separated, the soft shell was excellent.

Tempura – asparagus, squid, uni

The best was the uni tempura

Chutoro

Shima aji

Kanpachi (amberjack)

Seared halibut

Takao usually gets first quality fish – this was second tier

Bottom line : a disappointing Takao meal and not up to his usual standards.

RH – Andaz Hotel – West Hollywood

Refined Palate’s Roving Reporter:

Andaz is the Hyatt’s new small hotel group.   There are 5, London, San Diego, West Hollywood [the old Hyatt on Sunset], and two in NYC. The restaurant at the Andaz is RH with Sebastien Archambault as chef.

The first impression is Holy-S-T, this is noisy as hell.  The noise level was almost unbearable.   I guess we got used to shouting across the small table to be heard.

The server, Blair, was pleasant, attractive but obviously an amateur.  It took 15 minutes to get my vodka Gibson.  When it came there was one lonely onion…I had to ask for a few more.  For $ 11.00 you would think the veggies would be abundant.   My friends Tanquery martini was $ 12.00.

The menu is interesting and generally well presented and very flavorful.   Chef Sebstian Archambault is charming and definitely committed to doing a great job.  The open kitchen features the chef front and center.

Open kitchen sparkles.  The chef is really proud of it.

BYO wine… from Provence.  After 30 minutes in the decanter, this was perfect.

Escargot and Yukon gold potatoes…we split…excellent and a good starter.  No amuse was offered.

My friend had the oysters… Six Fanny Bay Oysters, shallot vinegar, roasted pork sausage. The sausage was a really major bonus, delicious, fabulous and I got a taste.

Perigourdine poached egg, field mushrooms, foie gras, black truffle with buttered bread spears–terrific…this is a dish I would go back for.  A good dinner might be the egg and a salad with a great white wine.   The Red worked but a flinty Chablis or White Burgundy would have been fabulous.

Boothbay Harbor lobster open ravioli, bisque sauce.  My friend had this; I did not have a taste, but he liked them.

12-hour-cooked boneless suckling pork, rosemary jus. The pork was cooked perfectly. The potato under the pork was not impressive so I added two vegetables that both worked well. At $ 7.00 each this was worth it.

Braised artichoke hearts–this was the weaker of the two vegetable dishes.  It was good, but not great…the hearts were a little mushy.

Real wild rice–excellent and perfect with the suckling pig…a treat…we don’t get real wild rice very often.

Later a charming woman from Orange, CA who had spent the day at Cedars Sinai hospital with her Dad sat next to us.   We shared our vegetables with her.  As the portion size was so huge,  there was still 1/3 of the serving left to go to waste.

Summary:

RH is definitely a “keeper”.  The noise level is really annoying.  The crowd is young, but not foodies.   There seemed to be some sort of convention over in the main hotel which probably added 50% to the oppressive noise.   The amateurish service could be tolerated.  She definitely tried.   The maitre d’ did come by a couple of times.   I was very impressed with Chef Sebastien and would like to ask him to cook a tasting with small portions for us.   His background with Ducasse and others in France sets him up to be one of the best real chefs in LA.  He certainly has the money and resources with a great open kitchen.

Would I go back?  Yes, with Lizzie.  I missed her Refined Palate, but my friend was fun and we did enjoy ourselves.

Wilshire

Wilshire is one of our favorite restaurants. We have only been for dinner and decided that a leisurely lunch outside at our favorite table on a bright sunny afternoon would be perfect. We only ordered an appetizer and a main.

BYO White Wine

Ahi Tuna tartar, avocado, sesame seaweed, yuzu, togarashi, shiso, nori strips, wonton crisps – well-balanced, super premium tuna and a perfect beginning.

Prime Rib French Dip, horseradish creme fraiche, au jus (John had this on the side), fries – John said OK

Soft Shell Crab po-boy, cabbage slaw, remoulade, heirloom tomato, truffled potato chips

The po-boy opened – where oh where is the crab?? – I was anticipating a plump, crusty soft shell and what I got was a tiny bit of limp crab with a huge amount of potato chips. I took one bite of the the po-boy and rejected it. To the restaurant’s credit, it was taken off the bill.

Soft Shell Crab from Wilshire from one of our dinners – this is why I ordered the po-boy and what I anticipated – a plump, perfectly battered and fried soft shell.

A real Soft Shell po-boy – New Orleans

To replace the po-boy – Hamachi, ponzu, wasabi, cilantro – excellent with sushi grade fish

A gift – Coconut Creme brulee with fresh berries

A lovely place to have lunch – I just wish the entrees were the equal of the appetizers.

Petrossian

Petrossian is the perfect place for a late lunch/early dinner.  Given that we had a 30% off coupon on our entire bill from Blackboard Eats, it was a no brainer that we would go to Petrossian. Basically, I will let the photos tell the story.

As an aside Blackboard Eats is a great deal. It doesn’t cost a thing to join, the restaurants represented are good and they actually do honor the coupon.

Website here:

http://blackboardeats.com/

BYO Champagne

Blinis, caviar, trout roe, salmon roe – lovely beginning

Smoked salmon pizzette, creme fraiche, red onion, Transmontanus caviar – the pizzette was similar to a crunchy cracker-like flatbread. This was a huge portion and made for an excellent lunch the next day.

Foie Gras salad, haricots verts, toasted walnut, black truffle vinaigrette – John forgot to take a picture. This unfortunately was a miss. The walnuts were missing in action, the foie gras was relatively small given the large portion of haricot verts and the lovely smears of black truffle vinaigrette were forgotten.

The foie gras salad from another Petrossian meal – just perfect.

BYO Champagne

Shrimp papillotte, passion fruit, chili ginger sauce – excellent

Napoleon tartare, hand sliced steak tartare with a layer of caviar – another winner

A lovely late lunch/early dinner.

Cassell’s

From the Roving Reporter:

This is my favorite burger in Los Angeles – in fact I have been known to dream of Cassell’s and somehow always find myself chopping down on one the next day.

Since 1971 the roving reporter has used every excuse there is to go to Cassell’s.  It was owned by Mr. Cassell who died last week.  He sold to a Korean gentleman about 15 years ago.  The quality is so high it is apparent from the first bite.  Home ground Mannings beef, home made potato salad and home made mayonnaise…if you’ve never had home made mayo, you don’t know what real mayo is and with this potato salad, lovely sliced tomatoes and the burger…it is heaven.  I say the very best in LA…forget all the fancy burger joints…this is the best–nothing fru fru just great meat grilled to rare perfection.

Cassell’s Cooks

Menu Board

The 100-percent USDA prime beef is ground fresh daily, the patties hand formed. Everything is cooked to order. You order at the counter, choosing either the 1/3 pound or the 2/3 pound burger with or without cheese. The rest of the toppings you add yourself once the burger is grilled and on its toasted bun – options include hand-leafed lettuce, beefsteak tomatoes, onion slices, ketchupy relish, homemade mayonnaise and homemade Thousand Island dressing.

I was with Mattatouille of food blogger fame and this was his first foray at Cassell’s – he wimped out with a 1/3 pounder. I, on the oher hand, had the 2/3 pound burger.

My Burger

Another Shot of My Burger- up close

Matt’s burger

Onion Rings

We then stopped at the original Scoops so Matthew could show me the operation. He will be opening a Westside Branch!

From LA Eater:

You read it right, Scoops is expanding to the west side! The tiny Hollywood ice cream shop known for crazy flavors from Brown Bread to kimchi will open another location near Culver City. Scoops Westside will actually be opened not by Tai Kim, but rather by food blogger Mattatouille.com aka Matthew Kang.

http://la.eater.com/archives/2010/06/17/scoops_ice_cream_coming_to_the_west_side.php

Good Luck Matt.

Considered by many to be the best burger in LA.  Definitely one of the freshest.  The meat is ground fresh daily, the patties hand formed.  The mayonnaise and thousand island dressing are home made.  Everything is cooked to order.  Customers dress their burgers as they want.

There are two sized burgers – 1/3 pound and 2/3 pound.  I’d recommend the bigger burger.  Holds its own better with the bun and condiments.

Considered by many to be the best burger in LA.  Definitely one of the freshest.  The meat is ground fresh daily, the patties hand formed.  The mayonnaise and thousand island dressing are home made.  Everything is cooked to order.  Customers dress their burgers as they want.

There are two sized burgers – 1/3 pound and 2/3 pound.  I’d recommend the bigger burger.  Holds its own better with the bun and condiments.

Musso and Frank

From Roving Reporter:

Musso and Frank – outside entrance

Bartender–Ruben-excellent old time bartender, great courtesy

Host–Jack 4th generation ownership family

Waiter–Serio–38 years but plenty of energy and fun.  Special touch “ice glass” for drink carrafe.

Onion Soup

Lobster bisque–right on

Salad- avocado salad with Russian dressing

Shrimp – weak, mushy shrimp, not worth price

Wine–Rioja–from small list–great value

Roast beef – best I’ve had in a restaurant including Morton’s in a long time

Bouillibaise–guest said good, not excellent…no visible Roux

Lamb shank–strongly endorsed by guest

smoked tongue on creamed spinach, boiled potato–excellent–a treat, not usually offered in American restaurants…special and very good.  I would order again.

Roving Reporters comments:

Over all:

Historic interest =10

Convenience=0–it took 95 minutes to try to be there for early dinner at 5:30, guests work and live in the area.   West LA to Hollywood forget it!

Courtesy of staff=9

Waiter in particular=8

Bartender=9

Drinks=excellent

Bar=fun, historic and nice too bad can’t smoke cigars any more

Food=some things particularly unique and excellent

short wine list-specials good value.  Rioja

Generally, very nice meal.   Would I go back?  Yes with visitors or people interested in Hollywood history.

Friend’s comments:

I thought the service was excellent. From the moment my friend and I arrived we were warmly greeted and escorted to the bar where the bartenders were attentive and knowledgeable. While our waiter didn’t elaborate when we asked him menu questions, he did emphasize which dishes he thought shined above others. I was also impressed by the host coming by to introduce himself and pointing out the history of the restaurant that was on the back of the menu.

The food, of course, is traditional. I thought everything was well prepared, with no disappointments. One thing I did notice was that the prices were a bit on the high side to attract a twenty-something audience. I believe your friend had mentioned wanting to work on drawing a younger clientele? One way to achieve this could be through emphasizing the classic, strong cocktails and by perhaps creating a “bar menu” of smaller dishes. Looking around the restaurant, the clientele appeared to be older patrons that have likely been fans of the restaurant for years, and middle-aged tourists. I believe this results from a combination of the higher price points and the seriousness of the menu. For example, I have plenty of friends who will go to Pizzeria Mozza because they know they can get a pizza and a glass of wine for $x dollars, even though they steer clear of the Osteria Mozza side.


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