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Providence

I have done many write-ups about Providence. This meal just reinforces my position that this is the finest dining experience in Los Angeles as well as being one of the best restaurants in the country. Chef Michael Cimarusti was not there for our meal but his team headed by Tristan Aitchison, chef de cuisine and Amy Wolf, sous chef performed to perfection. Each dish was exquisite in presentation, the flavor combinations were superb and the execution was extraordinary. A friend of ours joined us for dinner and his culinary knowledge is extensive  — his comment to the Chef  “Yours was one of the top ten restaurant meals I’ve had and the experience was perfection in every way.”

We BYO our wines and I will just let you see our wine journey through pictures.

Provideence - champagne

Providence - Silex

Providence - White Rhone

Providence - Red Burgundy

Providence - sauterne

Now for the perfect food – again I am going to let the photos tell most of the story of this extraordinary dining experience.

Providence - first amuse

“dark and stormy” – Dark rum gelee topped with ginger beer foam with lime

Providence - tree for scallop better

This was the presentation tree for the next course

Providence - scallop up close

“Scallop Taco” – scallop tartare, sushi rice in a nasturtium leaf wrapper

Providence - clam

Little neck clam, bell pepper, chorizo set in chorizo consomme and clam juice

Providence - grilled Oyster

Grilled Kumamoto oyster, American caviar, smoked Champagne beurre blanc served warm on a heated brazier

Providence - salmon gougeres

At the back of the photo – cured salmon gougeres, in the middle smoked creme fraiche with salmon caviar and herbs and in the front crispy salmon skin – this was an unbelievable course – the one bite gougere was perfect and breaking up the skin and dipping it in the creme fraiche just amazing

Providence - presentation of snapper

Presentation of the next course

Providence - snapper

The dish opened revealed Japanese Tai snapper sashimi, diced rhubarb, burdock, fresh shiso

Providence - scallop sashimi

Live scallop sashimi from New Bedford,Mass layered with black truffle and smoked toasted sesame – absolutely incredible

Providence - foie terrine

Liver terrine, toasted brioche, nori, sorrel, port wine reduction

Providence - bread service

Bread service – bacon brioche, nori focaccia, regular bread rolls served with Rodolphe le meunier butter

Providence - sea urchin

Sea Urchin served on nori focaccia, black truffle butter, lardo de belota – I was in uni heaven!

Providence - spot prawns

Santa Barbara Spot Prawn served with Rodolphe le meunier drawn butter, prawn roe liver

Providence - grilled king crab

Grilled Alaskan king crab, Belgian white asparagus, Presidente caviar, Jurancon wine sauce

Provience - turbot

Wild French turbot, tomato concasse, spring herbs and tendrils, spot prawn nage

Providence - duck

Liberty Farms duck breast, red beets, spiced hazelnuts, mustard frill

Providence - beef

Wagyu Beef, Californian Orchard Morels, Cippolini onions, miners lettuce, parmesan brûlée, bearnaise

Providence - cheese

Cheese selection

Providence - dessert

creme fraiche ice cream, sable breton, almond financier, chestnut jam, vanilla mousse

What a meal!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Connie and Ted’s

For me going to Connie and Ted’s is a trip to Boston without the hassle of a plane trip. I grew up in Boston and this restaurant does everything right. Sam the chef is so much more than a clam shack chef – he is a 4 star chef!

Connie - champagne

BYO Champagne to start

Connie - Murray

Murray – a terrific waiter

Connie - oysters

Oysters – pristine

Connie - Oysters written

Nothing is left to chance at Connie and Ted’s – the handwritten list of oysters we were given

Connie - chablis

BYO Chablis

Conie - pot pie

Lobster Pot Pie – this was a tour de force – spectacular – Notice the anchor and the pastry – done by Katrina the pastry chef

Connie - sam and

Sam the incredible chef and Katrina a master at pastry

connie - inside of pot pie

The Lobster pot pie before being devoured – lobster (not a tad overcooked), chanterelles, butternut squash, potato, exquisite saucing

Connie - inside of pot pie 1

The Lobster pie being devoured

Connie - wine 3

BYO Wine

Connie - mussels

Mussels with white wine, butter, garlic, shallots, parsley, lemon and on the side fries – I am in seafood heaven

Connie - bread withe mussels

Wonderful bread to mop up the perfect sauce from the mussels

Connie - Ridge

BYO Wine

Connie - john's burger

Connie and Ted’s Burger – the other half is my dinner the next night

Connie - onion rings

Perfect Onion Rings with the burger

Connie - clams

Fried Clams with the belles – a small order

What a meal – what a restaurant – a must go!

Il Grano

In my last post about Il Grano I made the comment that this was a “must go” restaurant. That comment absolutely still holds true – Chef/Owner Sal Marino is amazing! We invited good friends to join us for a meal at Il Grano and a 4 hour meal felt like 4 minutes – amazing company and extraordinary food.

Gran- wine table

A table just for our wines! John forgot to take a picture of each wine but this is some of what we had.

Gran Champagne

Gran- Chablis

Gran - red wine

Gran red wwine 2

Not too shabby!

Now to Sal’s wonderful food. We just let Sal devise a tasting menu.

Gran- first amuse

On the left a purple carrot tart, lemon, mascarpone and on the right wild big eye tuna toro, blood orange sauce

Gran- crudo

Sal’s crudo plate – nobody does crudo better than Sal. Starting from the right: Scallop with saffron aioli, Tuna with schezwan pepper sauce, Japanese red snapper with squid ink sauce and not pictured (my photographer wasn’t great) Luna oyster with mandarin sauce

Gran prawns

Grilled Santa Barbara prawns, prawn roe, arugala salad, horseradish jelly on the far right – absolutely spectacular

Gran razor clams

Razor clams, Japanese yuzu kosho – “Yuzu Kosho (aka yuzugosho) is a Japanese seasoning paste made by blending together yuzu fruit zest, chile peppers and salt.”

Gran pea soup

Pea soup, olive oil, salt, pepper, edible flower – Sal uses no dairy just the pristine ingredient handled brilliantly

Gran - Spanish mackereel

Grilled Spanish mackerel, needle sauce, bluesde spinach – look at the pristine quality of that fish handled with a deft hand

Gran - lobster and pasta

Maine lobster, julienne of zucchini, lobster reduction, tagliatelle

Gran - ravioli

Ravioli stuffed with capon and beef, eggplant sauce, sautéed radicchio, pine nuts

Gran - rabbit

Rabbit loin, sausage, brussel sprouts

Gran - strudel

Apple strudel, raisin, pineapple, caramel sauce, vanilla gelato

This was an A+ meal – Sal is an incredible chef who features the best ingredients and knows how to use those ingredients that brings out their best qualities. He is not a chef that throws 30 ingredients on a plate and hopes that something will catch your fancy. This is a chef’s chef.

Vin Bar/Valentino

I have written glowing report after glowing report about Vin Bar/Valentino. The extraordinary thing about this restaurant is its consistency – you will always have superb food, incredible wines and stupendous service. This is an A+ restaurant and honestly it just doesn’t get better than this.

My camera decided to cease for the night so the first course plus the first two white wines are not pictured. Thank goodness for John’s cell phone camera.

Our wines for the evening were spectacular.

Vin - champane

We started with Schramsberg. Then we had a spectacular sauvignon blanc from south tyrol Alto Adige 2012 and afterward a Fiano di Avellno,Campania Antiche Terre 2010. Piero picks the best wines that compliments the food extraordinarily.

Vin - gotico wine

Red wines were Gotico

Vin Barbaresco

and Barbaresco.

Dinner by Chef Nico was off the charts fantastic. He has an ability to extract the best from an ingredient without losing the instrinic quality of the ingredient. His blending of flavors is stupendous and couple that with Piero’s wine pairings you can expect a meal of Michelin 3 star quality.

Vin -cheese

Fresh Burrata cheese, basil olive oil on a bed of golden and red beets topped with micro greens.

Not pictured: Swordfish carpaccio marinated in peperoncino herbs and pomegranete, sprinkled with pistachio and chili flakes

Vin - calamari

Calamari brodetto (literally translated as an Italian fish stew) stuffed with shrimp, white wine, cherry tomato, oregano, parsley

Vin - monkfish

Monkfish marinated with herbs baked on a bed of caponata, green pea sauce

Vin - ravioli

Ravioli cacio e peppe ( translated as literally meaning cheese and pepper), the ravioli was filled with  pecorino cheese and barlotta pear, butter, sage, pepper

Vin - Pici

Pici with a ragu of wild boar

Vin - rabbit

Rabbit stuffed with apples, mashed potatoes, polenta, string beans, carrots

Vin - cheese

Cheese Course ( at this point I stopped taking notes!)

Vin - sorbet

Dessert Course

What a meal!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

French Laundry

From a meal in early December.

Champagne – not pictured

Fr-cornet

Salmon Cornets

Fr- gougere

Gougeres

SOUP

FR - soup 1

Parsnips chips, Piedmont hazelnuts, cranberry, burgundy truffle

FR - soup 2

Celery Root Veloute poured on top

Fr - Oysters and Pearls

Oysters and Pearls – Sabayon of Pearl tapioca with Island Creek Oysters and White Sturgeon Caviar

FR wine 1 after oysters

Wine

FR - sea urchin

Maine Sea Urchin Chiffon (mousseline of uni) – Kendall Farms Creme Fraiche, Sour Apple Relish, Finger Lime, Cilantro

FR- langoustine

Wild Scottish Langoustine en gelee, smoked steel head trout roe, preserved tomato, horseradish, celery, oyster crackers

Fr - Snapper

FR - snapper 2

Gulf Coast Snapper gently cooked in olive oil, snapper brandade, remoulade, watercress, Spanish saffron, young fennel, picholine olives, saffron broth poured on top

Fr - Hen Custard

Hen Egg Custard with a ragout of Perigord Truffles

Fr wine after custardd

Wine

FR - canape of meat

FR - canape of meat 2

“Tour de Canapes de Viandes” 1.Duck pastrami, hearts of palm, raisin puree   2.Braised Quail leg, Onion Marmalade, Dijon

Fr - salad of palm

Salad of Hawaiian hearts of peach palm, compressed Jacobsen Orchard Persimmons, Sunchokes, toasted Piedmont Hazelnuts and Black Winter Truffle Puree

Fr - lobster

Sweet Butter-poached Maine Lobster, La Ratte Potato Puree, Garden Celery, Pommes Maxim’s and Razor Clam Chowder

FR wine after lobster

Wine

Fr - white truffles

White Truffles Presented

FR - risotto

Carnaroli Risotto Biologico – Castelmagno Mousse, Beurre Noisette

FR - risotto with truffles

The Risotto with the White Truffles from Alba shaved on top

Fr wine after truffles

Wine

FR - beef

Charcoal-grilled Snake River Farms Calotte de boeuf, Short rib Croustillant, Garden Broccoli, Nantes Carrots, Black Trumpet Mushroom Coulis and sauce Bordelaise

Fr - birthday cake

Birthday Cake

Fr - dessert plated

“Passionate about Vanilla” – Vanilla custard with green tea biscuit and passion fruit mousseline

FR - desseertss more

More desserts!

David Breeden is now chef de cuisine at French Laundry and he showed his skill, expertise and finesse with this meal. It was excellent.

Manresa

David Kinch is one of the most innovative and creative chefs in the country.  Combine this with his passion and dedication  plus his extraordinary ability to get the most pristine ingredients and you have a restaurant that is definitely off the charts perfect. Bottom line: there aren’t enough superlatives to capture the excitement of a Manresa meal. My descriptions will be brief as they were jotted down from my illegible notes from a meal in early December. Apologies to Chef Kinch for the inaccuracies. I also am not commenting on each dish as delicious , off the charts, perfect blend of ingredients as they apply to each dish.

man-krug

BYO Krug to start

Man - mad better1

Lousy picture – Petit fours – Roast Red Pepper Gelee and Black Olive Madelines – a signature beginning

Man- chestnut truffles

Chestnut Truffles

man- presentation plate

Notice the beautiful new presentation plates – each hand-made from exotic wood

man- beignet

Garden Beignet with crispy kale, malt vinegar and aged goat cheddar

Man- oyster

Belon Oyster and seaweed ice

Man - white wwine

BYO Wine

man- abalone

Monterey Bay Abalone, local milk, panna cotta, breakfast radishes garnished with a salad brunette

Man- pim's butter

Pim’s Butter

man- bread

Brioche and Green Olive Bread

man-crab

Local Dungeness crab, roasted chicken gelee, persimmon, pomegranate, dusting of fennel pollen

man-scallops

Nantucket bay scallops, autumn veggies – kohlrabi, celery root, brussel sprout petals, tapenade of black trumpet mushrooms, candied black olives

Man- into the garden

“Into the Garden” – notice the new plate!

man- tidal pool

“Autumn Tidal Pool” – assorted shellfish clams, mussels, cured sea bream – pine and matsutake mushrooms, pine mushroom broth, lemon peel

Man -red wine

Red Wine

man- egg with sushi rice

Fried Egg with sushi rice, white truffles, parmesan cheese, garden bok choy

man with sushi rice 2

Another photo of the above

man- deer

Japanese tenderloin of rho deer that had been aged 60 days, garden carrots, bordeaux spinach, quince with saffron and licorice

Man- persimmon

Persimmon

What a meal, what an experience – run don’t walk to Manresa for a true culinary adventure from a gifted chef

Valentino

We are lucky to have friends, Sybil and Simon who enjoy and savor food and wine as much as we do. Simon Majumdar needs no introduction given his frequent appearances on The Food Network and his best selling books Eat My Globe and Eating for Britain. He is about to embark on a trip around the world with Sybil, his beautiful and talented wife with some time-out time to write his newest book Fed White and Blue – his incredible journey to American Citizenship. We were thrilled they joined us at Valentino, one of our most favorite restaurants and to me the best Italian restaurant in Los Angeles. Piero orchestrated the wines and Chef Nico devised the menu. Many of the dishes Chef Nico brought out himself and explained what we were eating in rapid Italian. Trying to take notes was futile but to demonstrate how tremendous and gracious Chef Nico is he sent me via email the menu in English. That is going above and beyond to the utmost degree!

Bottom line – this was a fantastic meal with exquisite wines, exceptional food and terrific, entertaining friends. I have added some additional notes to Nico’s menu to give you a sense of the exceptional quality of the ingredients, the perfect execution and where necessary a brief description of Italian terms.

Vin first wine

First Wine

Vin uni

Catalina Island sea urchin on lemon-prosecco sgroppino ( a boozy Italian smoothie made with lemon and prosecco – my words not Nico’s) – I love sea urchin – Chef Nico knows this – what a perfect beginning

Vin beef tartare

Little Bite of beef crudo and white truffle Albese style – a one bite wonder

Vin pata negra

Fermin patanegra on fettaunta, a rustic bread rubbed with heirloom tomato and unfiltered Sardinian olive oil – this is when first rate ingredients shine

My addition to Chef Nico’s menu notes: “Two years of air curing and aging in the mountain breeze allows the complexity and flavors of this incomparable Ibérico ham to develop and deepen. In the indigenous oak forest and savanna-like grassland dehesas of southwestern Spain, the Ibérico hog, a descendant of the wild boar, finds its natural habitat. Popularly known as the Pata Negra, or Black Hoof, the Ibérico breed’s characteristics are responsible for the unsurpassed taste and quality of this traditional dry-cured pork ham. Produced by the Fermin family, the original exporters of Ibérico hams to the US.”

Vin - second wine

Second Wine

Vin furst pastaDSC07348

Calamarata paella style of conch, seppie, shrimp, guanciale, chicken, frog legs and Romanesco beans – Calamarata is a wide tubular pasta shaped like a large ring – a perfect combination of exceptional ingredients

VIN - pici

Pici with grappa-thyme wild boar and fiore Sardo pecorino – pici is a thick, hand-rolled pasta that originated in the province of Siena in Tuscany. “Fiore Sardo is produced on the island of Sardinia off the coast of Italy. This is a cheese with very ancient origins, thought by some to date back to the Bronze Age. Partly as a result of this, Fiore Sardo was awarded DOP (name protected) status in 1996. Although there are now industrially produced variations of Fiore Sardo that are sometimes made from a blend of cow’s and sheep’s milk or even pasteurized milk, traditionally Fiore Sardo is made from fresh, unpasteurized sheep’s milk, sourced from native Sardinian sheep from a single flock.”

Vin- third wine

Third Wine

Vin - rabbit

Black truffles and green apples stuffed rabbit with its own demi and grilled polenta – there is no way that words can convey how delicious this way plus handled with finesse

VIN - duck

Roasted Muscovy duck breast with grape sauce and porcini – equally perfect

VIN - cheese

Formaggi – La Tour caw –  sheep and goat milk creamy goodness from Piedmont and Moliterno Tartufato – sheep milk truffle cheese from Sardinia and the southern coast of Italy

VIN - dessert wine

Dessert Wine

VIN - dessert

Dolci –  Pear sorbet, cannoli and chocolate cake

What a meal!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Absolutely A+++++


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