Archive Page 2


Maude, Curtis Stone’s new restaurant is phenomenal. Thomas Keller has an expression that great cooking is all about finesse. Curtis Stone cooks with finesse. He has an unique way of taking a seasonal ingredient and handling it with inspiration yet not letting the ingredient be overshadowed as an overwrought creation. His ability to let texture play an important role in his dishes makes for great cooking with finesse.

M- Curtis

Chef Curtis Stone

Maude is named after Curtis Stone’s grandmother a very important figure in his life.

M - the real Maude better

A photo of Maude on her wedding day.

Chef Stone’s own words best describes the restaurant:

“It has always been my dream to open a tiny, little restaurant, where I’m able to cook with the very best of the season, and create an incredible menu that changes regularly. Maude, named after my dear granny who opened my eyes to cooking and food, is the realization of my dream.”

“Each month a single ingredient inspires a menu of nine tasting plates, and this celebrated ingredient is creatively woven, to varying degrees, through each course. Some courses call for the hero ingredient to be at the center of the plate whilst at other times, it plays a supporting role to the rest of the produce and proteins making up the dish. By choosing a special ingredient to star in each course, from first bites right through to desserts, a beautiful, little challenge is born!”

The above is from the website:

Let me also add that Curtis Stone’s biography is very very impressive!!!!!!!!

The  ingredient for the the night was rhubarb. Each dish was phenomenal. The service was impeccable. This is a must go restaurant.

My photos of the dishes are rather poor and honestly don’t do the dishes justice. They didn’t want me to use flash and as a result the color and quality of the photos are not very good.

M - first

Whipped Rhubarb, cucumber sorbet, marigold flowers – a refreshing, vibrant beginning

M- Chicken

Far left – Chicken wing that had been rolled in pimenton and then in rhubarb glaze and deep fried, rhubarb compressed celery, pickled rhubarb, rhubarb ranch dressing – you dipped the wing in the ranch dressing – what a treat and what a superb combination

M - Prawn

Santa Barbara prawns served escabeche style – carrot, onion, radish, celery, extra virgin olive oil and the grilled head of the Santa Barbara Prawn – as a good Bostonian I picked up the head and ate every single bit including the tentacles – I was in seafood heaven

M - white wine

White wine from their list – excellent

M - asparagus

Composed Salad – charred green asparagus, white asparagus custard, dandelion greens, brown butter croutons, rhubarb vinaigrette – this is where texture is such an important aspect of Chef Stone’s dishes – the toasty croutons were an essential component of this dish

M - Curtis working - open kitchen

The open kitchen and Chef Stone hard at work – his attention to detail is extraordinary

M - chicken pate

This photo just doesn’t do justice to this dish – Chicken liver parfait, spring garlic, crumbled pain perdue, rhubarb pickled spring onions, pickled mustard seeds, banyuls vinegar, herb puree (the green blob) – this was off the charts fantastic – again the texture from the pain perdue was crucial and the parfait was a rich and unctuous mouthful. “Finesse Cooking!”

M - Branzino

Branzino wrapped in rhubarb, zucchini blossom, fried zucchini, pickled peppers, fava beans, dehydrated nicoise olives, rhubarb puree as a base

M - Sweetbread

Sweetbread ravioli, rhubarb beurre blanc, turnip and rhubarb remoulade dressing topped with puffed rice (“overcooked” ) jasmine rice that had been fried – again the photo doesn’t do this dish justice – a triumph of flavor and texture

M- Duck

Duck 3 ways – duck breast, sous vide duck pastrami, savory granola with duck skin, smoked beet puree, leeks, dehydrated fennel – again flavor, texture and ingredient quality was handled expertly

M - cheese

Comte Cheese, underneath the slice of cheese –  Madeira-Rhubarb gelee, macadamia nuts, microgreens

M - underneat cheese

underneath cheese

M - Ginger Parfait

Red Rhubarb sorbet – I didn’t get a full description of this dish

M - last dish

Ginger parfait, almond streusel, vanilla-rhubarb gratin  vanilla poached rhubarb with sabayon), salted honey

What a meal – this was exceptional in every way. I hope I captured the essence of Chef Stone’s cuisine. Many restaurants are listed as chef driven – this really is – I can’t wait to go back!


Vin Bar/Valentino

In all my posts about Vin Bar/Valentino I have made it clear that I consider this restaurant one of the finest in Los Angeles. This is NOT a stuffy restaurant. This is not a restaurant for those over 50. This is a contemporary restaurant that is fun dining at its best. Piero Selvaggio is one of the best restaurateurs in the country. Chef Nico Chessa is an extremely creative chef handling the best seasonal ingredients with contemporary flair. We never look at a menu. We just let Chef Nico cook and Piero pick the wines. I urge the younger set to give it a try – you will be wowed by how good this restaurant is.

We started with a glass of champagne – not pictured.

Vin - first wine

First wine

Vin - first app

On the left smoked salmon, orange, almonds, arugula. On the right Dungeness crab, watercress, melon, cucumber, baby cherry tomato – the ingredients sang and were perfect given the unbearably hot days that has plagued Los Angeles

Vin - 2nd app

Baked Ricotta cheese, spinach, white asparagus, candied walnuts, aged balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil – again a masterful combination of ingredients

Vin - 2nd wine

Second Wine

Vin - tomato soup

Cold tomato soup, fresh oregano, bottarga, burrata cheese – not your ordinary tomato soup – this just screamed great ingredients handled perfectly

Vin - rice

I am not going to do this dish justice by my description. This is a dish that was created by Chef Nico’s mother. It is a rice salad, with La Tur cheese, roasted ham flavored with truffles, peas, tomato – A+++

Vin - last wine

Third Wine

Vin - laast dish

On the left slipper lobster wrapped in speck, tomato. On the right, veal salad –  roasted slices of veal, parmesan, roasted fennel, roasted beets, butter lettuce, olive oil from Umbria – now the photo doesn’t do these two dishes justice – they were inspired, contemporary and creative that would easily win Top Chef.

Vin- cheese

Cheese – I forgot to write the name -it was a combination of cow’s milk and goat’s milk, walnuts, strawberries, barolo wine

This 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 in an atmosphere that is great for both the young and old.

Il Grano

I am going to sound like a broken record but I must repeat that Il Grano is a “must go” restaurant. Chef/Owner Sal Marino is amazing – his attention to detail, his extraordinary ability to get the best ingredients and his gift in that he lets the ingredients shine and not give you overwrought cuisine. We invited good friends to join us for a meal at Il Grano  – another meal of amazing company, extraordinary food and unbelievable wine.

Grano - champagne

BYO Champagne

Grano - crostini

Crostini with sautéed shishito peppers, dried bead crumbs, toma cheese

grano - smelt

Fried Wakasagi – Japanese smelt – with a sauce reminiscent of guacamole – pepper and smashed avocado

grano scallop

Seared Hokkaido scallop, oscetra caviar, Sequoia cherries, Purple carrrot and coffee sauce

Grano corton

BYO Corton

grano lobster

Lobster Catalonia, marinated onions, tomatoes, olive oil, basil

grano - montrachet

BYO Montrachet

grano - mushrroom

Porcini Mushroom Carpaccio, arugula, sundried tomatoes, parmesan, olive oil

grano - pea soup

English pea soup, olive oil, edible flowers

Grano - Lynch

BYO Lynch Bages

Grano - papparadelle

Home-made pappardelle, peasant ragu

Grano - Chateau de Beaucasse

BYO – last red wine!

Grano - rabbit

Rabbit stuffed with artichokes, caramelized onions, rabbit demi glace, edible flowers

Grano - lamb

Lamb loin, lamb chop, potatoes parmentier (my notes are very sketchy at this point!)

Grano - dessert

Apricot with amaretto, nectarine peaches with fresh mint, sequoia cherries with white chocolate

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

Craft Bar

For some reason we haven’t been back to Craft Bar in a very long time. What a mistake on our part. We like eating in the Craft Bar rather than their more formal restaurant Craft as we can order from the Bar menu and Craft menu. Our first big surprise was to see Gustavo one of our favorite front of the house staff who we have known for years dating back to Spago. He was terrific! The rest of the front of the house team – Matt, Keith and Jeff were also very helpful, courteous and absolutely gracious.

Craft - white wine

White wine from their list – John had a martini first – not pictured

Craft - amuse

Amuse – duck rillette on crackers

Craft - oysters

Oysters – Ram Island (CT), Dark Beach Light (Washington) WildFire Island (NY) with some sea beans

Craft - bread

Bread Service – Dark Molasses and White Country from La Brea Bakery

Craft - halbut ceviche

Halibut Ceviche with Avocado – this was from the Craft menu and it was terrific

Craft - hushpuppies

Cheddar Hushpuppies and smoked maple syrup – from the bar menu and we remembered how much we liked them – delicious

Craft - calamari

Calamari, spinach, chorizo and raisins – from the Craft menu and another winner

Craft wine

BYO Wine

Craft - quail

Roasted Quail – also from the Craft menu – shown a tiny piece as we devoured the portion

Craft - flatbread

Flatbread with fontina and wild mushrooms- from the Craftbar menu – another just one piece pictured as we devoured this portion

An absolute winner and we will definitely return.



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.



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