Archive for March, 2009


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:


“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.”



“Salt Air” Margarita

Classic margarita topped with salt air



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.



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.



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



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



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.



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



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



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



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.





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.



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.


Raw Oysters on the Half Shell



Peel ‘n Eat Shrimp



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



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


A Lobstah roll!!!



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.


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.’


Adorable Jeremy



Italian olives, Nasturtium pesto, Nasturtium petals



Marcona almonds with lavender sugar and sea salt



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



Chickpea fries with herbs, Romesco sauce

All of the above are addictive



Assorted fried peppers from the garden with mint



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



 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.



Leaves and Things – walk into a garden and enjoy.



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.



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



Water-retained Plants 



 Ubuntu Pizza with truffled pecorino and ???



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



Squash #2



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


Plums with Nasturtium







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.


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



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



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



 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.



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.





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.


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.”



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



BYO wine



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.



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



The Crepes





The duck and bao at dinner



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.


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.



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


Japanese pear, Herring Egg, Japanese Greens, Micro Shiso


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



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.



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


Salmon Eggs


 Aji – Horse Mackeral


 Giant Clam




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





 Abalone with Abalone Liver






 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: