Archive for September, 2009

Bazaar – Brunch Again

I have said this before and I will say it again that I love Bazaar for Sunday brunch. Joey told us that the night before they had done over 500 covers for dinner, Saturday night. Brunch, on the other hand is calm, civilized with good food and if you have great company, a perfect place. With Sybil and Simon, we had great company and with Ryan and Joey, we had great service. Since this was Sybil’s and Simon’s first time at Bazaar, we had many repeat dishes.


sweet potato chips

Sweet Potato Chips


close-up of dip

Yogurt, Tamarind, Star Anise Dip that accompanies the Sweet Potato Chips



Very dry Martini


champagne mimosa

Casa Mimosa – seasonal citrus selection, Sparkling wine with freshly squeezed fruit juice


bloddy mary

Bloody Mary – “Freshly-made tomato juice, celery-wasabi foam” – The base is a mix of tomato juice, vodka, Worcestershire, lime juice, salt and pepper. It is topped with celery-wasabi foam that is created by loading wasabi-infused lime juice and celery puree into a CO2 canister.


asparagus in a tin

White Asparagus, Greek Yogurt, Creme Fraiche topped with Black Olive Powder served in a tin as a nod to the Spanish tradition of canning, although the ingredients were fresh and not canned.


champagne at Bazaar

BYO Krug Champagne


slmon eggs in brik

“Bagel and Lox Cone” –  a cone made out of brik filled with salmon eggs, crème fraîche and topped with a sprig of dill


close-up of salmon eggs

Close-up of the “Bagel and Lox”


12 quail eggs

12 Tiny Eggs Sunny side up – Huevos a la Cubana “Andy Garcia” – a crispy rice cake was topped with 12 fried quail eggs, crispy shavings of Jamon Serrano, dabs of an intense, spicy tomato puree, crispy bacon and topped with some diced chives. This is just a must order dish. I could go to Bazaar and just order this, but obviously I never do just that!


movia wine

BYO White Wine



Jamon Iberico de bellota Fermin – acorn-fed, free-range Iberico ham – one of the advantages of dining with Simon is his extensive knowledge of Spanish ingredients and tapas. Never in a million years did I expect this to be as good as it was. The fat is an experience in itself and has a definite acorn taste. 


ham 1

Another gorgeous picture of the Jamon Iberico.


bread with ham

The jamon is served with Catalan style toasted bread with tomato; eat the jamon and bread with tomato separately.


egg with potato

Tortilla de Patatas “New Way” – warm potato foam, caramelized onion with a slow cooked egg 63 and topped with chives, crispy small dice of croutons and white truffles – a must mix-up dish so that the runny yolk melds with the potato


french toast

“Torrijas” Spanish Toast served with vanilla ice cream – almost like a French toast


ryan making drink

Tableside “Nitro” Blood Orange Screwdriver: Frozen liquid nitrogen blood orange and vodka – Ryan doing his magic.


blood orange drink

Finished Screwdriver – this basically functioned as a palate cleanser.



Croquetas de pollo- chicken and bechamel fritters – Simon said that the mark of a good Spanish tapas restaurant is how well they do the croquetas – he declared these excellent.


inside of croquette

Inside the croquetas 


eggs benedict

Eggs Benedict “New Way”, Serrano Ham, Tarragon, Toasted Brioche – The eggs are poached in a cryovac machine at 63 degrees for about 40 minutes. Some of the ham slices were crispy and some were thin slices of room temperature ham. This time the eggs were definitely warm enough, but the whites are just not firm enough done this way. This is the only dish that misses the mark for me.


close-up of eggs benedict

Close-up of the Eggs Benedict


red wine at Bazaar

BYO Red Wine


foie gras brioche

Foie Gras, Quince, Brioche Buns – delicious


wagyu air bread

“Philly Cheesesteak”- air bread filled with oozing cheddar cheese and topped with Wagyu Beef – this is one of my favorite dishes


Butifarra Senator Moynihan – Catalan pork sausage, white beans, mushrooms – Thanks to kevinEats, this is his photo of the dish as my husband forgot to take a picture – Unfortunately I was getting very full and only had a small bite of this, but there is always a next time!


ryan with cotton candy


tyan with cotton candy 1


ryan with cotton candy 2

Mojito with mint, rum and lime with the cotton candy functioning as the sweetening agent.


dessert wine at bazaar

BYO Dessert Wine



Traditional Spanish Flan – Vanilla and fruit – at this point my note-taking took a serious dive so I will have to let the photos tell the story


choclate dessert at bazaar



mignardises at bazaar 1

Chocolate bons bons and chocolate covered raspberries


mignardises at bazaar 3

Chocolate pop rocks


This was a 4 1/2 hour brunch and the time flew by –  spectacular in all respects.


Zing Zang – Bloody Mary Mix

Rarely do I recommend a product and never something like a bloody Mary Mix, but this is the best mix I have ever tasted.


Zing Zang 1


I ordered another batch and it seems that UPS smashed the entire order and the Zing Zang Company was kind enough to call me and let me know they were shipping another order. I happened to mention how much I loved this product and the gentleman from the company asked me if I had ever cooked with Zing Zang? “Can you do that?” was my reply.

Well, take the Zing Zang, marinate skinned boneless chicken breasts overnight. 

breast marinating


Turn occasionally.

breast maarinating 1

I just grilled it. In retrospect I should have followed the recipe on their website.

2 whole chicken breasts
1 medium onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 teaspoon dill weed
2 cups cooked sun dried tomato pasta
2 tablespoons butter
2 1/2 cups Zing Zang Bloody Mary Mix
2 carrots, sliced
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 green onions, chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

Skin and bone chicken breasts. Cut each in half. Marianate chicken in 1/2 cup Zing Zang Bloody Mary Mix overnight.

Heat skillet, add butter and chicken breasts, turning after 5 minutes. Add onions, carrots, celery and garlic, simmer approximately 3 minutes. Add dill weed and 2 cups Zing Zang Bloody Mary Mix. Simmer over low heat until chicken is done.

Serve over cooked pasta and sprinkle with green onions and parmesan cheese.

For and extra treat, add sun dried tomatoes.

Or you could just have a Bloody Mary.

Blue Plate Oysterette

Posting about a 5 day old restaurant is basically unfair – every restaurant has tweaks to work out, service issues to refine, suppliers to be locked in and a hundred other details that need to be addressed. But as a Bostonian, I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try out a New England style Seafood Shack. 


BP outside

Blue Plate Oysterette – you can eat outside

BP room

The room


BP kitchen

The open kitchen


BP wine

BYO white wine – corkage $10.00



The genial and gracious GM, Salvador – He is terrific.


BP oysters

Oysters on the half shell with homemade cocktail sauce and mignonette – Lunas (San Diego), Bahia Falsa (Baha), Fanny Bay (British Columbia) and Metcalf Bay (British Columbia) – Other than the Fanny Bay, the oysters were good. As for the Fanny Bay, they were non-existent and shouldn’t have been served. To the restaurant’s credit we were given 4 oysters of our choice to replace the Fanny Bay.


BP Oysters 2

4 Metcalf Bay oysters – absolutely addictive house-made cocktail sauce


In terms of sourcing, I would say that Bouchon’s oysters (Yountville) Neptune’s oysters (Boston) are superior, but again they have been in business a long time and as such have established a major relationship with their sources.

Neptune Oyster

Neptune Oyster – Boston


BP clam Chowder

Clam Chowder, cherrystone clams, light cream broth – My husband likes very thick chowder so he wasn’t in love with this. He doesn’t even like Neptune’s chowder because he thinks it is too thin.  (My feeling – take it as a personal preference).


BP fried food

Fried Seafood Combo – Calamari, Oysters, Shrimp – the seafood was cornmeal crusted


BP- close-up of fried

Close-up – 3 oysters, 2 shrimp and mostly calamari.  I started major begging with Salvador to add Ipswich clams to the menu. I even brought my photo of Neptune’s clams to help with my plea.


Neptune's claams

Neptune’s Clams 


BP extra fried oysters

The fried Oysters were perfect and I decided to have 4 extra. Next time I think I would just order fried oysters until they get clams.


BP hot dog

The Big Dog – all natural 1/2 pound Kobe Beef dog, sauerkraut, homemade pickles, slaw – My husband loved it, ate half and is eating the other half watching the Dodgers.


Bottom line – we will definitely go back. One caveat – do not park in the lot next to the restaurant – exorbitant – just find a public parking lot only a block away and save a lot of money.


What is it with me that I don’t like Suzanne Goin’s cuisine?  I have never liked AOC or Lucques. Well, Tavern is the newest venture of Goin and her partner Caroline Styne. They have taken over the old Hamburger Hamlet space in Brentwood. Not wanting to cook, why not have a quick bite at Tavern?  I didn’t take any pictures and the photos below are of dishes done correctly- not from the Tavern.

Gougeres with French radishes – I have never in my life had a deep fried, breaded gougere – different yes, but give me the original.


French Laundry Gougeres


Fried Oyster and Bacon Brochette with Tabasco Aioli – I was imagining lovely fried oysters that would take me back to New Orleans. No such luck. This version was a lump of 3 oysters on a skewer that tasted as bad as it looked; heavy breaded greasy mushy oysters, bordering on “bad” oysters with barely cooked bacon – a mess.

galatoire's oysters en brochette

Galatoire’s (New Orleans) Oysters en Brochette


Steak tartare with quail egg – this was OK but for $12.00 the smallest portion of steak tartare I have ever seen. 

Go to Riva and have a wonderful beef tartare with incredible bacon sabayon.


RIVA’S Beef Tartare


Our server talked us into ordering the Beets and Carrots with Chickpeas and Feta – this was the dish of the afternoon – excellent.

Niman Ranch Beef Burger with Cheddar Cheese and a side of Onion Rings. Whoever is working the fryer needs to go back to culinary school or maybe it is the line cook who needs a refresher and relearn his breading technique– the onion rings were inedible. The burger was OK, but way too much bun relative to meat. At least it was rare.

They spent a fortune on refurbishing the place, but whoever did the tabletops in the bar is in big trouble. There are stains on every table that they can’t remove. I am not talking little stains; I am talking many white rings on the tabletop.

This is not cheap – anything but. Save your money.

I wrote the above and then went again. Why???? Because, my son knew I had eye surgery, my husband was out of town and I was stuck and hungry at 3:30. It was just as bad. Don’t bother.


Riva is our go-to neighborhood restaurant. We got there at 6:00 and they were very busy – surprise on a Saturday night when LA tends to be a late night town. Obviously the small plate menu is a big hit, even minus the pizzas.



BYO Champagne



Sea Bass, pink peppercorns, lemon oil – sushi quality fish with great punch from the pink peppercorns



Tonno di Tonnato, big eye tuna, tonnato sauce


tuna with sauce

What makes this dish superb is the tonnato sauce – tremendous!



BYO White Wine



Hamachi Parfait, cucumber, avocado, basil gelee and I am guessing creme friache dollop on top – another winner and I am so impressed by the quality of the fish.


hamachi mixed up

The Hamachi parfait mixed up – 



Hokkaido Scallop, Santa Rosa Plums, Basil Oil – again superb quality scallops, but still too much basil oil



Spiedini alla Piastra – Octopus, lemon zest, bread crumbs, parlsey – The octopus was so tender and the opposite of chewy and tough – delicious


red wine

BYO Red wine

tartare presented

Hand Cut Beef Tartare, chives, bacon sabayon – presented with toasted croutons on top of the tartare


tartare open

Tartare uncovered – the bacon sabayon should be bottled and sold along with the tonnato sauce.




Risotto, Balsamic Braied Radicchio, Bacon Confit, Smoked Mozzarella Cheese – good



Sorbet (I think) – I stopped taking notes


Riva is the perfect, casual, good food spot. The service is warm and friendly plus the crudo is extraordinary and it is obvious that ingredient quality is of extreme importance. What a pleasure.

White Truffles

The best white truffles I have ever tasted was in December at Sabatini restaurant in Hong Kong – yes, Hong Kong. I know it is the beginning of September, but I can dream of white truffles, even though truffle season is months away. But fall is in the air, so white truffle thoughts are starting to “dance in my head.”

The second best white truffles were at Per Se in New York and The French Laundry in Yountville. The worst white truffles were at Alex in the old Michel Richard’s Citrus space. Alex Scrimgeour was the chef. In any case we ordered a dish with a shaving of white truffles that had a very large supplement, almost $80 per person, if my memory is correct. There were exactly 2 small shavings of truffles, less than the beef carpaccio dish pictured below.


FL - white truffles

Carnaroli Risotto Biologico with White Truffles from Alba – Per Se

Russet potato gnocchi, roasted chestnuts, white truffle butter and shaved white truffles from Alba – French Laundry (no picture)


A year ago, I decided to splurge and order some white truffles for an at home truffle dinner. Of course, the quality was not even close to the ones served at Sabatini, Per Se or French Laundry and I wasn’t as generous with my shavings!


White truffles

The truffles – OK quality


Beef with Truffles

Beef Carpaccio with shaved white truffles – I did say I was skimpy on my shavings


eggs with truffles

Scrambled eggs with shaved white truffles and brioche – a bit more generous


pasta with truffles

Pasta with white truffles


Not exactly up to Sabatini’s, Per Se’s or French Laundry’s standards, but good.