Archive for July, 2012

The Colonial Wine Bar

The Colonial Wine bar has just opened. I obviously can’t be unbiased as my son is one of the partners. But we did go Saturday night and at least I can post a photo essay to give you an idea of the food. The ambiance is wonderful.

Website here:

Dungeness crab crostini with fontina cheese, baby greens

Flatbread topped with Eggplant, Bucherone cheese, mushrooms, arugula, olive and pine nut tapenade

Baja California mussels with fideos pasta, white beans, chipotle sauce

Lamb keftedes (meatballs), avgolemono sauce and purslane

Little gems lettuce, shaved radishes and pickled shallots served with creamy feta and black pepper dressing

We devoured the deviled eggs before taking a picture so only one left – Deviled eggs with pickled jalapeños, smoked paprika, crispy bacon and greens

Burrata, grilled peaches and spiced pecans

Pan-roasted bone-in Mary’s chicken breast with sweet corn polenta and grilled asparagus

Lamb burger with harissa aioli and herbed frites

Do go and let David do a special pairing for you.


Milo and Olive

We don’t treat Milo and Olive as a pizza joint or as a place to have a quick snack. This is a serious restaurant with a creative and competent chef, Jason.

The terrific Jason

BYO Champagne to start

Branzino (cut into thin strips) seasoned with sumac and cumin, dusted with a bit of flour and fried. It was served with an aioli dip with dill, mint and scallions. Perfect!

Gnocchi “a la telephono,” tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, basil – what made this dish was the mozzarella that melted into the sauce – delicious

BYO White wine

Bucatini carbonara, Neuske’s bacon, pea tendrils, pecorino, farm egg yolk – another winner

BYO Red Wine

Fire Roasted Chicken Wings with Brentwood Corn – the wings were seasoned with paprika, lemon and garlic, basted with cilantro butter and then “blasted” in the pizza oven – this was the day before the 4th of July and a perfect pre-celebration dish.

Prawns cooked with sumac and chili butter on a bed of chickpea hummus – Jason created this dish “at the moment” and it was an A+

As I said at the beginning, this restaurant should be a must on any “foodie” list. This is true market to the table cuisine with a talented chef at the helm who is capable of creating dishes that would be the equal of any fine dining restaurant in Los Angeles.


Our dinner at Spago was extraordinary. Chef Tetsu Yahagi constructed a masterful tasting menu. I truly think he is one of the best chefs in the country and should be recognized as a world-class rising star chef. His dishes are as beautiful to look at as they are to taste. His melding of flavors is masterful. His creativity is incredible. I just can’t rave enough about how great this meal was. Spago is closing on July 9th for remodeling. The patio, our favorite place to eat, is being completely redone.

The patio

The garden is being demolished – Barbara Lazaroff (Wolfgang’s ex-wife) planted beautiful flowers in the garden that morning as a last hurrah!

BYO Champagne

Spicy Tuna Tartar in Miso Cone Cup – a signature dish

House Smoke Salmon with Lemon Herb Blini and Dill Crème Fraiche – another signature dish

Farmer’s Market Shelling Bean Hummus Tarts with zatar oil, basil oil and mustard seed

Osetra Caviar, Free Range Chicken Egg, softly scrambled – so many chefs don’t get this right – the eggs were perfect.

Sauteéd Kusshi Oyster with Mango Chutney, Madras Curry Aioli and Cilantro Blossom – another one bite wonder

Green Zebra Heirloom Tomato Sorbet with Tomato Water – refreshing and a nod to summer

Not pictured : BYO White wine: Dageneau ’09 Silex

We were presented with this box for our next dish. In the small bowl was tororo kelp (shredded seaweed)

In the box was freshly shaved bonito flakes

Santa Barbara Uni placed on top of Cauliflower Bavaloise  and Dashi Gelee. The Tororo Kelp and “Honkarebushi” Bonito Flakes are sprinkled on top. This was absolutely delicious.

Barely cooked Japanese Octopus Sashimi, Nectarine Ribbons, Rye Crisp, Celery Leaves, Frisee, Chives, Dill, Soy Salt, Black Pepper – who needs a great sushi bar!!!!

This is a close-up of the nectarine ribbon. I assumed that Chef Yahagi had sliced the nectarine on a Japanese Benriner Mandoline. When I asked I was told the Chef had sliced the nectarines by hand and then used a tweezer to fold the nectarine around the dill. Now that is over the top knife skills.

Japanese Ayu-Kishuu-Wakayama Fish( also called sweet fish) being presented

Japanese Ayu Kishuu-Wakayama “Fish ‘N’ Chips” Sauce Gribiche and Mizuna Salad – this was in a word inventive and just amazing

The dish deconstructed – the head and tail had been deep-fried and the flesh encased in tempura batter – you dipped each part in the gribiche sauce

The wonderful crunchy fish head and tail

Striped Bass Osso Buco, Ragout of Beans (black, red and summer shelling), Zucchini Blossoms, Zucchini Puree, Red Wine and Tomato Sauce, Lobster and Saffron Powder. The tail of the fish was wrapped around heart of palm stuffed with fish mousse – off the charts remarkable

Tagliatelle Pasta with Dungeness Crab and Nori Butter, Sudachi Lime and Chives – the pasta turns that color when it is tossed with the nori butter. I asked a lot of questions during this meal as I was so taken with the exactitude of Chef Yahagi’s technique and his attention to detail. Our wonderful servers were able to answer all my questions which is equally amazing.

First of the Season Sweet Corn Agnolotti, Mascarpone, Butter Glaze with Italian Summer Truffles – corn never had it so good

BYO Red Wine

Squab being presented

Slow Roasted Carpenter’s Ranch Squab Breast on the Bone, Spiced Gastrique, Caramelized Tenerelli Farm Figs, Shaved Hazelnuts on top. The sauce was made from drippings from the pan and deglazed with cognac and butter – absolutely A+

Slow Roasted Veal Loin, Farmer’s Market Pee-Wee Heirloom Potatoes, Potato Puree,  Potato “Soil” (toasted and crumbled potato bread) Veal demi-Glace – this reminded me of what David Kinch at Manresa does with his “Into The Garden” dish and his use of “soil.” Once again Chef Yahagi created an inventive dish that was remarkable for its simplicity that melded incredible taste sensations.

We were getting quite full and decided to forgo cheese and a parade of desserts.

Persian Blueberries

Sweet Puff pastry- crispy and baked, Whipped Creme Fraiche

The talented and remarkable Chef Yahagi

I wrote a thank you email to Chef Yahagi. His response speaks volumes about his passion for food – “You let me dance in inspiration.” I can’t wait until Spago reopens and I plan on many, many more meals with Chef Yahagi.