Archive for December, 2012

Vin Bar/Valentino

Valentino/Vin Bar just gets better and better. It is our favorite Italian restaurant in Los Angeles – no one does it better in all of Los Angeles. Chef Nico devises a tasting menu for us and Piero chooses the wines. Our only responsibility is to sit back and enjoy. I am not only endorsing Valentino/Vin bar, I am urging everyone to just go.

Val - crab

Lousy picture but wonderful start – Crab Cake with Dijon Sauce

Val - first wine

First wine

Val - SB tartare

Santa Barbara spot prawn tartare with caponata, black olives, capers, pine nuts – absolutely delicious

Val - cod fish

On a crostini cod fish mousse with raddichio salad – another perfect starter dish

Val - 2nd wine

2nd wine

Val - beef meatballs

Wagyu beef meatballs with truffles, “broken” tagliatelle pasta, castrated chicken broth, parmesan. This was sensational. In looking up a castrated chicken broth I found the following – “The meat from capons (castrated roosters) is rich and flavorful and makes an exceptional broth.  In Italy, cheese rinds are often added to a simmering pot of soup for added depth of flavor.”

Val - 3rd wine

Third wine

Val - pork sausage

Cotechino – pork sausage and green lentils, barley, tomato sauce, parmesan – “The cotechino is an Italian charcuterie product, similar to salami but must be cooked; usually it is boiled at low heat for about four hours. Its name comes from cotica (rind), but it may take different names in the different production areas. According to tradition, it is served with lentils on New Year’s Eve, to bring luck for the coming year.”

Val - pasta

Busiati pasta, speck, zucchini, pear cubes, butternut squash, candied walnuts, gorgonzola cheese – Flour, eggs and oil are mixed into a dough that is called “busiato” in the Trapani area and then it is quickly rolled around the “busu” (or knitting needle) to obtain a sort of “fusillo.” – This was off the charts perfect.

Val - last wine

4th Wine

Val - lamb

Lamb Belly on a bed of sunchoke puree – we were getting quite full and didn’t do this dish justice. We will tonight!

A great meal with sensational staff – what more could one ask for?


Blinis and Caviar

This recipe is from Martha Stewart.

1 package of active dry yeast

1/2 cup warm water

1 cup milk

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3 eggs separated

1/2 teaspoon salt

Pinch of sugar

6 tablespoons melted unsalted butter

Clarified butter for the griddle

Proof the yeast in warm water with the pinch of sugar for 15 minutes. Put the yeast mixture, milk, flour, egg yolks, salt and melted butter in a blender. Blend at high speed for 40 seconds. Turn the machine off, scrape down the sides of the container, then blend for another few seconds. Pour the batter into a bowl that is large enough to accommodate the rising. Cover loosely and set in a warm place to rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Do not let the batter rise much longer or the blini will taste overfermented.

Blinis batter

The batter after rising for 2 hours

egg whites for blinis

At cooking time, beat the egg whites until stiff. Fold them into the batter.

griddle for blinis

Heat a griddle.

claridfied butter

Brush with clarified butter.

blinis cooking 2

Drop batter by 1/8 cup measuring cup onto to the griddle.. Turn the blini when the first side is lightly browned and cook briefly on the second side. I serve this to order. Make one blini for each person – serve the blini, let them spoon creme fraiche and caviar on freshly made blini and repeat making blinis just a serving at a time.


This is the best spatula to use

blinis cooking 3

Another “batch of blinis”

caviar and creme fraiche

Caviar ( paddle fish on the right, hackelback on the left) and Creme Fraiche

wine with blinis

Wine with blinis and caviar

Merry Chistmas everyone.

Best part – this keeps overnight in the refrigerator and makes blinis with jam for breakfast.

Milo and Olive

We have made Thursday late afternoon our “go to” place. We never order or even look at a menu. We just let Jason cook and we are lucky to have the “best of the best.”

Jason at Milo

Wonderful Jason

wines at Milo

wines at Milo #2

We are very fortunate that Milo and Olive allow us to BYO – we share with everyone – both the front of the house and of course Jason and his wonderful sous – Shahon.

Milo black truffle

Black Truffle from Piedmont

Milo egg dish

Jason called this “Bacon and Eggs.” It was an egg custard made with egg yolk, milk, cream, cayenne, nutmeg, salt and pepper made in a bain marie at 275 degrees for 50 minutes on the bottom rack. (I do ask a lot of questions and the best part is that I get exact answers!) The custard was served with Nueske’s bacon, peas and black truffles. What an exquisite dish.

Milo egg dish mixed up

The egg mixed up.

Milo - chestnut soup

Chestnut Soup – made from fresh chesnuts from Italy, a white mire poix (celery, onion, fennel), plugra butter, roasted chicken stock, heavy cream and finished at the last moment with a touch of dark rum. It was topped with creme fraiche, fried sage and some of the roasted chestnuts that had been roasted in the hot pizza oven. Delicious!

Milo - rissotto

Risotto, parmesan cheese, finished with a bit of Chandon champagne and those wonderful black truffles from Piedmont. A++

Milo - prawns

Roasted prawns, pea pesto (peas, pine nuts, garlic, mint, parsley, lemon juice), marjoram – what made this dish was the pea pesto – Jason has an extraordinary “feel” for  vegetables.

milo - pork belly

Slow-roasted Pork belly, whole grain mustard, pickles, brussel sprouts, Persian cucumber, Fuyu Persimmon – another winner

Milo - short ribs

Short Ribs, Muscat de Provence squash, kale, shallots, garlic confit, black truffles, black truffle butter – rich and hearty – a perfect winter dish

What a marvelous meal with superb service. If you just eat pizza at Milo and Olive you are missing out on having a tremendous meal.