Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Cuisine in LA

LA (at one point) was known for being a city with incredible food that no one eats. Well, on this recent trip, we ate. A LOT. We had some absolutely fabulous meals, and one not-so-fabulous experience at a restaurant that had been on my bucket list forever...but I'll start at the beginning.

True to LA fashion, our first stop after we landed was In-N-Out. And I gotta say, I finally realized that I am just not an In-N-Out fan. I get why people like it...it's not greasy or whatever...but neither are Bobby Flay's burgers from Bobby's Burger Palace. Neither are Shake Shack's burgers. Neither are the ones I make at home using ground beef from Red Oak Brewery (it's the best ground beef and the best kept secret in town). Not to mention the hyper-sweet Strawberry Milkshake - just licking the straw was enough to know that I was not going to enjoy it. So yeah, no more In-N-Out for me!

Catch LA is one of the trendy restaurants I researched, and though we waited 20 minutes past our reservation to be seated, it was the best food of the trip. The star of the show was the Truffle Sashimi Tuna and Hamachi with Chile Ponzu and Caviar. Unbelievable. The pièce de résistance though, was the dessert: Sticky Coconut Cake with Coconut Sorbet and Mango Sauce, a terrific take on my second favorite dessert of all time, Sticky Rice with Mango. I'm salivating right now just thinking about it! Sadly, both of these dishes were ravished before any photos could be taken.


We grabbed a drink at the Chateau Marmont (the Bleu Velvet Martini, obviously), and learned that we can't take pictures in there! I snuck one anyway. I had to! We zoomed over to The Bazaar by José Andrés. ("Zoomed" is quite the figure of speech; everywhere in LA takes 30 minutes.) I knew this place would be excellent, because Chef Andrés is an inventive, whimsical chef with restaurants all over the country. From the chairs to the glassware, everything about this place was indeed, bizarre. Particularly the food! The first thing that caught my eye was the "Philly Cheesesteak", in quotations on the menu. The description read: Air Bread, Cheddar and Wagyu Beef. Of course we ordered one, and of course it came at the end of the meal. This was like a cracker thin eclair topped with thin beef shavings, and when you bit into it, garlicky, melted cheddar oozed out. It was sensational! We also went crazy over the lamb shank. For dessert, we were taken into a separate room with a dessert bar. Smart, because you eat with your eyes first! We loved the Vanilla Mousse Cake with Caramel and Speculoos Crunch. YUM!

I had to!

The Bazaar

Dessert bar at The Bazaar

Moonshadows in Malibu was right on the beach, and it was an absolutely spectacular day to dine al fresco. (Side note, our server looked like a combination of John Stamos / Jonathan Rhys-Myers, so we would have sat there all day). We were concerned that a place as beautiful as this wouldn't have good food, but au contraire - the food was fantastic. We particularly loved the Tuna Tartare. And the champagne. Always champagne.

Lunch at Moonshadows

I was stoked out of my mind to dine at Spago in Beverly Hills, which is Wolfgang Puck's flagship restaurant. Unfortunately...it was the biggest bust. We were seated in what felt like a hallway, between the two dining rooms, with air vents below and above us. So it felt like we were in the way, and we were cold the whole time. It wasn't until we were 3/4 through our meal that a manager handled the air problem! We did enjoy the food - Uni with Soft Scrambled Eggs, Chestnut and Mascarpone Agnolotti (it really was amazing) and Sea Bass with Black Bean Sauce - but the bad experience overwhelmed the good food. A real shame. And there were no heaters outside for the valet. And it's ranked #2 on TripAdvisor! I just don't get it.

Overall the food on our trip was outstanding, though it was second on the priority list for this trip. We were there for the Golden Globes. The good food was just an added bonus.

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