Archive for April, 2010

Favorite Haunts

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

I have a few favorite haunts right now and I believe it’s the time to share so here I go.  In Los Angeles and sorry, but only the westside,  I have a few restaurants that I love for more than just the amazing food.  They aren’t the biggest secret but I’m certain that word of mouth is the reason all are usually packed with regulars.

One is the Nook or is it Nook Neighborhood Bistro? My friends and I just simply call it the Nook.  It’s small and tucked into a corner ( hence the name) of a shopping mall on the corner of Barry and Santa Monica Blvd. in West Los Angeles.  The food is fresh and very good and I especially like their french fries.  But, what I really like about this restaurant and the others I’m about to out is that they are” neighborhood” restaurants.    The owner, Brian,  is present and lovely and a great restaurateur.  The aioli mayonnaise is the second or is that third now reason that I love the Nook.

Next not so new find that I’m ready to reveal is Akasha in Culver City.  I love her.  I’m starting with that.  The chef and owner is a famous private chef for years by the name of Akasha and she has talent in the kitchen and a warmth that makes you feel like you’ve known her a hundred years, or as my dad would often say ” I know him 40 years” Say it with a heavy New York accent and you can sound exactly like him. It’s very healthy, all fresh farmers market ingredients and dishes like Red Quinoa and Edamame with market vegetables and lemongrass tofu.  You get the idea, it’s VERY  healthy but it’s tastes nothing like healthy food usually tastes to me.  Not like cardboard is basically what I’m saying.  The cannellini bean hummus is truly out of this world.  And here is a main draw that will be the common theme here. Akasha’s husband is Alan Schulman, also an owner and he is always there welcoming guests, bringing you extra goodies (freebies) to try.  I am loving these two restaurants for the old fashioned quality they have with their owners being such good restaurateurs.

Last one I’m giving away today is Blue Plate Oysterette in Santa Monica on Ocean Ave.  Still so new to me, but I go at least once a week.  I’m saying still so new because the name of the guy who manages the place just escaped me.  It’s like Silvano or something.  I’m making that up but it will have to do.  He has that charm that I love of someone getting to know you and realizing that you are a regular.  He called me an evangelist because I’m so out there spreading the word.  Saying that to me is when he really sealed the deal.  The food is very good and if you love oysters, you definitely have to go because they have some very fresh good ones.  Again, here I do love their french fries, oy, how old am I that I keep talking about the fries in these restaurants? And fries with mayonnaise no less.  Sorry, that’s the way I like my fries.  They have a lobster sandwich on brioche but I’m digging the ahi tuna sandwich on brioche just as much.

Food, Glorious Food

Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

I’m singing that title by the way,  Food, Glorious Food.  I’m just not computer savvy enough to add the musical notes to let you know that I’m singing- so let me spell it out for you.  San Francisco, as anyone who has been there knows, is a civilized and beautiful place to visit.  And, according to my son Oliver, to live.   People often say that S.F. reminds them of a European city.

For me, San Francisco is a serious food destination.  A real foodie’s paradise is the Ferry Building and this quick trip up here is my first experience.  I kept hearing about it from everyone so I made sure that in my less then 48 hour trip I go see what all the fuss is about.  It IS about something.  Food stalls are everywhere with major finds like the best bread or the best olive oil.  There were seafood restaurants with bar seating and I was hungry and almost jumped at the first sign of fresh seafood and an interesting menu.  But I kept hunting around and found the mother lode in a restaurant called b/l which I’m pretty sure stands for Boulette’s Larder.  I will tell you what I had and I will tell you a few things on the menu that day and I will be going back so fucking fast on my next trip up north.

Seafood egg scramble with tarragon ( halibut, whitefish and scallops ).  Perfect.

Served with a variety of the freshest bread from Acme bread company and yes they have their own stall here so you can buy what you want and yes I came home with a few loafs.  Some other things on the menu.

Celery Root Soup with walnut croutons

Sumac roasted chicken breast with black chickpea and fava flour fritters (little gem hearts, tahini, artichoke puree, hummus)

Arctic char filet (little new potatoes, asparagus, lemon verjus buerre blanc)

Writing this is making me so hungry it’s painful.

Another place I ate in my very short stay is where I must go each trip to S.F. and that is Delfina in the mission district on 18’th street.  It might be Italian because it does have pizza’s but it’s more of a Chez Panisse type restaurant with fresh produce from the local farmers markets in all the recipes.

I couldn’t resist one of my favorite dishes which is burrata on black olive crostini (refer to an earlier piece I wrote called amuse bouche to find a recipe)

We also ordered and loved Jewish-Style Artichokes with lemon and mint.

Some other dishes on the menu that looked great:

Grilled Fresh Calamari with warm white bean salad

Whole Petrale Sole in Acqua Pazza (marble potatoes, salt packed caperberries and Gaeta olives)

Five Dot Ranch Brisket (parslied potatoes and horseradish crème fraiche)

A quick note.  After watching the food network last night I realized the place that I blew off needs mentioning.  It’s called Hog Island Oyster Co. and it is meant to have the very best tasting oysters ever, according to the show Best Things I ever ate.