Archives for Los Angeles category
Posted on Mar 03, 2013 under Archives, Los Angeles |
salami board at Bestia
Bestia, the newest hotspot for LA downtown dining, is appropriately named for a few reasons. It’s a beast to find, park and get a reservation. It seems everyone wants a table to try Chef Uri Menashe (formerly of Osteria Angelini) innovative take on Italian fare. I visited last on a Tuesday night to a packed house.
Located in an old industrial warehouse in the Arts District of downtown, the only clue tipping diners off of Bestia’s location is its spray painted name and valet stand on the alley below the restaurant. Inside, Bestia has an upscale urban architectural fell with exposed brick walls, concrete floors and an open kitchen. The L shaped interior space is divided into a main dining area with small booths, communal tables and a long charcuterier bar featuring a salami counter with marble tabletops.
I recommend trying to snag a seat in the middle of the restaurant so you can view the open kitchen, salami case, and have a view of all the tables. Another good spot is at the bar right in front of the salami table, where you can view chefs slicing a variety of meats for the delicious house cured meats appetizer. Here is what my friend and chef in training Travis and I sampled at Bestia.
The wine list is predominately Eastern European including lambrusco, pinot grigio and moscato from the Friuli wine region. I started off with a lovely bubbly salamino lambrusco.
Antipasti are both traditional and adventurous including a housemade selection of cured meats, grilled sardines, roasted bone marrow, chicken gizzards and beef heart tartare. We began with the marinated olives including cerignola, castelvetrano, taggiasche, gaeta and picholine.
chicken liver crostini
Next we sampled the delicious and hearty chicken liver crostini. We loved the the thick meaty chicken liver paired with aged balsamic and sea salt over a big piece of charred bread. Yum.
Our salad choice was the Bloomsdale spinach with shaved carrots, radish, baby fennel and sieved egg with a lemon oregano citronette. The citrus dressing paired well with the slightly bitter spinach and vegetables.
Bestia is known for their house cured meats, so of course we had to try the salami plate. Here we were served a selection of all the cured meats paired with pickles and a lovely tangy mustard and crunchy bread. We loved this combination. When we return to Bestia we will definitely order the meat board and the chicken liver crostini again.
Main courses include a variety of rustic handmade pizzas, pastas and a small selection of seconds including dorade, braised pork and hen. We tried the guanciale pizza with ricotta, brussels sprouts, chili oil and breadcrumbs. The crust was heavenly, light and charred. Our only complaint was that we would have liked a bit more guanciale included.
Our pasta dish was the fave of the night, Cavatelli all a Norcina. Plump ricotta dumplings, housemade pork sausage, black truffles and grana padano. Often times truffles overpower when used in a pasta dish, but here they blended perfectly to create a bowl of dumplings that we wanted to dive into. I noticed many other tables using the house bread to soak up every last drop of this sauce. It is worth a trip to Bestia simply to enjoy this dish.
coffee and doughnuts
Desserts, made by Menashe’s wife pastry chef Genevieve Gergis, are seasonal and include chestnut doughnuts with coffee gelato and whipped cream, crème fraiche panna cotta with huckleberries and a persimmon and pistachio cream tart with buttermilk gelato. We tried the light and airy spiced chestnut zeppole with whipped cream and coffee gelato. Travis loved the strong coffee taste of the gelato. We also were served the creme fraiche panna cotta, also lovely, served with winter citrus meyer lemon cookies.
If you’re looking for rustic Italian cuisine at a reasonable price, head to Bestia. Located at 2121 East 7th Place, reservations a must, 213/514-5724.
Posted on Apr 17, 2012 under Archives, Los Angeles |
Lago D'Argento, Silverlake
Located next to Barbarella Bar in Silverlake, Lago D’Argento is a new modern open mellow trattoria serving up very affordable and delicious salads, sides, and signature pizzas.
The ceilings and walls are huge chalkboards with assorted written messages while down below is a cozy atmosphere with comfy red leather booths and banquettes, hardwood floors, plenty of candles and one big communal table.
Chef Jay Mendoza
Chef Jay Mendoza, formally the pastry chef at Churchill and Ortolan, is running the kitchen and doing a great job. He invented Lago’s signature pizza dough, which is made of a secret combination of much more than flour and water. That’s why the pizzas here are just as delicious as those costing three times as much over the hill at Mozza. What makes Lago such a gem is the quality of food for the price – big tasty pizzas start at $9 and their specialty pizzas run up to $13, much less than most pizzerias and one of the best pizzas I have tasted. Here is what my friend Monica and I sampled while we dined at Lago D’Argento:
Lago Chopped Salad
We started with the Lago Chopped Salad with salami, mozzarella, garbanzo beans, cherry tomatoes and ricotta salata cheese over mixed greens with a tangy sherry vinaigrette. Very tasty.
Next came out some delicious charred carrots – a top seller at the restaurant. Farm fresh charred carrots are topped with creamy burrata, toasted almonds and fennel, mint and brown butter and honey. We loved this side dish.
Chef Mendoza sent out a tasty Bianca pizza with fontina, mozzarella, smoked gouda and parmesan cheeses and crispy sage. Enough to feed three hungry people and only $9. What a deal! The dough on all pizzas is made fresh daily and is delicious.
Diners can also choose from a variety of pizzas including pear, gorgonzola and arugula; duck sausage; truffles; and fig jam and goat cheese to name a few combinations, all $13 or under!!
We also were sent out a lovely spinach gnocchi topped with lamb ragu and ricotta cheese. Also delicious.
Ginger cucumber martini
Drinks are also a great value at $10 for huge glasses. Monica had a nice ginger cucumber martini with vodka, muddled cucumber, ginger syrup and lemon juice. We also sampled their sangria which had notes of cinnamon, also very tasty.
Monica, enjoying the bianca pizza
We ended our meal with Chef Mendoza’s signature white chocolate bread pudding.
white chocolate bread pudding
We loved this dessert – white chocolate sauce and mixed berries over a yummy savory bread pudding. It’s well worth a trip to Silverlake to taste Chef Mendoza’s signature pizzas (and special dough) and other delicious dishes. I don’t know another spot where you can get a great meal for under $20 for two people. You’ll save enough money for a walk to LaMill for an after dinner specialty espresso. Reservations recommended, 323/300-5500, Lago D’Argento is located at 2611 North Hyperion Avenue.
Posted on Mar 25, 2009 under Archives, Food and Travel News, Los Angeles |
Illy issimo new drinks
Two of the world’s great beverage brands, Coca-Cola and Illy, launched illy issimo premium ready to drink coffe products to LA area coffeehouses.
Now Angelenos can enjoy Caffe – with full-bodied character, bold and energizing, Cappuccino – intense, illy espresso blended with milk and dark cacao, and Latte Macciato – energizing smooth illy espresso with milk
I received some sample cans in the mail:
Illy issimo samples, in my kitchen
I tried these with my neighbors and we liked all of them, the favorite though was the latte macchiato.
These new beverages are available at prestigious retailers and coffeehouses in LA.
Posted on Mar 02, 2009 under Archives, Food and Travel News, Los Angeles |
Wines at Langham/Mission Wines dinner
On February 24, the Langham Huntington Hotel and Spa in Pasadena teamed with Byron Kosuge Wines, Kingston Family Winery of Chile and South Pasadena’s Mission Wines for a wine tasting dinner. The dinner was the first in a series featuring wines from renowned winemakers. We were among approximately 40 others to share in this lovely dinner showcasing the winemaker’s finest wines. The evening also included a discussion about the winemaking process and the distinctive traits of each wine.
Nicole and lots of wine glasses
I took my good friend Nicole, above with our yummy glasses of wine to pair with Chef de Cuisine Craig Strong’s delicious tasting menu.
After a brief champagne reception and appetizers, we were given crab croquettes as our first course to pair with our only white wine, Kingston Family vineyards 2006 Sauvignon Blanc Cariblanco (from Chile). Our first red wine was a 2006 Pinot Noir Alazan, also from Chile. the crab croquettes came with baby lettuce, olive oil dressing and strawberry romesco sauce.
Cannelloni Swiss Chard and Lobster
Next came a nice cannelloni of swiss chard and lobster with a tasty rhubarb herb sauce. This was our favorite of the night.
Chef de Cuisine Craig Strong
Chef Strong came out and talked a bit about the menu.
Byron Kosuge spoke about the wines he choose, from Chile and California, and interesting characteristics of each wine. He also came to each table to answer questions and talk more about his tasty wine choices.
Next came this beautiful smoked guinea hen with brown butter risotto (Nicole’s favorite), swiss chard, corn froth and cassis sherry vinegar jus. yum. This was paired with a delicious 2006 Pinot Noir (The Shop) from Carneros and a tasty 2006 Pinot Noir (Manchester Ridge) from Mendocino, both from Byron Kosuge Wines.
The heaviest course was the venison, served on bacon bread pudding with briased lingonberry red cabbage, poached quail egg and grande veneure sauce. This was paired perfectly with a 2005 Syrah (Bayo Oscuro) from Chile from Kingston Family Vineyards and a 2006 Syrah (Dry Stack Vineyards) from Bennett Valley from Byron Kosuge Wines. Mission Wines of South Pasadena provided the wines for the dinner. I highly recommend attending one of these dinners for any food or wine lover – we learned alot about wine and also got to eat Chef Strong’s great food.
Two more wine tasting dinners are coming up at the Langham – on March 10, Celia Masyczek (Food and Wine’s 2008 Winemaker of the Year), maker of Scarecrow, DR Stephens and Corra Wines will be featured and on April 29, Eric Kent from New Cult Wine will be featured. Each event begins at 6:30 with a reception and dinner is served at 7:00 pm. For reservations, call 626/585-6218.