It was a big weekend of eating out. I took no photos. Both dining establishments were kind of dim and tapas-style, so I didn’t feel like being THAT person. So for my own personal recollection and for none of your enjoyment, I will simply list the dishes ordered and if you’re really that interested, you can go Google them yourself.
Friday night – The Gorbals
Top Chef Season 2 winner Ilan Hall’s restaurant in downtown L.A.! I’m not really a follower of celebrity chefs, but it was kind of nice to actually see him doing stuff in his own restaurant. The Yelp reviews aren’t that great, but every dish we ordered was fantastic. (Come to think of it, a lot of the Yelp reviews complained about the burger. But who goes to a Scottish-Jewish cuisine restaurant to order a burger?)
Bacon wrapped matzoh balls – small, a little boring, everything tastes better with bacon
Pork belly with smoked applesauce and fried egg – amazing
Beef tongue confit with stuff – standard yum
Cross cut steak with onions – steak was normal, onions were excellent
Grilled squid with lemon, garlic, parsley – juicy, tender, tasty
Whole chicken leg – I usually don’t like ordering chicken in a restaurant, but this chicken was juicy all the way through and perfectly crispy on the outside. I even gnawed on the chicken foot a little, something I’ve never done even in 20+ years of frequenting dim sum restaurants.
Baby back ribs – falling off the bone, suck your fingers delicious
Sticky toffee pudding, ice cream, maldon salt – the most incredible dessert I’ve ever had, and you all know how I feel about dessert
Saturday morning – Breakfast at Rae’s
Saturday night – Late dinner at La Cachette
French tapas! After catching a movie in Santa Monica, I figured we were close enough to hop over to La Cachette. Turns out they’re doing a 30% off food after 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday evenings. Unfortunately, since I already had a $50 certificate, it did not apply this time. Oh well. We kind of went all out…
Hearts of palm with mustard truffle oil dressing – I’d never had hearts of palm before, didn’t even know what they were. The chunks of white truffle sprinkled all over really did it for this dish and today, I went to Trader Joe’s and picked up a jar of hearts of palm. I don’t have white truffles lying around, so I whisked together white truffle oil and mustard and poured over the hearts of palm. Great appetizer.
Beef tartare – I’ve had the beef tartare every time I’ve gone to La Cachette. It’s one of my faves and only $9 for the appetizer portion. It’s a small portion, but with all the other tapas, it suffices.
Braised pork cheeks with lime and onion – Amazing. Tasted like short ribs. Is this what sous vide cooking does to meat?
Veal sweetbreads – This is the only place I’ve ever had sweetbreads and I loved them. Where else can I find them??
Lobster bisque – Not that creamy, probably least favorite dish of the bunch.
Black mussels entree with skinny cut fries – I love mussels. These weren’t as tasty as the ones at Nook, but they were fat and sassy.
Foie gras terrine with raspberry gelee – Soooo smooth. One of the best foie gras preparations I’ve ever had. I’ve previously had their seared foie gras on apple corn polenta brulee, but it was a tiny piece of foie compared to this and I’m pretty sure I don’t like sweet pairings with foie gras.
Sunday morning – Welsh rarebit a la Alton Brown
One day I was craving an after school snack and all I had in the fridge was some havarti dill that was going to go bad and old sliced sourdough bread. So I did what any self-respecting graduate student would do, and I slathered some mustard on that toast and broiled the cheese on top. This put me in the mood for Welsh rarebit (um, who doesn’t like cheese and beer sauce), so I found this recipe for which I had every ingredient except the beer. Earlier this week, I got some Guinness and broke it out this morning for my rarebit.
It probably would’ve been better with actual, freshly shredded cheddar, but I only have a bag of pre shredded Mexican style mix. Pre-shredded cheese usually has weird preservatives to keep it from clumping, so it doesn’t melt as nicely as whole blocks of cheese. It was still good and I used the end pieces of the loaf to swab the sides of the cheese pot.
Sunday night – Mache salad with heirloom grape tomatoes, hearts of palm in mustard truffle oil, champagne pear vinaigrette; lemon pepper pappardelle with Marcella Hazan’s tomato sauce
Hmm. Everything courtesy of Trader Joe’s! The tomato sauce recipe seemed a little bland, so I added fresh basil, a bit of garlic powder and red pepper flakes, and thyme. It all came together in the end, especially with a generous sprinkling of pecorino. Could use some sausage or ground meat, though. But I guess that would defeat the purpose of its being a vegetarian dish.
Upcoming: dessert! Triple creme brie, blueberries, cured Italian meats, and port. Poor grad student, my ass. Thanks, Trader Joe’s!