Modern Mexican Cuisine by Chef Diego Hernandez at Verlaine

Modern Mexican Cuisine by Chef Diego Hernandez at Verlaine

Dinner with friends back on Wednesday, April 12, 2017.  Modern Mexican cuisine is finally making a footprint in the LA dining scene.  Chef Diego Hernandez has a critically acclaimed restaurant south of the border in Ensenada, Baja California, before opening up a restaurant in San Diego.  Now, he brings his culinary expertise to LA, and what we got to share was an array of refined, beautifully plated dishes.

The Sorrel Tamal was one of my favorites as the preparation and presentation was nothing one would expect when you order tamal or a tamale.  Our dinner was highlighted by a wonderful Suckling Pig.  Pass me some more of those housemade tortillas!

Dinner ended with a nice Beet Biscocho, soft, smooth, creamy and not too sweet.

VERLAINE, 8715 West Beverly Boulevard, West Hollywood, California 90048, Telephone: (424) 288-4671

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Sorrel Tamal – Corn masa, sorrel juice and cheese, mole amarillito, swiss chard, onion ashes
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Grilled Half Dozen Oysters – Fresh sage, warm butter, lemon
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Beef Tartare – Ginger, chive, kalamata olive, arugula, egg yolk sauce
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Whole Baby Beetroot – Smoked and roasted garlic puree, hibiscus powder, dried cheese
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Ceviche of the Day – Tostada, avocado, mayo
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Whole Baby Carrots – Carrot orange ginger puree, carrot top salad
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Fish of the Day – Ash crust, spinach chilpete, swiss chard stem, guisado, russian kale, preserved lemon
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Suckling Pig – Sweet potato, salsa madre, smoked squash
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Suckling Pig – Sweet potato, salsa madre, smoked squash
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Sauce and accoutrements for Suckling Pig
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Beet Biscocho – Orange creme, beet apple gel, cacao sorbet
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With Chef Diego Hernandez

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Bites at Superbite in Portland (PDX)

Bites at Superbite in Portland (PDX)

This was where I had my first meal in Portland, when I arrived on May 4, 2017, for a week long getaway visiting the Pacific Northwest.  I chose Superbite after reading some good press on them, not realizing that chefs and owners, Greg Denton and Gabrielle Quiñónez Denton, were nominated for a James Beard award and finally won (after having lost in 2015 and 2016) the award for best Pacific Northwest Chef.

After studying the menu, I was intrigued to sample just about each of their “superbites,” especially the much lauded Spaghettios, a 3-bite dish with truffles for $7.00.  While each of the dishes I tried were wonderfully plated and tasty, none of the superbites truly “wowed” me.

My dining companion echoed the same sentiment.  We were particularly disappointed with the Spaghettios as we did not taste any essence of black truffles.  I know, it’s only $7.00, but at least it would be nice to see a few crumbs of truffes in the dish.

My favorite superbite was the Dungeness Crab and the Grilled Shitake.  The Grilled Shitake sat on top of a Miso-Porcini Marshmallow which had a fun texture, quite similar to a marshmallow but firmer.  Whimsical comes to mind.

We did love the one big plate that was ordered, the Grilled Bavette Steak.  That was delicious.

In the end, I just chalked this dining experience up as one that went over my head.

SUPERBITE, 527 SW 12th Avenue, Portland, Oregon 97205, Telephone: (503) 222-0979

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Griled Shitake, Miso-Porcini Marshmallow, Sauternes Glaze
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Duck Croquette a L’Orange, Crispy Duck Rillettes, Tangerine Aioli
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Dungeness Crab, Celery Root Tortilla, Sesame Mayo, Orange, Tobiko
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Dungeness Crab, Celery Root Tortilla, Sesame Mayo, Orange, Tobiko
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Salmon Crudo, Hibiscus Ponzu, Pickled Jalapeño, Shiso
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Salmon Crudo, Hibiscus Ponzu, Pickled Jalapeño, Shiso
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Salmon Tartare, Caperberry, Sour Cream, Chive, Potato Chip, Horseradish
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Salmon Tartare, Caperberry, Sour Cream, Chive, Potato Chip, Horseradish
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Beef Tongue “Spam” Musubi, Cucumber, Chinese Hot Mustard
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Sphaghettios, Fresh Truffle, Irish Butter, Parmigiano
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Sphaghettios, Fresh Truffle, Irish Butter, Parmigiano
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Whoops, can’t recall what this dish is.
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Grilled Bavette Steak, Potato-Bacon-Onion Skewer, Sauteed Mustard Greens, Balsamic Soy Cream
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Grilled Bavette Steak, Potato-Bacon-Onion Skewer, Sauteed Mustard Greens, Balsamic Soy Cream

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Fourme D’Ambert Blue Bite, Chocolate, Dates, Roasted Cashew / Crémeux de Bourgogne Bite, Candied Apple, Truffled Pistachio
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Fourme D’Ambert Blue Bite, Chocolate, Dates, Roasted Cashew
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Crémeux de Bourgogne Bite, Candied Apple, Truffled Pistachio

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