Chef Laurent Quenioux’s LQ Fooding “Fall Series @ MaMaison 2018” in Topanga, CA

Chef Laurent Quenioux’s LQ Fooding “Fall Series @ MaMaison 2018” in Topanga, CA

The owners of this lovely property in the mountains just north of the Topanga Village opened their amazing property to Chef Quenioux and his LQ Foodings team to host a multi-course dinner this weekend.  It was a beautiful night, with lovely views, and the weather was perfect for an outdoor dinner.

And what a dinner it was, considered a bargain by many of the diners, as you get 7 courses plus a glass of apertif: Dijon Cassis Kir, for only $80 plus tax, gratuity and a processing fee for purchasing your tickets online.

Cold/room temperature appetizers were the perfect dishes to serve on this night to start the dinner with, leading up to three delicious main course including the seafood course, garnished with a delicious bouillabase broth, to beef short ribs served with cordyceps mushrooms.

It was a wonderful progression of dishes, and this is certainly one of the better pop-up dinners around these days in the LA area.  It’s the type of dining I enjoy:  gradual progression of dishes, relaxed atmosphere, not excessively loud, and no loud music blaring away.  Instead, contemporary jazz was played in the background, at a volume that did not make it difficult for one to carry a conversation with dinner mates nearby.

Website:  http://bistrolq.com/lq-foodings

Click on the thumbnails to enlarge the pictures.

Advertisements
9th Annual L.A. Loves Alex’s Lemonade at UCLA

9th Annual L.A. Loves Alex’s Lemonade at UCLA

This is perhaps the best food festival one can attend in Los Angeles, and all proceeds raised will be go to Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation for Childhood Cancer.  This is one of the few local food festivals that have chefs from other parts of the country participate, such as Jonathan Waxman, Marc Vetri, and Donald Link, just to name a few.  They, along with top chefs in the LA area, graciously donate all of their time, effort and food for a wonderful cause.

Added the amazing prizes that were being auctioned off during the Live Auction (a week’s trip to Rome and Tuscany for 4 with dinner at Nancy Silverton’s Tuscany home, plus wine tasting throughout the region fetched a whopping $100,000 from one bidder; and dinner for 8 at Jimmy Kimmel’s home with chefs Josiah Citrin, Michael Cimarusti and others, also fetched $100,000 from each of the 3 winning bidders).

Tickets to this event cost $195 for general admission, but it was 4 hours of culinary and liquor bliss as the food spread offered by the chefs were delicious.  However, another way to be able to attend the event and be able to sample of the offers was to volunteer for the event.  The middle of September is usually the start of the hottest time of the year for Los Angeles, and yesterday, it was no different.  While it wasn’t extremely hot, walking around for hours in the sun and heat drained me out completely.  In the end, I only had enough time and energy to hit a few of the stands.

My two favorites out of the bunch were Stephanie Mutz’s Sea Urchins and Sea Urchin Shooters, Kevin Meehan’s Beef Tartare with Charcoal Chip & Yolk Aioli, and Jeremy Fox & Andy Doubrava’s Bone Marrow Fried Farro Verde.  Both made my palate sing.

Perhaps next year, I’ll attend the event as a regular ticketholder and hope to be able to maximize the experience of this event, an event which, I’m quite sure, easily raised over a million dollars to fight pediatric cancer.

Brunch at Kali Restaurant in Hollywood, CA

Brunch at Kali Restaurant in Hollywood, CA

Chef Kevin Meehan started Sunday brunch service at Kali at the earlier this year; and aside from some of the more popular brunch staples, Kali offers some of their lunch time entrees, including their very popular and delicious Black Barley Risotto.  Here, the food is well presented, and the offerings are perfect for these warm, sunny summer days.

In addition, you can finish off your brunch with a dessert course.  Their signature dessert of Meringue Gelato with Candied Yolk Shaving is a nice light way to finish brunch.  Their Meyer Lemon & Olive Oil Flan offered a rollercoaster of flavors in your mouth.  You start off tasting the sweetness from the flan, then the saltiness from the cheese crisp on top, and lastly, the citric tartness from Meyer lemon finishes off the bite.  Quite a combination.

Brunch Menu:  https://www.kalirestaurant.com/brunch/

My Last Call at Michael Voltaggio’s ink

My Last Call at Michael Voltaggio’s ink

 

There was so much anticipation back in 2011 when it was announced that the new winner of Bravo TV’s “Top Chef,” Michael Voltaggio was opening his first restaurant on Melrose Avenue.  When it finally opened in September 2011, I dined there at least 3 times in the month of October, with 3 different groups of friends, and we all admired and enjoyed his style of cuisine, utilizing molecular gastronomy and new techniques (he was a fan of utilizing ash in his dishes).

Since then ink had switched over from serving shareable plates to a multi-course tasting menu.  After a couple of years of each format, ink went back to an a la carte format with a focus on being a steakhouse, offering dry aged Flannery California Reserve Holstein steaks.  However, in the last few years, I was distracted by the likes of n/naka and Maude.

Now that I’ve cut back at dining at such higher end places, I was able to consider dining at ink to find out how the food and the offerings have changed over the years, but with the announcement of Voltaggio closing ink after Sunday’s dinner service (July 31st), and opening ink.well soon thereafter on La Cienega in West Hollywood, I decided to make an impromptu stop for dinner last night and took advantage of the DineLA 4-course Caviar Tasting Menu for $95.00.

However, after seeing the Foie Gras Shavings on the regular menu, and being such a lover of foie gras, I added it as a starter before the 4-course tasting, and I was glad I did.  The foie was creamy and unctuous.

The Caviar Tasting Menu  was lovely, especially the first 2 courses: Smoked Mozzarella and Egg Yolk Gnocchi.  The ball of mozarella was wrapped with a layer of leek gel on the outside, creating a bit of whimsy as one had to break through the layer of get to tender and smokey mozzarella.  The gnocchi  looked like little cylinders of pasta encapsulating creamy egg yolk inside.  Then end result reminded me of a play on mac n’ cheese, with add saltiness from the trout roe.  Both of these dishes were delicious and surprisingly filling.

While I enjoyed dry aged Holstein filet, I didn’t think there was enough “cheesy caviar” to add to the dish.  While the filet was tender and well seasoned, the zucchini strips were a stand out as well.  A side of seaweed mashed potatoes was served with the filet.

Out of curiosity, I added a side of the Carolina Gold Rice as well.  Whoops, too much carbs!  Since I never had it before, it was a treat tasting Voltaggio’s version of it, with the creaminess of the cheese contrasting the airiness and crunchiness of the crispy rice, it was definitely a few bites of fun in my mouth.

Dinner ended with the Caramelized White Chocolate course, which was a nice scoop of rich, sweet, butteriness that was offset by the saltiness of the caviar.  Incorporating the aerated blinis and frozen pieces of creme fraiche into one bite with the white chocolate, my mind kept telling me I’m having a deconstructed cupcake.  That’s what my mind was telling me.  It was a wonderful tasting experience, and I guess a good way to reacclimate myself with Voltaggio’s style of cooking before ink closes, and he moves on to ink well.

20170727_202132

20170727_190737
FOIE GRAS SHAVINGS, hazelnut butter, radishes, smoked sea salt, pumpernickel

20170727_185800

20170727_191621
SMOKED MOZZARELLA, vichyssoise, leek-lime, Shasestra caviar, purple potato chips
20170727_191658
SMOKED MOZZARELLA
20170727_192229
Close up of the Smoked Mozzarella wrapped by a leek-lime gel and topped with Shasestra caviar.
20170727_193758
EGG YOLK GNOCCHI, trout roe, pickled onion rings, lox toppings, micro croutons
20170727_193829
Close up of the Egg Yolk Gnocchi
20170727_195357
AGED HOLSTEIN (FILET) STEAK, cheesy caviar, zucchini
20170727_195713
Close up look of the Dry Aged Holstein Filet
20170727_195341
SEAWEED MASHED POTATOES that came as a side with the filet.
20170727_195347
CAROLINA GOLD RICE, local milk and freeze-dried Fiscalini cheddar cheese
20170727_200706
CARAMELIZED WHITE CHOCOLATE, classic Shesastra caviar, aerated blini, creme fraiche

20170727_190418

20170727_190353

20170727_191246

DineLA Restaurant Week Dinner at Patina in DTLA

DineLA Restaurant Week Dinner at Patina in DTLA

In April of this year, Andreas Roller took over the reigns as executive chef, and with a $49 3-course dinner offered by Patina during DineLA Restaurant Week, it was a perfect venue to be able to sample Chef Roller’s cooking.

Service here was impeccable, and our server was sweet and vivacious.  She took the time to go discuss about the different types of tasting menus and beverage menus they have.

We ordered the DineLA menu (pictured below), and I added the shaved summer truffles ($20 supplement) to my Brentwood Corn Agnolotti.  Tasty, though the bold sweet flavor of the corn seemed to have masked some of the delicate flavors of the summer black truffles.

The dishes were delicious, with the Squid Ink Pasta being the stand out.  The texture of the pasta was on the softer, yet firm side.  It was well tossed in a delicate sauce made with uni and bottarga.  Very unctuous.

I was so satisfied with my experience, that I am looking forward to coming back for either 6-course tasting or the Chef’s Tasting.

20170714_185714
Enter a caption
20170714_190555
The DineLA Restaurant Week’s 3-Course Dinner is only $49.00 at Patina.
20170714_192728
Amuse:  Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho with Lobster
20170714_192753
Close up of the Amuse
20170714_193311
Bread Service.  Sadly, it’s 7:00pm on Friday, and they’re out of Olive Bread.
20170714_193718a
Heirloom Tomato Salad
20170714_193727
Preparing to shave some Summer Truffles over the Brentwood Corn Agnolotti

20170714_193806

20170714_193920
Brentwood Corn Agnolotti with added Shaved Summer Truffles ($20 supplement)
20170714_200147
Kurobata Pork Belly
20170714_200157
Sea Bass
20170714_200203
Close up of Sea Bass
20170714_200221
Squid Ink Pasta… so delicate, yet so flavorful.
20170714_200235
Close up of the Squid Ink Pasta
20170714_203151a
Buttermilk Verbana Panna Cotta
20170714_203234
Coconut  dessert that’s made with coconut milk, tapioca pearls, mango, yuzu, maracuya, sesame crisps
20170714_203217
Close up of the Coconut dessert that’s made with coconut milk, tapioca pearls, mango, yuzu, maracuya, sesame crisps

20170714_204330

 

Celebrating My 50th at 3 Michelin Starred “Quince”

Celebrating My 50th at 3 Michelin Starred “Quince”

I discovered Quince a few years back when I was doing research, planning for a wine trip with a few friends.  Quince never made it to the final itinerary, so I bookmarked them for a future trip.

Cut to October 2016, when the new Michelin ratings were published.  Quince gained their third Michelin star.  Quite a huge accomplishment, which placed them in a list with other SF Bay Area 3 Michelin starred restaurants which include The French Laundry, Restaurant at The Meadowood, Manresa, Benu, and Saison.

After reading about this, I knew I just had to pay a visit to them.  And with my 50th birthday coming up in February, I thought this would be the perfect time to experience the pleasures of top notch fine dining.  I originally had planned to dine here on my birthday day, but with untimely illness and predicted stormy weather, I had to postpone my trip to the first weekend of March.

The dinner at Quince was simply the best dining experience I ever had, even outperforming my LA favorite, n/naka.  The staff was impeccably dressed.  The service was top notch and highly attentive.   The food was gorgeously plated, and it was bite after bite of deliciousness.

Being a milestone birthday, I was treated by Chef Michael Tusk to additional courses that were masterfully prepared, as well as a pour of the 1967 vintage of Travaglini Gattinara.

Chef Tusk and his staff have made this evening a truly unforgettable one.  Dinner here at Quince was near 4 hours long, but they more than exceeded my expectations.  Time to save up and hope to dine with them again…