DineLA Restaurant Week Dinner at Farsi Cafe in Westwood

DineLA Restaurant Week Dinner at Farsi Cafe in Westwood

Farsi Cafe sits in the location where the original and famous Shamshiri Restaurant (not to be confused with Shamshiri Grille up the street) operated for years before the original owner closed the restaurant in the mid-1990’s.

Farsi Cafe is participating in DineLA Restaurant Week, which runs from July 13th through July 27th.  They are offering a $15 2-course lunch or a $29 3-course dinner (actually, more like 4 courses as you get to choose 2 items from the appetizer section), and it is a lot of food.  Persian restaurants are known for serving large platters of food:  kabobs or stewed proteins served with a huge amount of basmati rice, and here it was no different.  By the time you finish you appetizers, some lavash bread and the plate of raw white onions, mint, basil and tarragon leaves (used with butter to wrap in the lavash for a pre-meal nibble), you’re almost full.

The food was excellent, and the service was solid.  The Tahdig & Stews were nice and hearty.  The lamb shank was huge and could easily feed 2 or 3 people.  Tachin (crusted rice mixed with yogurt, eggs and saffron with layer of boiled chicken at the middle served with sautéed barberries on the top) is also offered on their DineLA menu, but only until 7pm, that is if they don’t run out of it earlier in the evening,  as was the case during our visit.

The Persian Ice Cream dessert was probably the most interesting of the 3 options, as the ice cream is made with the combination of saffron, rose water and pistachios, sandwiched in between 2 waffle wafer layers.  Unfortunately, the combination of flavors were more muddled than distinct, and the waffle wafer layers were just soggy from being a pre-packaged item.

DineLA Restaurant Week Menu, July 2018
DineLA Restaurant Week Menu, July 2018
Naz Khaton
Naz Khaton – Yogurt blended with grilled eggplant, walnuts and herbs
Olovieh Salad
Olovieh Salad – Chicken and potato salad mixed with egg whites, peas and pickles
Tahdig and Stew
Tahdig & Stew – Default choice was Gheymeh, chunks of beef shoulder cooked in tomato paste with split yellow peas and crispy potato strips.
Tahdig & Stew
Tahdig & Stew are served separately. Here, I poured my Gheymeh all over the crispy basmati rice.
Mirza Ghazemi
Mirza Ghazemi – Grilled Eggplants mixed with tomatoes, scrambled eggs, and sauteed garlic
Soup & Salad
Soup & Salad – Split Yellow Pea
Soup & Salad
Soup & Salad – Side salad.
Chicken Breast Kabob
Chicken Breast Kabob with saffron basmati rice, grilled tomato and grilled serrano chile
Grilled Salmon
Grilled Salmon with Baghala Polo, lima bean and dill infused basmati rice
Lamb Shank
Lamb Shank, served with a side of Baghala Polo
Lamb Shank
Seasoned, Boiled Lamb Shank
Baghala Polo
Koobideh
Ground Beef Kabob (Koobideh)

Tahdig & Stew – Stew choice here was the Ghormeh Sabzi, made with parsley, spinach, fenugreek and chives (vegetarian version) Black Chocolate – Three Layer Chocolate Cake Persian Ice Cream – Saffron, rose water and pistachios Persian Ice Cream (Sandwich)

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Beijing  Duck Lunch at Duck House 鹿鼎記 in Monterey Park, CA

Beijing Duck Lunch at Duck House 鹿鼎記 in Monterey Park, CA

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For me, there are only a handful of places in the Greater Los Angeles Area that serves up really good Beijing Duck (aka Peking Duck), and Duck House is one of them.  They have been a staple here for over 15 years, and the quality of their food hasn’t diminished since.  In fact, they’re reaching out to foodies from around the city by participating in their very first DineLA Restaurant Week, which runs from July 13th through July 27th.  In addition, you can now make reservations through Open Table.

After checking out their $25 lunch and $49 dinner menus for DineLA, I thought one can get a better deal buy ordering off their regular menu.  So, for a party of 16 (8 per table), I ordered for each table the $268 set menu for 6 people, an extra half Beijing Duck, and 2 vegetable dishes for each table.  The total for lunch unfortunately came out to be about $20 more per person, tax and gratuity included.

However, for the majority, the food was delicious, and everyone was able to get ample amount of duck.  Shiny, crispy skinned duck, where some pieces had a nice layer of rendered fat on them, giving you more flavor with every bite.  Duck meat is sliced nicely and evenly, making them easy to roll up into a wrap with the raw scallions, cucumbers and a drizzle of hoisin sauce.  Each bite into the wrap was a mouthful of savory, ducky goodness.

The other dishes were solid, and the Baked Truffled Lobster was meaty and juicy, doused in a tasty garlicky and peppery sauce that just screams for a steamed white rice so you can use it to soak up those juices and savor the flavor.

Lunch ended with a plate of Passionfruit Konnyaku Jello, made in molds in the shape of Hello Kitty’s face.  Konnyaku is made from the Amorphophallus konjac and is sometimes referred to as yam, yam cake or yam flour.  It has a firmer texture than agar agar or regular gelatin.  It’s not very flavorful, so you can easily taste the passionfruit flavor.

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Calamari with a spicy and garlicky dipping sauce
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Smoked Flavored Pork
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Beijing Duck with all the fixings
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1 1/2 Orders of Beijing Duck
Shredded Scallions and Cucumbers and Hoisin Sauce
Shredded Scallions and Cucumbers and Hoisin Sauce that accompany the duck
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The Perfect Bite
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Duck Soup with Napa Cabbage and Tofu
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Filet Mignon Cubes with Black Pepper
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Baby Bok Choy with Dried Scallops and Crab Meat
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BBQ Eel with Glutenous Rice
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Sauteed A Choy
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Sizzling Tofu with Basil in Pot
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Baked Truffled Lobster in Black Pepper Sauce
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Passionfruit Konnyaku Jelly

 

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They were made in a Hello Kitty mode!
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.

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

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

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