Friday, November 30, 2012

Foie Gras Fantasy Comes True at Mistral Kitchen (Seattle, WA)

It was our last night in Seattle, and it dawned on me that I had not had foie gras while eating my way in another state! I suddenly started craving it and convinced everyone else to go eat foie with me. Our Seattleite friend suggested Mistral Kitchen. Seeing they had seared foie gras on the menu and the fact that it was nearby we decided on it.

We originally just wanted to come here for some foie and drinks and ordered some Seared Foie Gras to share ($19)

Seared Foie Gras

We haven't had it in so long and the seared foie was so good! We also had to get the Foie Gras Torchon, black mission fig balsamic compote ($15)

We were pretty hungry by this point and since both the foie gras dishes were really good, we decided to eat dinner here after all. At this point I was going to order the lamb loin. We were sitting at the bar and I joked to the bartender that it would be awesome if they could put the seared foie on the lamb. Our bartender said that sure we can! They make dreams come true here!
Woah. So we customized our own dish.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

13 Oysters, 9 Ways at Shuckers Oyster Bar, Fairmont Olympic in Seattle

Baked oysters
When I was in Seattle for the first time this year, I encountered so many oyster varieties that I have never even heard of! Oyster bars high and low end can be found all over town for you to discover these varieties. Venture out of your usual Kumamoto and Kusshi and try Olympia, Eld Inlet, and many others.

Shuckers Oyster Bar at The Fairmont Olympic hotel serves a rotating selection of 13 oysters, all of which can be prepared 9 different ways (they're all $3.25 each, $17 for a half dozen, or $29 for a full dozen). We tried some just fresh, of course, like the Malaspina from British Columbia, but you can also have any oyster a la Rockefeller, house-smoked, a la Olympic (baked with dungeness crab and bacon on top), or with Parmesan, etc.


Seattle, WA - Restaurant Reviews

Mistral Kitchen
Paseo Caribbean
Shuckers Oyster Bar
Sitka & Spruce
Willows Inn

Sunday, November 25, 2012

New Fall Menu at Public Kitchen & Bar (Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel)

Before Vartan Abgaryan exited Public Kitchen and Bar at The Roosevelt, he and Executive Chef Tim Goodell left them with a solid Fall menu.

I was there to try their Halloween eye ball cake pops but was treated to quite a feast instead, starting with a jar of very creamy burrata with bagnet vert and cherry tomatoes ($13)


We couldn't stop snacking on the Chicharrones with chili and lime ($8)

The various vegetable dishes are great for this season. It's the season for squash, so try their Kabocha squash, sheep's milk ricotta, pumpkin seeds, rapini leaves, pumpkin spice vinaigrette ($11)

The pumpkin spice vinaigrette was so good, this dish was almost like eating a savory pumpkin pie.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Artisan House (Downtown LA): New Executive Chef, New Menu

Artisan House took over a large corner on Main St, with its market on one side and the restaurant and bar on the other. While I've walked through the market, I haven't heard much about the restaurant until I came in to try it myself.


Chef Maureen d'Ath (formerly of Cecconi's) recently took over the kitchen in this Mediterranean-slanted restaurant, with dishes like Roasted cauliflowers in turmeric, harissa, and pinenuts ($9)
More staple Mediterreanean appetizer: Couscous with raisins, currants, almonds, harissa ($10)
Yes, there are quite a few items with harissa, as expected of a Mediterranean restaurant, but I'm not complaining.

My favorite dish was the Chutney-stuffed, Prosciutto-wrapped quail, parsnip purée, endive, cranberry and walnut chutney ($18)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Korean Royal Cuisine at YongSuSan (Koreatown, Los Angeles)

I've always wanted to try Korean "royal cuisine" ever since I stayed up all night for weeks watching Dae Jang Geum, so YongSuSan has long been on my radar, but I never actually went until very recently. 

Their prices have increased from what they listed on the website, but since this was a long anticipated visit, I went with the most expensive tasting menu, the Royal Court Table D'Hote for $49.99 ("table d'hote" means a prix fixe set menu, a phrase that is rarely used in the US)
YongSuSan is one of the fanciest Korean restaurants we have in town, as you can see from the entrance.
There's no grand dining room inside though, as they have several private rooms and a small dining area for those not requiring a private room. The dining room is not particularly "fancy" compared to restaurants in West Hollywood, but I like its quietness and the service.
The Royal Court menu changes seasonally. For mine, it starts with a "soft creamy porridge".

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Holiday Pies from Cutie Pie That!

Holiday season is pie season! Well, any season is pie season, but you certainly can't think of Thanksgiving without pumpkin pies. I'm no baker, so I just buy my pies. Like from Cutie Pie That! They recently invited their loyal customers and friends for a holiday pie tasting (I thought it was nice that they invited not just the press but the most important people, their customers).

Cutie Pie That's buttery crusted pies are the creations of Tonya Dooley. Among their current seasonal lineup is an eggy quiche. They have one with bacon and a vegetarian one, but I'm sure you can guess which one I prefer.
Of course they also have pumpkin pie, and I really like Tonya's version since it has more spice than the usual.
A do-not-miss is their Down Home Sweet Potato Pie! This quickly became the crowd favorite during our tasting. It's rich, creamy, and well spiced. It was hard to choose between this and the pumpkin pie, but the sweet potato pie gets bonus points for being harder to find.

Both her pecan and chocolate pecan pies are also made bourbon and .. walnuts! Walnuts are easier to chew and I tend to like the flavor better, so I loved their additions here. Perhaps one day she should make an all-walnut pie?
Cutie Pie That! currently does not have a storefront, but you can order their products online (the commercial kitchen is based in Pasadena), and they also appear at various craft fairs and farmer's markets (you can see the schedule for that here).

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Pitfire Pizza's 15th Anniversary Special and New Fall Menu

Did you know that Pitfire Pizza has been around for 15 years, serving artisanal pizza?? I didn't know about them until they opened up the downtown location next to The Edison so I was surprised that they've been around for so long, but their original location in North Hollywood has been around for that long. Now they have locations in downtown, Westwood, West Hollywood, Culver City, and soon they'll be opening a Costa Mesa location.

Anyway, to celebrate this major milestone, Pitfire will be serving a special 15th Anniversary Tuscan Pizza (roasted potatoes, rosemary, gorgonzola, grilled chicken). Not only that, for the month of November, this pizza will be selling for the price it was back in 2006, which is $7.95! 

It's the perfect time to visit Pitfire Pizza, because at the same time they have just launched the Fall menu. Roasted Pear Salad

Farmer's Market Platter ($9.95) features heartier items like butternut squash and a bowl of  Cranberry beans and christmas beans. The brussel sprout and kale remain from previous seasons, and there is also a nice mixture of farro, crimini mushrooms, and hazelnut.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Thanksgiving Dinner With a Vietnamese Touch, To-Go from Tiato Cafe

Tiato Cafe is a market and cafe in the afternoons that turn into a private event venue in the evenings, with the catering branch of House of An (Crustacean, AnQi, etc) running from the kitchen in the back. I've never been here before but the venue looked beautiful at night- they have the largest patio in Santa Monica.

Tiato Cafe
Naturally the catering service will have turkey and all the other goods available for to-go orders for the upcoming Thanksgiving (you can order using this form)! To promote it, I was invited to try them at Tiato. You can order the herb-crusted turkey and select which sides you want, but I got to try almost all of them and more in Tiato's lovely private dining room.

The main attraction is of course the organic free range herb crusted turkey with garlic gravy

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Umami Burger, Now Open in Pasadena

Umami Burger has taken over the old Naga Naga Ramen space in Old Town Pasadena and line is already forming out the door for this walk-in only spot. After all, there aren't too many burger joints in Pasadena and Umami is inarguably an upgrade from nearby The Counter.

This location had a very different look than other Umami Burgers I have been to with its all-white interior and decoration and bright lights.
They have all the usual Umami burgers like the truffle burger ($12, pictured above), Port & Stilton, the Hatch burger with green chile, and a vegetarian burger. As an homage to the cooking school a stone's throw away, they have a special burger for this location only named Le Cordon Bleu Burger (created with the help of some people at the school -$13)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

MESSHALL (Los Feliz)

Mess Hall sits in an unlikely spot next to bank buildings on Hillhurst and Los Feliz near Griffith Park, with a gorgeous large outdoor dining area.


There's an oyster bar with rotating selections...

..Fun appetizers like this Steak Tartar Taco in crispy parmesan shell, escabeche ($12)
Tuna Taco

Erik Lund has come up with a fun, solid cocktail menu. Can we judge a cocktail by its name? Either way I just had to try The Hallucinogenic Whimsies of Banana Man (Campo de Encanto pisco, absinthe, banana, lime, orgeat, Peychaud's - $11), the first whiff of which definitely screams "banana"
Banana Man

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Churchill Ups The Game: New Cocktails By Mia Sarazen And Menu By Chef Bruce Kalman

Big changes are taking place at The Churchill in West Hollywood. Chef Bruce Kalman (formerly of The Misfit, Urbano Pizza Bar) is taking over the kitchen, and Mia Sarazen (Harvard and Stone, Black Market) has created a whole new cocktail menu ($12 each).

It's only been a couple of months, but The Churchill Old Fashioned (Old Fitzgerald Bourbon, house bitters, sugar) has already been touted as the city's best.


The charcuterie section features plenty of housemade products including pancetta, duck prosciutto, coppa picante. The cheese selection is small but excellent. Try the Hopscotch cheddar from Fiscalini in Modesto or Glacier goat cheese from Drake Farms in Ontario.

The warm Gougeres with gruyere and garlic chives ($6) are dangerously addictive, I couldn't stop popping one in my mouth.

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