Tuesday, January 26, 2010

NomNoms: New Place for the Week #1 - Barbix (Los Angeles)

So I've discovered a little conflict of self-interest. I'm trying to lose 5 pounds in six months, but I'm also trying to do all the things in LA that I've been wanting to do before I leave in six month. What is a girl to do??? So I've decided that I'm only allowed to eat out four times a week and I can go to one new place each week, so that is roughly 26 new places to try.

My first "New Place for the Week" was Barbix in Silverlake. My friend and I both had eaten relatively recently so we just ordered two small plates to share with our glasses of wine. We both found the wine bar to be charming and spent about three hours talking in this comfortable atmosphere. The food was quite good too. The bar was continually busy and turned over customers very quickly. 

Roasted cauliflower salad

 Sicilian Veal Meatballs
2442 Hyperion Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90027

Monday, January 25, 2010

NomNoms: The Bazaar by Jose Andres (Los Angeles)

Since DineLA Week is again upon us, I wanted to go back and post about my most memorable Dine LA experience to date: The Bazaar by Jose Andres, located at the SLS Hotel.

As you enter the dining area, you are greeted by the very very dark Bar Centro. It was difficult for me to find my friend because of the darkness. The restaurant itself is divided into a Rojo section and a Blanca section. We were seated in Blanca, which features a stylish all white motif. The restaurant's tapas menu is split up into traditional and modern tapas, so we picked a sampling from each. Jose Andres is known for his playfulness with food and if you've ever seen his PBS show "Made in Spain," you know that he has a larger-than-life personality.

I dined with two others this evening so we decided to share the small plates with each other. With the exception of the Philly Cheesesteak, which we all had to put in an order for, all the dishes were shareable.  I added an order of cotton candy foie gras because I had read so much about it and it was not included on the DineLA menu.  

Our meal consisted of the following dishes: 
Traditional tapas:

West coast oysters with lemon and black pepper

Mussels with olive oil, vinegar, pimenton

Catalan-style bread with tomato served with jamon

Jamon Serrano

Spinach with apple, raisin and pine nut

Pork sausage, white beans, and mushrooms

Hangar Steak

Garlic shrimp

Modern Tapas:

"Philly Cheesesteak" - air bread, cheddar, Wagyu beef

Cotton candy foie gras

Ottoman carrot fritters

Apple and fennel salad

Desserts: Apricot panna cotta, traditional flan, sorbets: coconut, tangerine, raspberry

Most of the dishes were extremely impressive. I loved the Philly Cheesesteak. It was remarkably airy and just a fun concept although most Philadelphians probably find it blasphemous. The apple and fennel salad was very refreshing and light. The Serrano was simply amazing and not at all salty. The cotton candy foie gras was interesting and pretty.

For dessert, our waitress asked if we would like to have it served in the Patisserie and I regret that we didn't accept this change in scenery. The Patisserie also serves afternoon tea, which I would love to try one day.

On a normal night, I would never be able to afford to eat at The Bazaar. Drinks alone were $15 a piece, but because of DineLA prices, I could go on this one time trip to have this exciting dining experience.

DineLA Week runs from January 24-29 and January 31-February 5, 2010.

SLS Hotel
465 North La Cienega Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90048

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

NomNoms: Boss Sushi (Los Angeles)

I'm slightly obsessed with sushi. It is the one thing that I could probably eat for every meal and not get tired of, but then I would be broke.We are always on the look out for good quality sushi at reasonable prices. We found Boss Sushi through a trusty website called Yelp. The restaurant was pretty empty when we arrived which was understandable since it was a Sunday night.

We ordered the $40 Boss omakase and a salad to share. It turned out to be way enough food. The omakase was a very good deal for the amount of food and different items we got.

$40 Boss omakase:

Spicy Tuna Tartar
Wasabi Soup

Assorted sashimi

Assorted sushi
Banana Dumplings

Additional order of Yellowtail sashimi salad 

Boss Sushi
270A S La Cienega Blvd
Beverly Hills, CA 90211

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

SeeDo: Greystone Mansion and Park (Los Angeles)

Greystone Mansion and Park in the City of Beverly Hills has long been on my list of places to visit in Los Angeles. I found myself with some free time one beautiful November day and took a spontaneous trip there. I always saw my visit including a small picnic on the grounds of the park, but that was not to be on this day.

Completed in 1928, Greystone used to sit on 12.58 acres of land owned by the Doheny family. Over the years, the property was subdivided and sold to various interests. In 1965, the City of Beverly Hills acquired the remaining portion of the property, including the mansion grounds, for $1.3 million. The city eventually dedicated the property as a park. Today, the park is open to the public and the grounds are a popular special events and film location. The property has been featured in such films as Ghostbusters, There Will Be Blood, Big Lebowski, and X-Men.

Greystone has always intrigued me for a number of reasons. First, it is a great example of repurposing a landmark. Second, it is a peaceful sanctuary in an urban setting. Third, it gives visitors a chance to see how the extremely wealthy live.

My favorite feature of the park is the descending staircase. The grounds feature a manicured and well-maintained garden and koi and turtle pond. Wandering the grounds and coming upon statues and fountains is a fun experience, and being one of LA’s more well-kept secrets, there are no crowds in this serene setting. The mansion itself is not open except for special events including weekly music presentations and a once a year tour of the mansion. 

 View of the grounds from the parking lot

 The mansion
Turtle pond

Greystone Mansion and Park
905 Loma Vista Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Park Hours: 10 am to 5 pm
Admission to the grounds and parking are free

Monday, January 18, 2010

Things to do before I leave LA

- Eat a bacon-wrapped hot dog from a street cart
- Watch a Derby Dolls match
- Get a naked scrub down at a Korean spa
- Watts Tower
- Self-Realization Fellowship
- Palm Springs date shake
- Eat a chili burger at Tommy's

Today's Delight: Paulette and Kyochon

It's been a rainy three-day weekend, but that didn't keep me from crossing off a couple of items from my "Things to do/eat before I leave LA" list. I realized that a majority of the items on my list are related to eating. Just goes to show how important that is to me!

Originally, I had grand plans to venture to Koreatown and get a naked scrub down, but I realized that I'm still feeling sick and I didn't think I would be gaining any fans by being the sick naked girl. Instead, I visited Paulette Macarons in Beverly Hills and picked up four little hamburgers of love.  I was quite the fan of Boule on La Cienega but they closed down last year. Macarons seem to fit in the same category as Sprinkles for me - the affordable luxury. Sprinkles cost $3.25 a piece and Paulette's macarons cost $1.60 a piece. Something that is way overpriced but you can still afford to get it (once in a while).

The flavors I picked up were earl grey (green), violet cassis (purple), rose, and lemon.  

I also made a trip to the Westfield Culver City mostly to get some Kyochon Chicken. I was surprised by how much better the mall is now. There is a Best Buy, Target, and H&M! I also picked up something for my honey for Valentine's Day at Frederick's. Bom chicka wah wah.

I've heard very mixed things about KyoChon. It's overpriced and not filling. Both are probably true, but I found the soy garlic chicken to be yummy! I got 10 pieces half spicy and half soy garlic for $9.99.

Paulette Macarons
9466 Charleville Boulevard at Beverly Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90212

6000 Sepulveda Blvd
Culver City, CA

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Things to Do in LA Before I leave

So as many of you know, I will be leaving the mild climes of Los Angeles to the arctic tundra of Washington DC in a few months time. As the unknown as of yet date approaches, I keep trying to come up with things I have to do before I leave and I need your help. For those of you in LA and those of you ex-Angelenos, what do you love to eat, do, and go? What do you miss? And what is on your list of "oh yeah, I've always wanted to do that?"