Showing posts with label duck. Show all posts
Showing posts with label duck. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Under The Radar: Buffalo Club (Santa Monica, CA)

Buffalo Club is a fine dining restaurant in Santa Monica that's been around for 19 years, and yet not that many people these days seem to know about it.

The exterior looks like a dive bar - that's because it used to be before the current proprietor bought it and reinvented it as a restaurant. Walking in, though, especially after the recent renovation, reveals an interior much different from the outside - an elegant, dimly lit, quiet, dining room. After the latest renovation, there are now two dining areas: the white tablecloth Iroquois dining room and the more casual (and cheaper) Garden Courtyard.

iroquois
The chef and part owner, Patrick Healy, has been at the restaurant since its inception, a rare feat for fine dining chefs in LA these days. Healy trained in France under Alain Ducasse and other 3-star Michelin chefs before opening his own restaurant and later joining Buffalo Club.

We let the sommelier, Brayner Ferry, pair everything for us and he welcomed us with a brut rose from La Maison du Cremant de Bourgogne.
Our dinner was off to a great start with the Dungeness crab salad, avocado wrap, asparagus, Belgian endive, spicy gazpacho ($23). Pictured here is half of the portion, the restaurant split them for us.
crab
The precious crab salad sits atop the gazpacho and covered by fresh, creamy slices of avocado. It's not quite salad, not quite soup. Either way it was a great, light way to whet your appetite. None of the flavors were too strong as to overpower the crab, instead they come together well.

Crisp duck confit, frisee, arugula, red onion, haricot vert, duck fat potatoes, Bing Cherry gastrique ($19).
duck
While I've had duck confit salads before, it's the first that the duck was this crispy. The meat was rich, but nicely by the greens and the gastrique. This was paired with a classic Chardonnay for Carneros, to cut the richness.

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)

IMG_2583

We couldn't stop snacking on the Chicharrones with chili and lime ($8)
IMG_2587


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)
squash

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

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Completely Revamped Vitello's (Studio City)

Vitello's in Studio City was an old school Italian restaurant in Studio City famous for being a mafia hangout in the 50's and the site of the Robert Blake shooting incident. If you were to ask the current staff, even they will admit that the food back then was no bueno. All that changed recently. Major renovation of the interior, an entirely new menu under a new chef (who for once is actually Italian), and a wine and cocktail program.

Vitello's

Carrot Cocktails
The cocktail menu was pretty interesting. I ordered the Bad Lil' Wabbit made with whiskey, carrot juice, agave, lemon, mint, and ginger beer ($11). I was wary at first. Carrot juice? But this drink was good! The ginger beer complements it nicely.

The chef likes to put out special items and customers can pretty much request whatever they wanted, as long as they have the ingredients. My dinner ended consisting of dishes not on the regular menu (except for the dessert). Fresh salmon tartar was served with diced apples and cucumbers.
Salmon Tartar

A big mound of smooth, creamy burrata is served with sweet and crisp heirloom tomatoes. I welcomed every chance I got to eat heirloom tomatoes before the season ended.
Burrata and Tomatoes

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Eating Through K-Town [buzz Korea]

So buzz Korea is a website launched by the Korea Tourism Organization dedicated to promote all things Korea, including through various contests (for example, you can vote for your favorite Touch Korea Tour video and win Samsung products). Now, they're also holding a contest for a blogpost or video where you show your passion for Korea and can win a trip to Seoul! That's where I come in! My passion is of course, all about Korean food! I love Korean food. I mean, I even got my mom to start a Korean restaurant in Indonesia! Even the Korean dramas I watch tend to all be about food.

Los Angeles Koreatown is a great place to get a huge diversity of Korean food, and I've tried plenty there (but of course, I still want the real thing in Seoul!)
It's not just all about Korean BBQ and bibimbaps (although we all love those).

In LA's Ktown you can find things like black goat stew at Mirak, the gaminess masked with the fragrance of perilla leaves.

Like most students, my first exposures to Korean food was the 24-hour joints like Nak Won, filling the stomachs of hungry students and drunk party-goers alike with jap chae, kimchi bokkumbap, and more.
Then there's my favorite comfort food, soon tofu. First there was the 24-hour BCD Tofu but then I learned about the beauties of both Beverly Soon Tofu and So Kong Dong.
And then with food blogging, my world expanded!
There's the gam ja tang (pork neck stew) from Ham Ji Park, one of my first introductions to Korean stews and I fell in love with it, along with their spicy squid noodles.
Ondal 2's kkot geh tang (spicy crab soup) is another unique offering in K-town ..
... although I usually prefer their spicy rib stew! These stews ($45) are enough to feed three people, and they also make kimchi fried rice with the remaining broth!
One time I even tried the poisonous blowfish at Dae Bok, where you can order it either as steamed fish with bean sprouts or as a stew (mehwoontang)
A new 24-hour favorite is Myung Dong Kyoja, where the dumplings (manduguk) are perfect after a late night of drinking. 
Call ahead for a special order of clay baked duck at Da Rae Oak. This aromatic and tender duck is stuffed with rice, various nuts, dates, etc.
This is just a sampling of what's available in Korea town, and there are so much more from Han Bat Sullungtang to intestine stew at Dwit Gol Mok. Much more to explore for all of us, and one day I'll try even more of the real thing in Korea!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Great Food in Nowhere-Land

Chef Nadav Bashan was an executive chef at Michael's for three years before moving over to work under Cimarusti at Providence. Not so long ago he finally opened his own restaurant, Bashan, in Glendale/Montrose area. Although Glendale might sound close to Pasadena, this restaurant is actually pretty out of the way ...

Bashan sits on a quiet street, with not much around it. In fact, at dinner time, as far as I could tell it was the only thing open.

From the outside it looks like a cozy, charming cottage, but as you step inside it is actually decorated in a pretty hip/modern and sophisticated style. Such a contrast (see picture).



They only had 1 waitress working and at 6.30 pm only had three tables filled with customers.

We placed our order and were served these watermelon amuse bouches.

I've heard great things about their Crispy Veal Sweetbreads so of course I had to get them for my appetizer!
Mmmazing. Crispy skin, smooth silky sweetbreads on the inside. The sundried tomato was a great complement to it all.

Also got some Scallops with beets:
The scallops were nice, big and juicy. I would've liked a little more beets though! After we had run out of beets, the scallops were getting boring to eat by themselves.

For my entree I got Maple Leaf Farm Duck Breast
Let's see. I love duck. I love figs. This dish was great. The duck was particularly tender and flavorful, you can say gamey, even. It was cooked perfectly and also paired very well with the broccolini and the figs.

My companion got the Scottish King Salmon, which was perhaps one of the best salmon dish we've had, as you can probably see why from the photo.
Nicely cooked and still raw in the middle. Tender tender, juicy piece of salmon!

They had a special dessert that night which was this peach napoleon:
It was a pretty light and small dessert, but refreshing even though subtle.

We also got theChocolate Bread Pudding, since I feel like I need to have chocolate.
Decadent would describe this well. Richer, denser, and more chocolatey than any other bread pudding I've had. Very rich and chocolatey, I don't know if I would even call this bread pudding ... more like a chocolate cake. But it was quite good and satisfied my chocolate craving for sure.

I really liked this restaurant. I wish it isn't so out of the way for me, as I would like to come back more frequently.

Bashan Restaurant
3459 N. Verdugo Road
Glendale, CA 91208
(818)541.1532
www.bashanrestaurant.com

Bashan Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Hitting Comme Ca Early - Less Noise

We've been wanting to try Comme Ca but heard it is super noisy since 1)a lot of "young people" go there and 2)the acoustics is just bad. But today we decided to go there at 5 ish, to avoid all the crowds.

Only 3 tables were filled when we arrived. On the phone they said we didn't need reservation if we come before 5.30. We were greeted with "do you have reservations?" anyway, but were eventually seated.

They were quick to take drink orders but we asked only for tap water. After this, even though the restaurant was practically empty the service decidedly is. very. slow.

Eventually they took our orders. And then brought us bread. Eventually. But on to the food. Got the roasted beet salad for appetizer:

Very flavorful (if not just a tad salty), and the goat cheese covered in pistachio was excellent. Way better than the one I got at Fraiche recently.

Then also had the Sepia Provencal for appetizer (sauteed squid):

This was also an excellent, flavorful dish. The squid was tender but still firm/not overcooked.

For the entree we ordered the braised lamb shank.

Very nice dish, and the sauce was great. The meat was tender, although I prefer it to be even more tender (I usually enjoy the meat right next to the bone best). The tomato deserves a distinctive mention.

The other entree was the duck confit.

Although it didn't look as good as the lamb this dish was actually excellent. The duck meat was tender, almost as if it fell apart as we cut it. Not at all too dry or too tough, and the skin was perfectly crispy without being burned.

As you may already know, the dessert here is from Boule Patisserie. I've been there once but was disappointed by the service, so I thought this would be a good time to try their stuff again (since the service at Comma Ca is decidedly better - albeit slo~w).
Got the boule cake

chocolate and hazelnut mousse with cherries covered with dark chocolate. Yummy, though very rich.

And also the brioche pudding:

I like this better, although too rich and too dry at the same time for me to eat without the ice cream. As soon as we're out of the ice cream I could not eat any more ... Too bad, as I did like it.

When we left (at 7 pm) the restaurant was packed and it was getting noisier , although we still saw way more of the 'older crowd'.

Comme Ca Brasserie
8479 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90069
323.782.1178
www.commecarestaurant.com

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