Monday, July 6, 2009

Petrossian is Revived. More than just Caviar

It occasionally happens that even a foodie can't figure out where to go for a nice Sunday brunch. The old places seem boring, but can't think of a new place to try. So when Petrossian came up as a suggestion, I suddenly remembered a recent article about its renovation in one of those daily newsletters like Daily Candy or Tasting Table. Perfect idea!

Petrossian is famous for its caviar, but its West Hollywood outpost has had a cafe attached to it for many years. This has recently been renovated to a spacious modern space.

The menu selection was surprisingly varied (including a foie gras salad! Hey, salad is healthy, right?), although I wasn't sure what to expect before coming there.

Besides the a la carte menu, they also offer a 3-course champagne brunch for $35. I opted for this and got a glass of Louis Roederer Brut Rose.

The first course was a choice of soup selection and I opted for the White Asparagus Veloute.
The veloute was smooth and creamy while maintaining the foaminess of veloute. It was outstanding, with a nice little onion kick. Highly recommended.

For the main course, I went with the Paris Croque Madame (Ham, gruyere on brioche with Bechamel sauce, sunny side up eggs)
Croque madame is the perfect breakfast for me. Eggs, cheese, ham, toast ... Not to mention Brioche toast here. Perfect. Runny sunny side up, nicely toasted brioche, lots of gruyere. Even a bit of salad to cut all that richness so you can go for another bite, since the first bite was immensely satisfying.

As I was deeply impressed with the panna cotta with caviar at Ludobites, and since Petrossian is known for their caviar, for dessert I went with:
Classic Panna Cotta, white peach espuma, with an extra addition of caviar ($6 extra)
Beautiful layering here: panna cotta, white peaches, topped with the espuma.
The second time I had panna cotta with caviar in a week. The one at Ludobites, though, had caviar as the main focus while here the caviar is just an extra. That bit of saltiness does give it a nice touch, but it isn't the point here.

The panna cotta was very dense and rich, more so than the usual. The white peaches were sweet and crisp, and everything was complimented by the light peach foam on top. An excellent and very memorable dessert, I would recommend this to anyone and would definitely get it on future visits.

My first visit to Petrossian was such a pleasant surprise. The newly renovated space had a clean and spacious look, and the food was excellent. I hope they'll keep up the performance.

Petrossian Boutique & Cafe
321 N Robertson Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90048
(310) 271-0576
Petrossian Boutique & Cafe on Urbanspoon

Friday, July 3, 2009

Fooddigger at Ludobites:"Pushing the Boundaries"

A dinner hosted by Fooddigger is no mere dinner. Before there was the whole suckling pig prepared specially for us at Ford's Filling Station. Then there was the amazing sushi dinner at Shibucho paired with vintage Bordeaux, most of which were older than me.

Here at Ludobites, as expected the wine-collecting Fooddigger co-founders Brian and Marshall came bearing some great wines which they hope to pair with the mystery meal prepared by Chef Ludo. Before the dinner started, we had fun comparing each other's Flavor Match scores based on a short survey we took on Fooddigger a few days before. Apparently my best flavor match of the group was KevinEats.

I've been to Ludobites three times before, but that night's dinner was a big surprise even to me. I felt like I finally got closer to Ludo's true tour de force.

The most memorable and notable dishes for me that night were these:

Tuna sashimi with sushi-rice ice cream.
With all the usual ingredients and flavors, Ludo deconstructed and reconstructed it to a wholly unexpected dish. The sushi rice ice cream tasted like rice, and even had similar density to rice, but the texture and temperature is completely different.

Chorizo gazpacho, onion ice, with cornichon
The chorizo gazpacho tasted like, well, chorizo, and very pleasantly so. Bursting with that spicy flavor but without the oil and grease. The onion ice, which is the green island in the middle, cools down the heat in your mouth, so you can keep eating more and more.

Foie gras tart, maple syrup, mushrooms
The big soft slabs of foie gras contrasted with the crunchy texture of the raw mushrooms. The fat is cut with the sweetness of the maple syrup. Not to mention the truffle essence that really takes the cake.

Vanilla panna cotta with caramel and caviar.
Panna cotta with caviar seemed so strange to everyone at first, but together everything worked harmoniously well. The saltiness of the caviar combined with the thick caramel is strongly reminiscent of salted caramel, which complements the rich and sweet panna cotta very well.

Thanks to Fooddigger setting up this dinner for us bloggers, we got to try some of Ludo's dishes we probably would never have at Ludobites. Some dishes Ludo himself said he had done in Bastide's 16-man kitchen and that he wouldn't do it again at Breadbar's small kitchen. Luckily we got to try it before he realizes what a feat it was ...

I no longer remember what wines we had that night but you can find more on the other bloggers' posts: Kung Food Panda, Gastronomy, Alli411 (not up yet), Two Hungry Pandas, Grubtrotters, Teenage Glutster, Rants&Craves (not up yet), KevinEats (not up yet), DianaTakesABite.

I was expecting something special out of this Fooddigger dinner, and it certainly delivered. I thought that what they said about the vision they had for these dinners and Ludo's ideas are quite a match: It's all about pushing the boundaries.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Save the Date! East LA Meets Napa on July 10

On July 10, some of the top Latino restaurants in Los Angeles and Latino winemakers throughout Napa will gather at Union Station. What for, you ask? Why, to wine and dine you, of course!

This marks the fourth year of East Los Angeles Meets Napa, a Latino-culture-centric food and wine event benefitting AltaMed, a health organization reaching out to the poor and uninsured population of East LA.

Participating restaurants include some that I've been to and enjoyed such as Rivera, La Casita Mexicana, Palate, Porto's Bakery, and Guelaguetza.

The rest of the 40-something restaurants include Casa de Moles La Tia (food samples pictured below), Phlight, Frida Restaurant, El Portal, Cook's Tortas and many many others.

There will of course be tons of wine, from Napa just as the name of the event suggests. But being a Latino-centric event, we won't be having any old Napa wines. Latino winemakers/vineyard-owners throughout Napa will be featured front and center at this event.
Some of the featured wines will include Karl Lawrence with winemaker Michael Trujillo, Madrigal which is a small vineyard that has been family-run for three generations, and Sequoia Grove (which Choisauce absolutely loved).

During the Press Preview held at Rivera, we also tasted some creations to be looked forward to at the actual event. The previews included samples from Rivera, Casa de Moles La Tia, and Phlight.

Some highlights were Rivera's Kumamoto Oysters with Cucumber Caviar (top photo on the page), Shrimp with pineapple:

Kennebeck Potato Chips, Butter Poached Maine Lobster, Chipotle Crema

For the press preview, we ended with the Mexico City Sundae from Rivera - ice cream with habanero and caramel. Bold and delicious is how I would describe this spicy yet cool and refreshing dessert. One can only hope they will serve it at the event ... and at the restaurant.

The event will take place on Friday July 10, 6-9 PM at the Union Station (800 N. Alameda Street, Los Angeles, CA)
Tickets are $125 and can be purchased here.

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