Thursday, August 21, 2014

Atelier Crenn

It seems like with every visit to SF, I go big and then I go home.  I know some heavy hitting foodies in SF, so eating well is always a big part of my visits.  The Pouter is always my go to girl for any of the big meals in SF.  We were inspired to hit up Atelier Crenn after seeing Chef Crenn on Top Chef.  She seemed so hip, so cool, so SF!  SF has quite the fine dining food scene going on.  The restaurants can range from traditional institutions like Gary Denko, to more modern and contemporary places pushing the boundaries of food and science.  Atelier Crenn definitely falls into the latter category.  The ambience was clean, minimalist, modern.  On the weekend, you can only do the tasting menu.  So I was shocked to see a couple there with their 7-8ish year old daughter!  I really wonder what she was eating.  Did she partake in the fancy ass tasting menu?  Did they make a special menu with molecular gastronomy chicken nuggets??  I'm sort of on the fence about bringing children to such fancy places like this.  I guess I'll leave it at that.  On to the food!

Kir Breton coco butter, cassis liquor, apple cider
I love these little liquer amuse bouches.  They usually have some interesting texture and then burst in your mouth.  The spheres were delicately thin but with some crunch and sweetness.  Then the apple cider provided some tang and refreshment.  Such a fun way to start.

Uni custard caviar, smoked potato gel, licorice
Uni seems to be making a splash on every menu these days.  It was an oceanic delight tempered by a smooth creaminess.

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Monday, August 11, 2014

Dia de Campo

The South Bay is an upcoming foodie area.  It seems like there's always something new and cool opening up.  I really liked Little Sister so I was excited to hear that the chef/owner was opening up a Mexican/seafood themed joint just down the coast in Hermosa Beach.  Who other than Smooth Obturator and Triple T, who call the South Bay their home, would accompany me to this very hip and happening spot?  I totally loved the ambiance.  It was both relaxed/laid back given its beachside location, but then also vibrant, hip, and happening.  

I was a little bummed these were cooked instead of chilled.  I'm not sure why cooked oysters just never taste right.
Hamachi Uni green papaya, mango, ponzu, baby cilantro, smoked pasilla
I don't think it's fair to list uni as a main ingredient here.  There was only 1 little lobe of uni!  Other than that, the dish was fine but nothing spectacular.  The fresh passionfruit was a nice touch.

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Monday, July 28, 2014


It's been a while since the Bears joined forces to eat our way through LA.  Many things have changed since our days as "overworked and underpaid" drones.  Some of us are now "appropriately paid," while others, sadly, are still "underpaid" (Luau Bear who I'm going to rename Digs-Thru-Poop Bear and Panda Bear).  But the "underpaid" ones got smart and married their sugar mammas (Farm Bear and Little Bear who will be renamed Fancy Nails Bear).  And some things never change.  Buff Bear is still buff as ever, so obviously his name isn't changing.  One thing is true for all of us though, we are busier than ever, so coordinating all of our schedules to even get together for dinner isn't always easy.  Heck, I don't even live close to the majority of these guys, but I will trek anywhere for good friends and good food.  While Gusto wasn't our first choice, we were pretty happy with Fancy Nails Bear's choice in the end.  Gusto is a simple neighborhood Italian joint in the heart of Beverly Hills/WeHo.  It wasn't crowded at all for a Friday night, which is probably not a good sign, but it was nice to not have to shout over the din of a bustling Friday night crowd.

The guys took a backseat while Farm Bear and I took the reigns with the menu.  I love Farm Bear because she just wanted to order everything on the menu and said yes to everything I suggested.  Her verve for food and dining makes she and I kindred spirits!

Asparagi grilled asparagus, sunny side egg, fontina fonduta
It was so simple, yet so delicious.  I wish I could get my grilled veggies to taste like this.   What is the secret?!  Charcoal grill?  There was a healthy balance of salt, tang, sharp, creamy, and luscious.  Lovely. 
Lacinato shaved black kale
Kale might be the new beet or Brussels sprout today, making its appearance on practically every menu these days.  Some may find it too tough to eat raw, but when it is done right, my TMJ prone jaw is not exacerbated.  I found this to be bright and well balanced with varying textures and flavors.

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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Sushi Sushi

The birthday festivities continued with my birthday at Sushi Sushi.  Originally, Smooth Obturator wanted to go to Maude or Trois Mec, but was unable to snag a rezzie.  No worries because Smooth Obturator fell back on his trusty Sushi Sushi.  Let's be honest, LA is riddled with expensive sushi places.  Smooth Obturator and Triple T have been to many of them, but Sushi Sushi is the stand out spot for them.  It might be hard to take a place called Sushi Sushi seriously, but the sushi here is SERIOUS.  For omakase, I was supremely stuffed.  I'm not sure if it was because it was towards the end of the night and the chef was trying to clean house or all the beers he was drinking was causing him to be excessively generous.

I never had raw baby squid like this before.  I guess squid has some innards and guts that area usually removed when you buy them in the store?  I'm actually not totally sure, but something was different tasting about it and it felt like I was eating squid guts but it was so delicious!  Not off or fishy tasting. It was also lightly dressed in some ponzu.  Wow, I couldn't believe squid could taste this way.

Tuna okra, quail egg
Okra is really slimy and this preparation of it reminded me of why people dislike it (I'm looking at you, Tom Colicchio).  I actually don't mind the slime, which was actually magnified by the added raw egg.  

Geoduck roe
The fresh salty sweetness of the geoduck was well matched with the pile of roe.  Maybe too much roe, though I'm actually begin to appreciate it.

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