Nothing comes close to the golden coast…
A week ago, I left snowy New York City for the sunshine of California; and like a deprived sunflower, I opened my arms wide and took in all the warmth and welcomed the sun. Every time I fly west, each mile left behind is like a weight lifted from the shoulders – I physically feel like I can breathe easier knowing what waits at the end of a long journey. I’ve come home. Time to cleanse, detox, recharge and rejuvenate. California – are you ever not good for me?
700 S Grand Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90014
Its reputation precedes it, and these pictures do more than my (redundant) praise could ever do. Located right in downtown LA, Bottega Louie is the dessert lover’s heaven, but features a solid savory menu as well. It’s a great place to people and celebrity-watch, and of course to munch on delicious and beautifully prepared food. It’s always packed and is one of those super trendy places – but that definitely does not detract from the quality of the food.
Grilled Octopus – slightly overcooked, but beautiful presentation and great balance of flavors
Brussels Sprouts – zingy and buttery to contrast the more mellow nuttiness of the Brussels sprouts
Eggplant Parmesan – perfectly breaded, bright tomato sauce, very fresh ingredients
Portabello Fries – in one word – divine; most tables ordered a basket of these babies
435 N Fairfax Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90036
animal is a gem – with a menu celebrating all parts of… the animal. It is a true homage to the beast from the brains to the entrails, and everything in between. I appreciated the concept and enjoyed several of the dishes but 3 thoughts come to mind here. (1) Considering what the ingredients are, I think the food is actually quite pricey! And trust me – I am not one to balk at the price of good food. (2) While some of the dishes were beautifully executed, others could have used more thought. In particular – brains are soft/squishy-textured things that are really bland. They really need lots of bold and bright flavor. In Vietnam, I’ve seen brains eaten raw with lemon/salt/pepper. At animal, the preparation was simply breaded and fried, but overall there was very little taste. I am wondering though if that was to highlight the taste/texture of the brain? To quote my friend, it seemed a bit like a cop out. (3) The flavor combinations, while very good, were also very safe. Char siu quail. Buffalo style tail. Balsamic ribs. While the meats may be considered adventurous to some eaters, these flavor profiles are quite familiar to most people and don’t necessarily stand out. Still good, if not a bit (dare I say) boring?
Hamachi Tostada with Fish Sauce Vinaigrette
Plum Char Siu Grilled Quail
Veal Brains with Curried Carrots
Buffalo-style Pig Tail
Balsamic Pork Ribs
Tres Leches Cake
Joan’s On Third
8350 W 3rd St
Los Angeles, CA 90048
Located on 3rd Street in Midcity, there is an adorable little French market and cafe that serves up the cutest and freshest of brunches, pastries, deli items, and all sorts of items to stock your French pantry. I apologize for the blurry phone pics, but indulge in this:
Plethora of pre-made snacks
The bakery counter
French toast [not pictured – berry banana smoothie]
Poached eggs and corned beef [not pictured – side hash]
We also visited a few other eateries (most notably Father’s Office, a super fun and really great gastropub) that I wasn’t able to document. Next stop is Northern California and my thoughts on the life of a corporate AmEx holder. Stay tuned!
PS. Thanks to Amanda, Sarah, and David for making my weekend perfect. ❤