Review: Root

New Orleans
16 January 2013

This first trip of the year has been very taxing on the body, to say the least. Not a very long trip, but the excesses of Los Angeles and now New Orleans has done my body no favour. With a little too much over the holidays already, this just added to the stress my body was under. As much as I loved this trip and its mentally- and emotionally-cleansing aspects, it’s a physical disaster…I need to get home and do a physical cleansing…

For my final meal of the trip here in NoLa, I chose another well-regarded but new restaurant named Root. Of all the restaurants in The Big Easy I booked, this had the most interesting menu. I was intrigued by the apparent favour for charcuterie, and wanted to experience it all. I honestly was a little full still — and bloated from all the excessive drinking — but I went for this final night with gusto.

I got there early and chose to sit at the bar, as I wanted a relaxed experience. Though still rather empty at an early 6pm, it filled up quickly as the night went along. I went through several cocktails and wines through the night, and this place has certainly got a good bar and staff. One of the highlights here was the “Face Off” that featured “face” bacon-infused (more on this later) bourbon; another was the “Isle of Skye” that incorporated Laphroaig. Creative and very drinkable.

As mentioned earlier I really wanted to explore the charcuterie, so I began with a plate, choosing several items: the “face” bacon, the “CBD”, and the salchinchas. After a fine amuse bouche and another cocktail, the plate presented itself to me…mmm…

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Alongside the generous servings of meats, there were many accompanying items such as kumquats, sprouts, pickles and other pickled vegetables. The salchinchas were mildly spicy and a nice sausage to snack on. The “face” bacon was a special treat, as it is basically made from all of the head (including ears and snout) into a rather unique item (some of the fat rendered off was used for infusing bourbon). And finally, the “CBD” — or chicken-beef-duck poached ballotine, was also extra special and imaginative. You can see all 3 layers in this creative morsel. Mmm…

With all this good charcuterie served, I feel sad that I was here by myself. This is a wonderful place for a group of people to really feast on the wide selection (14 charcuterie and 8 sausages). I could have sat here all day eating and drinking…

After a little time to rest while enjoying more cocktails and chatting with the bartender, my next course appeared: the Louisiana picked shrimp:

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This was fantastic, fresh meaty shrimp with some evil tasting deviled eggs comprised of the eggs stuffed with more shrimp and topped by a truffled yolk mousse. Fantastic, I could eat these all day!

This place has such an amazing menu I really could eat here for days…but my body was telling me it’s time to head home. It’s been too much for days and days, and it was near a breaking point. I can’t imagine how much weight I’ve gained since just before Christmas…I need gym!

So already full from the charcuterie, I sadly took my leave without exploring any mains. However, I did take an order of the szechuan beef tendon with me for later (it was still early), which was done very well. Sliced thinly, the tendons were very flavourful and genuine in its spiciness. Well done!

I have to say Root was both my favourite place in NoLa and the place that was the best dining experience. The imaginative chef created excellent dishes, and the kitchen executed superbly. I highly recommend Root to everyone visiting NoLa as their first dining experience. You may just choose to come here more than once! I know this is the first place I will visit when I come back to NoLa!

Root
200 Julia Street
New Orleans, Louisiana

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Review: Il Grano

Los Angeles,
10 January 2013

Took me a few weeks to collect my thoughts and memory from what was one of the very best meals I’ve ever had… Il Grano in Los Angeles is my favourite restaurant in the world, and have had some spectacular meals there before.

Last time I was there was earlier in 2012, so it has been awhile. It was a more restrained evening as I was driving, but I had a fantastic meal and I introduced this amazing restaurant to my mate Simon Majumdar. This time I planned ahead, took a taxi, and decided to leave my fate to Sal…

Sal (Salvatore Marino), the owner and chef extraordinaire of Il Grano, is clearly a master of his craft. He cooks some of the most amazing dishes in North America, with a spectacular plating that incorporates even dishes of his own design. His use of colours in plating is especially noticeable (you can see some of it on the restaurant’s Flickr page), and adds to the experience. His crudo is as good as those from sushi masters like Yasuda, his pasta blows away anything from the Batali empire. Frankly, it’s the only restaurant in the world I’d fly 6 hours just to have dinner.

I relaxed at my table and it’s like being ‘home’… I am so glad I don’t live in LA; otherwise I’d be here every week, just to test Sal and be a guinea pig for new dishes… After settling in, the opener came out — alongside a glass of bubbly — a fresh oyster topped with oestra caviar from Brescia. Nothing as good as a fresh oyster, but topped by this magnificent roe it becomes something spectacular. Mmm… What a great start!

Sal then came out to join me for a few minutes to catch up and to gauge what I wanted to do tonight. I left my fate to him and he said he’d do a 12-course dinner paired and will give me dishes that I have not done before. Now this is amazing, having this kind of creativity on hand, remembering what dishes he’s made for me in the last 2 years. I was genuinely excited for this extravaganza!

Though a Michelin-starred chef, Sal treats Il Grano like a small trattoria as it would be in Italy, and personally serves guests and greets everyone. This personal touch, lacking in this modern world of flash and celebrity chefs, is why I really like this place.

Sal ran back to the kitchen, talked to his sommelier en route. This is gonna be a wild ride, folks! So as I settled in further the wine began to flow. It was a little too crazy to chart all the wine tonight, so suffice to say each course was paired with a full (!!!) glass…with a generous pour. Yeah, that may have been excessive!!! :))

After a short while the first dish appeared — fresh scallops crudo. These five morsels of heaven were sitting on a cute plate designed by Sal. One thing Sal knows is crudo, and if it don’t need messing with, it don’t get messed with. These scallops were the sweetest, most flavourful scallops I’ve ever tasted. I don’t know where the hell he gets these, but they genuinely delivered some of the most intense flavours from raw shellfish I’ve ever tasted. Wow…

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I do apologise as it was somewhat dark, and many of the photos tonight had to be edited for brightness. Unfortunately that takes away from the amazing colours that Sal incorporates into his food. But he does put great pictures of his food on his site, the aforementioned Flickr page, and on the restaurant’s Facebook page. Soon my second dish came, affectionately called Tic-Tac-Toe…

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Oh wow…now this was a crudo tour-de-force. The belly was just melting, melting in my mouth. These huge cuts were utterly mesmirising. I’ve not had better toro even in Yasuda in NYC or in Tokyo. I’ve been eating toro all my 40 years and never had better. This was just about as close to the best raw dish I’ve ever had in my life…

I could have gone home now and call it a night and proclaimed this as one of the best ever…but that’s only 2 courses down out of 12! Remember, the wine is still flowing, and the pours have been very generous! The third dish came soon, a cute little salad with citrus fruits and king crab.

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The king crab was just succulent…mmm. Sal also showed how a simple salad could be so tasty, as he takes great care for his veg. Much of it he grows himself, but he treats it as important as his meats and fishes. The citrus variation is cute, follows his love of using colours. I wish the picture showed how dynamic it really was.

This has been an amazing array of seafood so far, and now we start to move towards the meats. The next dish was another salad, this time with capon with pine nuts and raisins.

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I love how this mixture works, as it has all the flavours of the South Mediterranean in each bite. The capon intertwined with the salad very well. This show keeps rolling! More wine! Then the next course was brought out by Sal, the tongue…

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He didn’t know but tongue is one of my favourite things. Delicate piece, it was delicious. We chatted a bit about all sorts as he managed to take a few minutes break from the kitchen. Was good talking to him, as he is very knowledgeable, and had spent some time back in Europe since I last visited. Then he excused himself and more wine came…and the next dish.

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This excellent tagliatelle with lobster featured some of his prized tomatoes. His pastas are always excellent, flavourful but not excessive. The lobster theme continued as he brought out a somewhat experimental dish next…

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Wow…this is nuts. It’s a lobster roll with mascarpone and other goodies. Heavy as heck (he told me I didn’t need to finish all of them…you kidding???). Now talking about Italian and Japanese fusion…what a heavy but dreamy creation! I’m usually not a fan of things this heavy, but it worked. Maybe the copious wine pourings required the cream? They think of everything… 🙂

He sensed I needed a quick break so we had a little rest before we came back to it. Next was the interesting pear ravioli:

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Now not the usual flavours I’d except, but this mixture of sweet and savoury really caught my attention. I love pears, and never thought of using it this way. Fantastic! With more wine, the next dish was the monkfish.

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I love the plating on this. The fish was tender and very flavourful. But to be honest the wine was starting to overwhelm things for me, and my mind is starting to blitz a little bit… But this was fantastic. My final savour of the night was next, the partridge.

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I usually am not a fan of game birds, so this didn’t make a great impression on me. Maybe it’s the wine. It was good, but I think good game birds are wasted on me. Sorry for the picture after-the-fact…you can see the liver is starting to replace the brain here…

After a little rest a small cheese course came for my enjoyment:

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Then as the dessert came out — Sal knows I’m not a dessert person so it was a single dessert course! He brought it out and was also going to take his leave (he goes to the fish markets at dawn to fight the various sushi chefs for fish), so we had a nice chat before he headed off. I thanked this genius copiously…

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I was a little too blitzed to remember too much from this chocolaty dessert, but I do know as with all the previous 11 courses (except the cheese), I had cleaned the plate.

With a glass of grappa waiting for my cab, I was bathing in the afterglow of this amazing meal. Each course was well thought out and presented beautifully. I wish I did the dishes more justice with my photography (those colours were amazing, you had to be there). I headed back to my hotel with a huge smile on my face, knowing I had one of the very best meals of my life tonight.

I don’t know why Sal and Il Grano doesn’t get more attention. It is by far the best tasting menu restaurant in North America, not a factory or laboratory. It’s just pure tastes. Sal knows not to adulterate when there’s no need, and his technique is crowned by restraint — which so many chefs these days CANNOT do. They ruin perfectly good dishes by trying to do unnecessary things (read: Heston Blumenthal).

So if you need an amazing tasting menu experience, I would recommend Il Grano. This meal is slightly better than my meals at Maaemo and Ylajali, and those were tasting menus from heaven. This Il Grano experience was 7th Heaven…

Oh, the crudo…

Il Grano
11359 Santa Monica Boulevard
West Los Angeles, CA

Review: Cochon

New Orleans.
16 January 2013

When I was doing research for my trip to New Orleans, the two restaurants I got the most positive recommendations for were the previous (and disappointing) August and Cochon, which was my lunch destination this freezing morning. People were really bundled up in the cold and windy climate; I walked around with no jacket…

I took the long walk down the Warehouse District and found Cochon, and inside I had no fear or any cold, especially at the chef’s counter. The open flames there kept everything very balmy…tho I shudder to think how unbearable this must be in mid-summer with that heat and unbearable humidity…

I chose to do lunch here because their lunch and dinner menus were the same — a rarity amongst places in New Orleans that I was hoping to visit. Not very busy yet (early and cold), I enjoyed a nice meal while watching the kitchen hard at work.

My starter had arrived after a little, and of course it’s the oyster roast. You just can’t go wrong with oysters in NoLa, just can’t.

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These oysters were quite nice, though I thought the odd number of 5 was kinda strange. I got a comped serving of head cheese as well, which wasn’t bad…but was for the missing 6th oyster? Hmmm… Tasty tho maybe a little bland, but again, you can’t do oysters wrong in NoLa…

Not a bad start, but then I was waiting for my main, the namesake of this restaurant, the Louisiana cochon. It arrived soon, but I didn’t dig into it until my wine arrived…

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It was indeed a tasty dish, and the crackling was appreciated. I wish there was more of the turnips and cabbage, as they really helped with the dish’s balance. As a lover of anything porcine, you’d think I’d gush over this dish. Yeah, it was really good, but it just wasn’t the tour-de-force I was hoping for. Everyone raved so much about this place my expectations were sky high, like my first visit to Au Pied de Cochon in Montréal.

If I lived in NoLa I would come to Cochon, as it’s a friendly and relaxing place with good food. But as a visitor I can’t waste the few precious slots I have when I am in town. So next time back in NoLa, sadly Cochon is down on the “back-up” list. It’s a good place, but it just didn’t blow me away.

Finally, as I was waiting (a little long) for my bill, I got a nice splash of hot butter from someone in the kitchen brushing the rolls… I really should follow my old maxim and avoid places that have James Beard awards…

And to be very honest, I left a little wanting on the oysters. I walked up Tchoupitoulas in the biting wind and was planning to stop somewhere for a drink and was at the corner of Poydras when I smelled something good, so turned towards the Hilton and stopped at Drago’s for a drink and an order of charbroiled oysters. Now those really were awesome…

I can’t believe after 2 days in NoLa the best meal I’ve had was at an Argentine steakhouse (La Boca)…

Cochon
930 Tchoupitoulas Street
New Orleans, LA

2013 Has Indeed Changed Things…

In my previous personal posts I had hoped that 2013 would bring changes for the better, and at the time I was relatively optimistic. Little did I know that I had to endure a bit more of 2012 that overlapped into this year, but now I am finally free from the shackles of 2012 and years past… It’s moved faster than I ever could have hoped…

Having endured a quiet but lonely holiday season into 2013 at home, I decided to go and really unwind with a few days of excess in Los Angeles and New Orleans. Those of you reading my reviews and tweets can follow those threads. 🙂

However, before I headed out, a rather strange incident literally proved to be the catalyst to all this rapid change. I had sent my ex-gf a congratulations note about a revamp of her website, which her company’s twitter feed had announced. Then she sends a text back accusing me of stalking her? Huh? Her company’s feeds follows me — and I am accused of what? It reminded me of an incident 4 years ago when she changed her FB profile pic and I mentioned it to her, and she accused me of same thing. Huh? Did I accuse her of the same thing when she texted me EVERY time I was in the middle of a “romantic moment” with the person I dated after her? It’s an INSULT to real stalking victims, of which I have many friends that suffer from such horrible situations.

But if anything, that one text, which earned a “WTF” and “piss off” reply, became my personal catalytic converter… It just snapped in my head in such a dramatic way, that my ex has basically used me all those years, and she is just not a pleasant person. Utterly selfish. Screw her. It was such a heavy weight lifted from me. Next time she gets in trouble, will I bail her out again? Yeah, right.

So I embarked on this trip to celebrate the dumping of this baggage and seriously overdid it a few times, a few rather epic drinking sessions that was fun but seriously damaging. By the time I got home I was really under the weather, bloated and livery, which led to me catching flu — something I NEVER catch. I’ve not had the flu in over a decade. And to boot, the heater in my apartment turns out to have NEVER WORKED and it wouldn’t kick on just as it got rather cold. You know I love the cold, but when you have no heating in your apartment and it’s 12F/-11C outside, it’s not funny.

But this morning, feeling loads better (I’m the ONLY person that gets BETTER from flu after a night in freezing temps without heating), I feel 2013 is really about to begin for me. I go and sign my lease later this week in New York, back in my old building. A smaller but much better unit, but MUCH more expensive (sigh), but it’s like being “home” again. Will move in February. So that will really mean 2013 begins.

I’m sniffly and achy and cold, but I have not felt this good for years. 2013 has indeed changed things… 🙂

Review: August

New Orleans,
15 January 2013

Unfortunately my first full day in New Orleans did not start well, as I woke up with a blinding headache from a nasty cocktail-induced hangover. Having “asked for it” with a “I’m willing to be a guinea pig” challenge to a bartender at one of the city’s best cocktail bars, I was totally paying for it this day…

There was no way I was going to venture out for lunch, so had a rather lame room service that came from a supposedly-good place called Lüke. The portions were a joke, the plating more of a joke. I’ve had poor quality room service before, but this really takes the cake… Unfortunately this place was in the same restaurant family as my dinner destination, the well-regarded August, so I was a little concerned. It seemed very unprofessional…

I got to August for my reservation that evening and was promptly seated in a nice table. The restaurant was already somewhat busy, and I was looking forward to a good night. I had pretty much recovered by that point, so began the night with a sazerac.

I had decided to go with the degustation 5-course menu, which looked interesting. There were a la carte dishes I wanted to try, but I figured let’s give the kitchen the chance to shine with the special menu. I was soon greeted with an off-balanced and bland custard-in-eggshell amuse-bouche…hmmm…

I agreed to go with the pairings and soon I was presented with a glass of prosecco. The first course was a shrimp salad. I wanted to really enjoy the world-famous shrimp from the Gulf, and these were nice. But to be honest, a little lacking in flavour. I noticed some poor and haphazard de-veining, which makes me worried about the skills of the kitchen staff. But still, not a bad start.

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With the second course approaching my server brought out a glass of chardonnay. Usually not my favourite, especially with a acid-taxed stomach, but the pouring wasn’t big so it was fine. Plus it worked nicely with the second dish, the panzotti with truffles. As my readers know I don’t really enjoy truffles, despite being a lover of mushrooms. I think it’s overused and improperly used; too many places want to “show off” with big flakes that just don’t work with any dish and disrupts all flavours and textures. Sadly, this was the case. This would have been a nice pasta dish sans truffle, actually…

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I was growing a bit concerned by this point, as this meal has not risen to the level I had expected. I was told by everyone that August is one of the top 3 places in NoLa to eat. And so far it has been mediocre.

My next course came, the seared Gulf yellowfin tuna. I noticed the fish was seared in an odd way, as one side was untouches and the other seared way through. So basically one side was overcooked and dry/flaky. So unnecessary… Another execution issue…

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To be fair, the fish was delicious and the portion size very nice, but it just could have been so much better. This seemed like something from a mediocre, tourist-trap of a restaurant, not one of the best in a town with some of the very best in the country…

I finished the paired pinot at that point before the fourth course. I did ask them about the searing and they didn’t seem aware of the problems. I remember once in Megu in NYC that they destroyed a piece of rated Kobe by cooking it well-done on one side, and raw on the other…It was like sawdust… Some things just don’t need over-preparation and simple kitchen management so it isn’t ruined by bad timing. So far this kitchen has not shown itself in a good light to me.

My next course was the dish I really looked forward to, the beef strip steak. This grass-finished beef, sourced from Two Run Farms in Mississippi, was the same one I had at the excellent La Boca last night. The quality of the beef is excellent, and it’s not a surprise it is featured in many of the best places in the region. Paired with a nice claret from Napa, I hungrily dug into it:

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The beef was extremely tender and flavourful, and I could eat it all day. As well as the vegetables on the side, this was by far the best dish of the night. It would have been considered awesome if it wasn’t for the unsuccessful puff on the side. Now this thing was undercooked by a long-shot, tasting very flour-y (not dough-y…it wasn’t far enough along even to be called dough-y). Or else something adulterated the prep so it tasted flour-y. I cleaned the plate except for this “thing” — and mentioned it to staff. My server, who has been great, said she’ll mention it. But the manager dismissed it when I mentioned it and just walked away. Huh?

At this stage I was not thrilled with this meal. The excellent piece of beef was the saving grace from utter mediocrity. And finally, for the final course came paired with a nice dessert wine from Napa’s Oro Puro: the dark chocolate hazlenut tart:

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It was fine, but nothing special. I was still enjoying the flavour of the beef, and also rueing the disappointing aspects of this meal. After a coffee I headed out rather disappointed. I didn’t expect this to be the bottom meal of my 3 days in NoLa.

Fine, I know this is a “slow” period for NoLa during the period before Mardi Gras and The Super Bowl, but this was just short of the mark in so many ways. It seems the kitchen was run very poorly, as the execution was below par for so many of the dishes. Simple issues like timing mistakes shows either the kitchen was too lax or there was too little supervision. And to boot, this was the most expensive of my NoLa meals. Disappointed to say the least.

August
301 Tchoupitoulas Street
New Orleans, LA

Review: La Boca

New Orleans,
14 January 2013

Wait, I go to New Orleans to go to an Argentine steakhouse? Huh? But it is actually true, my first evening (of 3) in NoLa I spent at the highly-rated steakhouse La Boca. I had eaten well in Los Angeles (more reviews are forthcoming), but for some reason had a real need for red meat. And I couldn’t find better stuff online than La Boca.

I got to the unpretentious restaurant in the Warehouse District rather early, as I had not eaten since early morning at LAX. I had a great dinner the night before, but was really hungry at this point. I looked at the menu and drooled…

Unfortunately they had run out of the morcilla, so I decided to skip the starter completely and order meat with 2 sides (having been told the sides are nice and large). There were plenty of choices to be made on the beef, including many specials that evening. But I was particularly excited about the grass-finished beef from nearby Mississippi.

I decided to go with something a little less usual tonight, the entraña fina con la piel — the outer skirt. But this unique version was slow-cooked with “skin-on” if you can imagine that. It’s like having a bacon-y crust to your steak… I had ordered two sides — asparagus and fried sprouts. Now this was a feast…

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This was one of the best beef/steak dishes I’ve had in years. The beef was extremely juicy and tender despite it being slow-cooked medium-well. The “skin” was just fantastic, being crispy and adding even more juice to the already very juicy steak. They just don’t make them like this in many places anymore, with dried-out corn-fed chunks of meat at many of the “top” steakhouses (especially in NYC). This was heaven for a beef lover…

The sprouts were good, though a little heavy with the frying. The asparagus was excellent. Together with some good heavy red wine, this was a perfect first dinner anywhere, especially in a food-frenzy town like NoLa.

I headed out after a nice single malt looking for fun, and I got a little too much. A long evening of cocktails at Bellocq and my head was now floating somewhere in Lake Pontchartrain…

La Boca
857 Fulton Street
New Orleans, LA

Dining Adventures in Lalaland…the Quick Version

As I mentioned from my review of Hakata Yamaya in Torrance, I had taken a few days in Los Angeles after being stuck at home through the holidays. The Los Angeles area has some of the most interesting foods in the US these days, and I wanted to explore it further the 3.5 days I was there.

I went to a few old favourites (such as the aforementioned Hakata Yamaya and of course Il Grano, my favourite restaurant in the world — review forthcoming!), but also checked out a few newbies like Night+Market. Aside from the headache of getting between locations (especially if imbibing), LA is one awesome food destination.

After my offaly-good meal at Hakata Yamaya, the next day I proceeded to another of my usuals. I headed to Back Home in Lahaina. This Hawai’ian place in Manhattan Beach is one of my guilty pleasures, as I miss the taste of Hawai’i so much. I had my usual grindz kalua plate for lunch…mmm, ono…

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That evening I headed back to Il Grano for an awesome 13-course tasting (review forthcoming!) that knocked me out a bit (too much wine!) for the next day. I had taken it easy, skipped lunch, and did the aforementioned Night+Market that evening. The next day, having to switch hotels (thanks to the damn Golden Globes), I stopped off at the venerable Marty’s Hamburger stand. I grabbed a double cheesburger and a fire-dog for a nice lunch.

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To be honest, the burger was not as good as I had hoped, but the fire-dog was solid. I still think Jack-in-the-Box is the best burger around, with Shake Shack running a close second. In-and-Out is worse than Burger King…

That night I headed to the final seating of the pop-up restaurant Barbershop, which featured the food of my friend Walter el Nagar, who I met at Il Grano. As the nature of a pop-up is not permanency and also experimental, I decided against a full review. Based at the soon-to-be new location of popular eatery AOC, I was greeted with a prosecco to the large communal table by sommelier and host Mario Vollera.

This was a special night, as it was the last seating for this rendition of Barbershop, and it featured what Walter said were the best offerings of the weeks. Of the dishes presented, three really stood out. The risotto, featuring fine carnaroli rice, was spectacular with the surprising sting of licorice (which was stunning with the pairing). The wine pairings were just awesome all night, btw…

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Again, let me apologise about the photo. It was dark and I stood by my rule about not using flash, so these are rather edited. The second of the choice dishes that stood out was the spaghetti cozze, in which the shellfish flavour really, really stood out. Awesome full flavours that will just make a shellfish lover drool for more!

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And the third (sadly photo-less) was the pork jowl, which was a fabulous piece of meat, tender and smooth. Walter playfully named this dish amatriciana senza pasta… There were some minor misses, such as the opening crudo and the apple pie dessert, but it was a good overall experience. And I am looking forward to Walter continuing to grow his magic to something a little more permanent — after he takes the show on the road! So when Barbershop rolls into your town, definitely check it out!

Finally my last meal in Lalaland was with my mate Simon Majumdar, and he recommended Caulfield’s in Beverly Hills (at the Thompson Hotel). He proclaimed it some of the best cooking in the LA area these days, so we headed there for a feast on Golden Globes night. I usually don’t like to write a full review when dining with other people, especially one with whom you also engage in excellent conversation, so you’ll have to do with this mini-review.

We ran into Caulfield’s maestro Stephen Kalt dining with Bobby Flay and had a quick chat before attacking the cocktails and food. Some of the dishes were fantastic, such as the Iberico presa and the wagyu hash. I love hash, and I love presa, so it was a pretty great duo!

I also enjoyed the burrata pizza and a choice selection of cheese that closed the meal. Caulfield’s is a cozy-but-chic place that features excellent, innovative cooking without the BS that comes with top-ranked restos in that part of town, definitely worth a repeat when I’m back in town.

So as I head out of LA and onto the 2nd part of this trip, it made me think…if food is so endlessly good in LA, what’s keeping me away from this place? Then a Datsun (yes, a Datsun) with no headlights cut me off…and I suddenly remember why I have a love-hate-loathe relationship with Lalaland…

Back Home in Lahaina
916 North Sepulveda Boulevard
Manhattan Beach, CA

Marty’s Hamburger Stand
10558 West Pico Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA

Barbershop
8022 West 3rd Street
Los Angeles, CA

Caulfield’s
9360 Wilshire Boulevard (at the Thompson Hotel)
Beverly Hills, CA