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Southern California Culinary Scene


rjwong
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Now is the time to start a discussion thread like this.

What probably pushed me to do this is the Los Angeles Times new food blog titled Daily Dish. Here's the blog entry that got my attention:

The two most most hotly-anticipated restaurants of the year are both opening tomorrow night: Osteria Mozza, the joint venture from chefs Nancy Silverton and Mario Batali, and Craft chef Tom Collichio's first Los Angeles outpost, in Century City.

Recently, new restaurants are opening up throughout Southern California: Stonehill Tavern, Hatfield's, Cut, Leatherby's Cafe Rouge, Blue Velvet, Marche Moderne, Abode, Fraiche, Foundry, Canele, Opus, BIN 8945, Larkin's, just to name a few. Don't worry, there'll be more when downtown Los Angeles starts picking up. Downtown LA is showing signs of a nightlife.

I figure there needs to be a thread so people can find out what's going on in Southern California, culinarily speaking. And I'll start.

I found out, after the fact, that Daniel Boulud was in Los Angeles about two weeks ago, going to and filming in various restaurants like Providence, Hatfield's and Grace for his TV series "After Hours." I miss all the fun ... :angry::angry:

I drove by Century City to find Tom Collichio's new restaurant Craft. I found the place. And as for parking, it looks like valet is the only way. No street parking, unless you know some secret spot.

Then I drove by Osteria Mozza, which is right next door to Pizzeria Mozza. There is valet parking, as well as street parking. Mind you, read the signs first or you can get a ticket. If you think getting into Pizzeria Mozza was difficult, just try getting into Osteria Mozza ... hehehe ...

So, what have you heard on the LA food scene?? Let everyone know and post!! Thank you.

Russell J. Wong aka "rjwong"

Food and I, we go way back ...

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Who do you think "rules" the socal food scene? Goin? Wolfgang?

Puck and Goin continue to set styles and trends for the area, but all of the newer restaurants are headed up by younger chefs with fresh approaches. Most seem to have studied under amazing chefs but are now putting their own Southern California spin on things. If steakhouses have been the trend of the last couple of years, I would say a more bistro-style flair abounds now influenced by foods from Southeast Asia and the Mediterranean. I'm horribly behind on catching up with all of these new openings. It's an exciting time to eat in LA & OC!

R. Jason Coulston

jason@popcling.com

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The company i work for is currently renovating the Le Meridien on La Cienega Blvd into a luxury hotel product with food by Jose Andres. Opening set for early 2008. Will add another star shef to the LA scene along with Batali and Collichio.

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The company i work for is currently renovating the Le Meridien on La Cienega Blvd into a luxury hotel product with food by Jose Andres.  Opening set for early 2008.  Will add another star shef to the LA scene along with Batali and Collichio.

Jose Andres?!?! I wonder if we'll get the traditional Spanish Jose Andres or the Minibar Andres (or some new incarnation). Either way, count me in!

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Also a review of new Costa Mesa restaurant Mesa:

http://www.ocweekly.com/food/feature-revie...own-good/27489/

I saw that review in the OC weekly and the description of the meal sounded great, but the reviewer didn't seem to like it so much. Anyone been to Mesa yet?

Went to Marche Moderne and it was fantastic. I'll post the report with some photos once I get 'em downloaded.

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We've watched Mesa's location slowly transform over the last year or so from a somewhat divey sports bar that was out of place in The Camp's parking lot to one of the coolest looking patios in the area. I've been meaning to get over there and perhaps after our busy week in San Diego at Comic-Con we will. I just hope I don't have to stare at lame OC scenesters all night long. That party set drives me crazy.

R. Jason Coulston

jason@popcling.com

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I just hope I don't have to stare at lame OC scenesters all night long.  That party set drives me crazy.

Good luck with that in that area.... :laugh:

"A man's got to believe in something...I believe I'll have another drink." -W.C. Fields

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Also a review of new Costa Mesa restaurant Mesa:

http://www.ocweekly.com/food/feature-revie...own-good/27489/

I saw that review in the OC weekly and the description of the meal sounded great, but the reviewer didn't seem to like it so much. Anyone been to Mesa yet?

Yeah the review was a bit wierd, the reviewer seemed to like all the dishes quite a bit but I guess the portion sizes on the tasting menu were so out of control it really detracted from the experience. Or at least this was my interpretation....

"A man's got to believe in something...I believe I'll have another drink." -W.C. Fields

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Based on the dish descriptions in the Mesa review, I felt like there was a lot of confusion on the plates. What on earth is this exactly?:

halibut cheeks combined with a bitter mushroom called garlic whistles and a whole fig, accompanied by a couple of raviolis stuffed with tender osso bucco

Halibut, mushrooms, figs, and braised meat ravioli? I totally get surf & turf dishes. I love combining meat with seafood, but this dish just doesn't sound right on paper. I'd love to find out what's going on exactly.

R. Jason Coulston

jason@popcling.com

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Last Friday (20 July), a Ralph's supermarket opened in downtown Los Angeles. It may not sound like big news. Mind you, it's the first major supermarket chain to open in downtown LA in fifty years. Yes, there's the Grand Central Market on Broadway and Mitsuwa over in Little Tokyo. People are thinking that with the new Ralph's opening, downtown LA is turning a corner in becoming a vibrant area of the city. Hopefully, some good restaurants (not chains please) will start opening up soon.

The company i work for is currently renovating the Le Meridien on La Cienega Blvd into a luxury hotel product with food by Jose Andres.  Opening set for early 2008.  Will add another star shef to the LA scene along with Batali and Collichio.

Jose Andres?? :shock:

NO WAY??!! :shock::shock:

saulbass, are you talking about Le Meridien Hotel that's located south of the Beverly Center, south of San Vicente and north of Matsuhisa & Fogo da Chao??

Russell J. Wong aka "rjwong"

Food and I, we go way back ...

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Great thread!

I too believe its exciting that L.A. is becoming the culinary destination it's meant to be. Mozza, Craft, Bastide, Providence, Hungry Cat, Opus. They're lining up!

Beside those, there are the smaller, "everyday" type establishments also contributing to making LA a more worthy destination for dining.

-CHEERS

(Angelini Osteria is still a favorite and always superb! One of the best values in LA!)

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We ate Tuesday at 118 Degrees, a new raw foods restaurant that opened in the Sobeca district at The Camp in Costa Mesa. 118 is one of several new restaurants that have recently opened at The Camp, including Mesa and Old Vine Cafe. It was an interesting meal, although the server we had was way off the mark and obviously under-trained and/or under-qualified to serve in a restaurant. When asked about his favorite dishes he nearly rattled off the entire menu, he was unable to speak with confidence about raw food concepts (a big bummer in such a concept-driven restaurant), and suggested a clunky Cabernet Sauvignon with food choices that couldn't be further away from needing a bold red wine. In fact, the lightness of the menu really demands white wines only as pairings but I digress.

I would say that if you are unfamiliar with the raw foods concept, this restaurant isn't for you. Nor is any other raw foods restaurant for that matter. The concept of raw, if anybody is still wondering, is that foods are never heated above 118 degrees and thus retain all of their natural vitamins and enzymes. Raw foods are easily digestible and serious proponents will go into great detail about how the body is only supposed to metabolize raw foods . . . blah blah blah. The cuisine, as a result but also as a philosophy, is fully free of all animal products. Vegans rejoice. Menu items like "pasta" or "tortillas" are made with the care of a good cook and dehydrators. "Noodles" might be made of pressed/dried coconut sheets. "Cheeses" might be made from nuts. It takes a deft hand and a real commitment to execute food like this . . . but it all ends up tasting of similar vegetable flavors with a distinct sweetness.

Clever food, but could I do it full-time? No way. Aside from being labor and equipment intensive, raw foods can easily slip into common pitfalls. I thought 118 Degrees needed the following to make the dishes complete:

Texture (everything seemed "soft")

Piquancy (some heat would offset the sweetness)

Acid (a squeeze of lemon would wake up those flat flavors)

Vegetable Variety (dishes tasted mostly of tomato and squash)

118 Degrees is a great place to dine after you've spent a night gobbling down fried foods at the fair. It would be a great respite from a weekend of binge drinking as well! If you need to cleanse the system or if you need a jolt of good and wholesome vegetables, you'll feel great after a raw foods meal from 118 Degrees. If your vegan sister is in town she'll be impressed when you take her there. If, however, you just ate at Cut the weekend before, you're probably going to be sorely disappointed.

Edited by SiseFromm (log)

R. Jason Coulston

jason@popcling.com

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I was going to post this in the Providence thread, but it seems a little dead...

Anyways, anybody been to Providence lately? I'm going in a few weeks and just curious to hear any comments. Thanks!

Go ahead and post on the Providence thread, even if it's been a while since anybody has posted. It's called "bumping" the thread.

My original intention for this thread is more for current restaurant news, as in what restaurants has just opened, like Craft or Osteria Mozza, for example.

Russell J. Wong aka "rjwong"

Food and I, we go way back ...

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So no report on Craft LA yet? Interesting. I suppose its not too much different from the NYC version. Russell, I thought for sure you would've been by now.

It is getting an hugely wide range of reviews on another board.

"A man's got to believe in something...I believe I'll have another drink." -W.C. Fields

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Although I want to check out Craft eventually, I'd rather spend my money on true LA restaurants. I'm happy the likes of Batali, Collichio, and Tourondel are beginning to take notice at our restaurant market, but I find myself more drawn to LA originals and those chefs that have made their home here for awhile already. Call me crazy.

R. Jason Coulston

jason@popcling.com

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YOU ARE CRAZY!

:biggrin:

A good point though, particularly on the ethnic side LA has a lot of things other places can't touch.

"A man's got to believe in something...I believe I'll have another drink." -W.C. Fields

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  • 3 weeks later...
The company i work for is currently renovating the Le Meridien on La Cienega Blvd into a luxury hotel product with food by Jose Andres.  Opening set for early 2008.  Will add another star shef to the LA scene along with Batali and Collichio.

Last Sat. night, I drove up La Cienega Blvd. I saw the perimeter of Le Meridien Hotel with chain-linked fences and wooden boards all around.

saulbass, would you give us an update, when you can ... please?? I mentioned Jose Andres' name to one of my friends in the biz. He was impressed ...

Russell J. Wong aka "rjwong"

Food and I, we go way back ...

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I recently received an e-mail invitation to a James Beard dinner at the end of Sept. over at Providence. And the featured chef is Michel Richard, formerly of Citrus (Los Angeles), now at Citronelle in Washington D.C.

I wonder if he would like to move back to Los Angeles ... :smile:

Just a thought ...

Russell J. Wong aka "rjwong"

Food and I, we go way back ...

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I recently received an e-mail invitation to a James Beard dinner at the end of Sept. over at Providence. And the featured chef is Michel Richard, formerly of Citrus (Los Angeles), now at Citronelle in Washington D.C.

I wonder if he would like to move back to Los Angeles ...  :smile:

Just a thought ...

Is it September? I believe he is doing a dinner at Providence on Saturday, October 20th. He is then at Spago on Sunday (or vice-versa) but is definitely cooking a tasting dinner on Monday the 22nd at Bin 8945. I am definitely flying down for THAT one!

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