Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A weekend in LA - part 1

Only one more day for the BonBonBar giveaway! Be sure to enter if you haven't already.

Most of my extended family lives in Los Angeles , so we usually end up going there a few times a year. Each time we go, we try some new restaurants. I was really happy to hear that Jose Andres was opening an LA outpost, because I love his cookbooks and tv show. On Friday night we had dinner at The Bazaar by Jose Andres. The restaurant format is tapas, and the menu is split into two sections. The Rojo section of the menu focuses on tradition tapas fare. The Blanca section of the menu is modern tapas with a molecular gastronomy slant. We spotted Marcel from Top Chef hard at work in the kitchen.

I did all the ordering for the table, and tended to veer more heavily towards the Blanca section of the menu. Simply put, the meal was amazing, definitely one of the best meals I’ve ever eaten (French Laundry still holds the #1 spot). Since there were quite a few courses, I’ll keep the descriptions relatively brief, but please feel free to ask questions in the comments section and I can provide more details.
Philly cheesesteak - This was a hollow bread filled with a cheese sauce and topped with thinly sliced Kobe beef. Tortilla de patatas 'new way' - A quail egg cooked slowly at 63 degrees C topped with a warm potato foam and crispy potato bits. A modern take on the classic spanish tortilla.
Modern and traditional olives - The modern ones are Ferran Adria liquid 'olives', which I believe are spherifications of an olive flavored liquid. The traditional olives are stuffed with anchovy and piquillo pepper and topped with orange zest. The modern olives come to the table in a jar of olive oil and are fished out of the jar and placed onto the spoon by the waitstaff.
Jamon iberico de bellota - Acorn fed, free range iberico ham served with tomato bread. This was definitely a splurge, but worth every penny. They had a separate meat slicing area with a big bowl of perfect looking tomatoes for the toast. I'm not sure where they got such nice tomatoes in January, but I'm not complaining!
Crab buns - Crab and cucumber with a creamy sauce (alioli maybe?), served on steamed buns. The buns were the perfect texture.
Foie gras cotton candy, salmon caviar cone - A piece of corn nut crusted foie gras torchon wrapped in warm cotton candy. It may sound strange, but trust me when I say it was delicious. I didn't try the caviar cone, it was for the person in our party who doesn't eat foie gras.
Ottoman carrot fritters - Bits of carrot and white bean loosely bound and fried. Served on a bed of creamy pistachio sauce.
Butifarra - Pork sausage with white beans and mushrooms. The sausage was perfectly cooked.
Tempura avocado with airy mayonnaise - Chunks of avocado lightly battered and fried, served with foam for dipping. I detected a nice hit of sherry vinegar in the foam.
Mozzarella-tomato pipettes with micro basil - To eat, you pop the tomato into your mouth and squirt in the liquid mozzarella and olive oil from the pipette.

Bunuelos - Traditional salt cod fritters with honey alioli. I just realized that I have the recipe for these in one of his cookbooks, so you can bet I'll attempt to recreate them at home.
Tea service
Traditional spanish flan with vanilla and orange - We decided to end with a traditional and a modern dessert. The flan was the best we've ever had.

Coconut nitro floating island with banana and passionfruit - Frozen on the outside, soft on the inside coconut island on banana slices with a passionfruit sauce and passionfruit seeds. I thought the passionfruit seeds were a nice touch.

There's only one dish that's not pictured here, and that is the fideos with shrimp and alioli. I didn't bother with a picture because it wasn't particularly attractive, and it turns out it was also our least favorite dish. It wasn't bad, it just wasn't as good as everything else. We will definitely be back, hopefully sooner rather than later. In the meantime, I have his cookbooks to work my way through!

52 comments:

Elra said...

Sara, you are one lucky girl. I'll keep in mind for this restaurant when I go to LA.
Cheers,
Elra

Cathy said...

Wow!! I'm jealous - I love meals like this and the food looks amazing!! I'll have to file that away for when we go to LA next year.

How To Eat A Cupcake said...

I <3 <3 <3 that honey! Soo delicious!

Kevin said...

That is a lot of tasty looking food!

Helene said...

I love LA. So much food that looks great.

Joie de vivre said...

That's pressure to order for everyone! That foie gras cotton candy looks so fun.

Selba said...

How nice that you had dinner at THe Bazaar. The food looks absolutely delicious. Now, I wonder about the prices ;)

Gloria Chadwick said...

Everything looks really good and I'm intrigued by those tempura avocados. :)

Pearl said...

WOW!

LOL honestly.. i think i would've rather had marcel come out and lay on my table, instead.

jkjkjkj :)

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Oh, what great food! You are lucky...

Cheers,

Rosa

Ana Powell said...

Hi Sarah
My God, how lucky you are.
I will make notes of the food names to investigate further. All looks so delicious and beautifully well presented.
Just amazing
Ana x

Girl Japan said...

I agree, lucky gal... I need to make more time to dine out and less time spending it on shoes and such..

Everything looks Divine!

The Blonde Duck said...

Everything is so elegant!

Culinarywannabe said...

"Foie gras cotton candy" -- WHAT?!? I'm sure it was good, but the waiter must have convinced you to order that, cause I can't imagine picking that off the menu for anything other curiosity's sake. Ohh and can we please try to make the tempura avocado - yummy!

Ciao Chow Linda said...

It all looks so creative and delicious. liquid olives sounds intriguing - but did it taste just like olive oil when you bit into it?

Marissa said...

Wow!

Katherine Aucoin said...

What a feast! You are so lucky!

5 Star Foodie said...

What a wonderful dinner! Jose Andres is pretty amazing and we are of course so lucky to have his restaurants here in DC. What was your favorite dish of the evening?

Rosie Hawthorne said...

Sara, Everything looks wonderful. I'd love to be able to experience a meal like that.

Robin Sue said...

What a meal! You did a fantastic job in your choices, I think I need to eat out with you.

Sara said...

Wow, what a spread!

Jamie said...

Looks like a foodie's heaven, and what makes it even better is that ou had covered so many different ethnic food groups! Yummy!

Grace said...

um...drool?
that's the best-looking, fanciest cheese steak my eyes have ever seen. :)
color me jealous.

Donna-FFW said...

If only I was closer, everything looks so out of this world spectacular!!

Reeni♥ said...

Everything looks so amazingly deliciuous!!! What a great meal!

duodishes said...

Everything looks divine. We just gotta try those carrot fritters and the crab buns.

Sara said...

Cathy - If you go, make your reservations way in advance!

Selba - Actually, I thought the prices were reasonable considering what we got.

Gloria - Who knew avocados would taste good cooked?

Culinarywannabe - There was a cotton candy cart in the dining room, and everyone was ordering them!

Ciao Chow Linda - It actually wasn't olive oil in the middle, it was more like an olive flavored liquid. I think they puree olives and put them through a chinois to get the olive liquid, then use alginate to do the spherification.

5 Star Foodie - It's so hard to pick just one! How about top three? Foie gras cotton candy, philly cheesesteak and jamon iberico.

The Food Hunter said...

I'm so jealous I wish I was in LA and eating that food. Everything looks so good.

Carolyn Jung said...

I remember seeing quite a few of those dishes on Anthony Bourdan's "No Reservations'' when he went to Jose's restaurant in DC. I get to Los Angeles once a year, so thanks to your recommendations, I am definitely putting Jose's LA restaurant on my must-dine spots.

Apples and Butter said...

Okay. I'm sold. Calling for reservations....now! That looks amazing. Did you make it to Surfas on your trip?

Jessica604 said...

Wow! This sounds like a great menu to choose from.
What was the texture of the modern olives like?

Jan said...

Lucky you! Everything looks incredible.

Barbara Bakes said...

Wow that's impressive food! I want to join you next time!

Diana said...

I'm in awe. The crab buns... the tomato bread... it's too much! I'm so glad you enjoyed your experience! :)

Jessy and her dog Winnie said...

That all looks great! Yum!

Sherry Trifle - Lovely Cats said...

A delightful foody lover's description of great dishes. Wish I could sample some of them.

Sara said...

Carolyn Jung - Let me know if you try it. I also like Pizzeria Mozza, Campanile and Lucques.

Apples and Butter - Unfortunately, we didn't have time to go to Surfas. I am definitely going on our next trip.

Jessica - It's a thin liquid encased inside the alginate shell, it pops in your mouth!

Dragon said...

What a feast! I was blown away by the foie gras cotton candy. How did it taste? I'm not sure I could be that brave. :)

Sara said...

Dragon - I've had many preparations of foie gras that involve a sweet component like a gastrique to cut the richness of the foie gras. This was a similar effect, although the sweet to savory ratio was much higher. It was definitely a texture thing - the warm cotton candy melts away in your mouth and is immediately followed by the fatty foie melting in your mouth. Quite the experience! I honestly didn't think the corn nuts added much, they were pretty finely ground so I think it was more the idea of adding salt for balance rather than a crunchy texture.

Natashya said...

What an amazing feast! You guys must have had a wonderful time tasting all those treasures.

Priscilla said...

LA...California has the best food on the PLANET. Wish I could eat all that food! HA!

Sara said...

This looked like a fun dinner. The presentation was very nice.

The Bentley Family said...

Thank you for your comment on my blog. That Wacky Cake really is a great cake recipe. Your friend will not be dissapointed! I could eat it every day!

Maria said...

Everything looks so good!

Netts Nook said...

Wow my kind of food love it great pictures.

Navita said...

I love the salmon caviar cone...
yum!
thanks for stopping by..hope i will see u more often.:)

Donna-FFW said...

Sara- I passed along 2 awards to you. please stop by and pick them up.. XXXOOO

Jessica said...

Oh, that all looks so yummy!

Olga said...

I just came from lunch, but this is making me hungry all over again!

Sounds like a marvelous meal.

we are never full said...

thank you so much for this post. jose andres is a favorite of ours and the spread you ordered looks fabulous!

yasmeen said...

feast for the eyes:)

Lorraine @NotQuiteNigella said...

That place looks amazing! I wish I was closer to LA so that I could go :D