Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Furious Seasons, Chase Frank, The Capshuns, and Meredith Meyer at Junglerush 12/10

The Furious Seasons (click the link for a preview of the goodness)
542 S. Alameda Street, 2nd Flr.
Los Angeles, CA 90013
(213) 494.7608

Shilling for Mr. FoodSheThought's band, The Furious Seasons during December ArtWalk in DTLA.  In by 10, $5, after 10 $7. It's going to be a full house with Meredith Meyer, The Capshuns and Chase Frank. Come on down.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Long Before...The Gorbals.

The Gorbals
501 S Spring St
Los Angeles, CA 90013
(213) 488-3408 

Mr. FST guest blogs on the culinary delights of The Gorbals.

I've enjoyed the pleasures of dining out long before I was married to my lovely food blogger wife.  In my twenties, thirties and early forties, before the food channel, before I was aware of the names of the chefs, before ingredients were scrutinized, techniques were wowed over,  dining out served as the main social event of the evening.


Restaurants fell into a few choice categories.  Cheap, funky, and fancy.  The meal itself fell into the categories good, bad, or so-so, and were rarely considered more closely than that. Eating out was an opportunity to meet friends, talk for hours, and drink and plan for our next venue for drinking.  Most of the time for me eating out was a date. The romantic centerpiece to an evening, and ultimately, hopefully, a prelude to sex.  A lot has changed in the way I dine out since food blogging became a passion of my wife's.  But on those nights when Liz and I have a plain old-fashioned romantic dinner out, I feel like I had it right all along.


Ilan Hall was a Top Chef winner a couple years back. He was my favorite on the show because he is quirky and earthy and though slightly pretentious seemed genuine. As a matter of fact, he was forthright in a way that his pretense made him seem charming as opposed to annoying. The Gorbals is the prefect venue for his personality.

Downtown is the most exciting area of Los Angeles by far these days. New restaurants and bars are popping up like pimples on the face of a 14 year old. Some of them trendy, some of them budget friendly and funky, some of them upscale and urban in a way that reminds me of Manhattan and a few true dive bars in a city that sorely needs them.  The Gorbals is on 5th and Spring.  It's a block away from Pete's and Warung, not far from Yxta and The Must. But it's also close to an internet cafe that does blues shows for the homeless and quite a few bars where short skirts and high heels would not be a good idea.  You could still get killed here. And if you hit enough bars in the area you will drink with locals. And when I say locals I don't mean folks that live in the newly renovated condos downtown, I mean people who live on the streets two blocks away.  Don't let that fact scare or deter you from frequenting The Gorbals. There's enough activity and cop presence to feel pretty safe and its exactly that environment that helps showcase the earthiness of Gorbals and Hall's wonderful cooking.

The Hotel Alexandria was built in 1906 with a lobby that hasn't seen a renovation since the 1960's.  Picture a cross between the starkness of the offices in Mad Men with the dangerous cool of the ministry sets in Terry Gilliam's Brazil. The Gorbals has an upscale diner feel. It's stark and understated wth dim lighting. We sat at the bar, which we usually do.

Though I don't remember Ilan hall mentioning being Jewish on Top Chef, the food he cooks is decidedly so.  Not to say that he doesn't mix it up with some wonderfully non-kosher ingredients.  He also brings a lot of different elements in his preparations.  That said, the general feel of the food reminded me of my Jewish mother and grandmother's cooking. Hearty, rustic and homey.  All the proteins were cooked through, which I believe must be a characteristic of Jewish cooking, because I grew up in a house where all meat resembled some form of jerky prior to ending up on our plates. We started with Ketel One martinis, a fine start to any meal.

 Bacon Wrapped Matzo Balls

Great idea, Smallish matzo ball with well cooked bacon, wonderful texture and perfectly non-kosher. (Did I mention bacon? Yum!)

 Butternut Squash Latkes with Sunchoke Cream

Very nice latke. Crispy on the outside, moist on the inside. Sunchoke cream, though nice, just wasn't my thing.  Can you really beat applesauce with a latke? I think not.


 Oxtail, Creamy Oats, Crispy Tripe

This was one of my favorite dishes.  As strange as the flavor combinations sound, this was like a beautiful Shepherd's Pie.  The oxtail melted in your mouth and the oats gave a delightful mushiness with the tripe an intestine flavored tortilla chip.

 Crimini Soup with Haggis Meatballs

This was my favorite. Jason, the chef de cuisine, informed us that this was just voted one of the ten best soups in LA. I can see why, it was straight up awesome. The haggis meatballs felt overcooked to L, but were the prefect crunchy contrast to a flavorful light broth. Bravo!


 Octopus, Gizzards, Lemon

Liz loved this one. Kinda looked like a scene from Alien to me.  This was a gentle reminder that I am still at heart the pizza and sloppy joe eating boy from the SF Valley.

 Pumpkin, Coffee Nitro Ice Cream

Jason was kind enough to barrage us with a rapid fire succession of the desserts offered on the menu. (hello, FTC!). I dug this one, Liz called it so good that it was fucking insane.

 Israeli Cous Cous Risotto, Nitro Ice Cream, Bacon Candy

A little too much like baby food to me.  Go Gerbers.

 Toffee Pudding, Vanilla Nitro Ice Cream

We were told the above is a staff favorite, I can see why. If you are going to order dessert definitely give the toffee pudding a shot. The pudding was beautiful.

Bread Pudding

This was my favorite, though I am not really a bread pudding guy. This seemed like a classic preparation and was perfect in every way.

With so many things to do and places to go downtown, The Gorbals is a go-to kind of place.  The food is outstanding, the location is central to a great night out.  And the prices are very doable. This will be to us like Church & State, Izayoi, and Rivera; a new place to frequent.

The Gorbals in Los Angeles

Sunday, November 22, 2009

In Bed Together: Art & Bites from Ludo Lefebvre at Royal/T


8910 Washington Blvd
Culver City, CA 90232

Currently showing at Royal/T is a group exhibition curated by Jane Glassman entitled "In Bed Together".  At the Novewmber 20th opening Ludo Lefebvre cooked, champagne, wine and sake flowed while food & art lovers co-mingled.

Ludo's ballyhoo'd pop-up restaurant Ludobites will have a much awaited and planned for short run at Royal/T in December. Friday night gave event goers a titillating preview of what's to come.

Royal/T knows how to host an engaging event. At every event I have attended, there has at least one interactive element to the festivities. The most intriguing this evening was Ludo and assistant cooking up inspired snacks in a plexiglass box while a line of party goers snaked through the box picking up snacks as they gawked and drooled.

Making thin buckwheat pancakes.


Adding goat cheese and some bacony goodness. 


Folded over, these turned out to be a savory blintz.


Ludo dirties his hands mincing and dicing pineapple and I don't remember what else for a delicious raw scallop dish.


 Tidbits for partygoers tummies were also coming out of the Royal/T kitchen,

French maid cosplay waitresses passed paper water cooler cones of French fried potatoes and sweet potatoes.  Light, crunchy and classically delicious.


Also passed through the crowd from the Royal/T kitchen were beef wrapped asparagus and caramelized onion crepes.  The crepe squares were delicious, but the beef wrapped asparagus left something to be desired in the flavor department. Perhaps the beef should have been marinated. I once copied Tuna Toast's recipe for beef wrapped asparagus and it was off the hook flavorful, it set a rather high benchmark.

One of my favorite pieces of the exhibit, an installation. All separate pieces of  paper, each with a piece of a gorilla's body hanging from above when assembled together representing the entire ape.


A beautiful riff on Manet's Olympia.


D wondered if this was a parody of Jann Howorth and Peter Blake's work, creators of the Grammy winning Sgt. Pepper's LHCB album cover.


Echoing the joy and irreverence of Royal/T itself.


"What I miss most is your incredible smile."

The series below is from the screening room. I call this in my head "The Dildo Progression", but I don't really know the name.




I found this striking.




And this reminds me that all art, like all food, is not meant to be understood by all people.  But that doesn't mean we cannot enjoy.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Dinner Party With Stella

This week we decided to share our newest family member with some friends, and feeling in a warm and fuzzy mood I reached for a comfort food recipe. I followed Simply Gluten Free's recipe for Clams and Mashed Potatoes.  This will be added to the regular rotation.


The end result was gorgeous.


I started with organic potatoes from my L.O.V.E. delivery box. Personally, I like to leave the skins in the mash, it makes a heartier mash with extra fibre, color and vitamins.


 Prepped the pan for the clams with a shallot and garlic...


 Sauteed in some olive oil with just a trace of butter.


Little miss Stella stretched herself out across my toes and settled in for a short winter's nap. Srsly. She fell asleep on my toes. This is right after.


Birthday boy Ray helped by mashing the skins-in spuds, with just a trace of hot milk and butter.


I steamed the clams in the garlic, shallot, olive oil, butter and about one entire bottle of shitty dry white wine that was malingering about the kitchen. Yes, malingering. No one calls in sick dishonestly on my watch. Not even wine.


With some more of my organic produce I tossed together a salad of arugula, cress, avocado, pom seeds, green onions and goat cheese.


And someone else fell full snooze chin to the floor.

No, Jackson. Dog beds are not one size fits all.