Friday, February 6, 2009

One Rainy Night at City Sip

City Sip
2150 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026
(213) 483-9463

I fell in love with City Sip one rainy night in early February. We met C there for wine, nibbles and conversation. And I fell in love.

I love the interior and the business model. City Sip is sophisticated yet neighborly.

The wine list is long and friendly, and you can buy the wines by the bottle to take home. We told the awesome guy behind the counter what we like, and just let him pour us whatever he thought would work. He let us taste everything first, bien sur, and gave us beautiful tasty selection.

It was the wine. The wine that I fell in love with.

Not so much the food. I will describe what we ate, and I wasn't crazy about any of it. I will nevertheless go again and order differently.

Their menu heavily relies on items that will not spoil. Cured fish, cheese, cured meats, and so on. We tried quite a few things. But I think next time I will stick to the cheese menu. The cheese menu is almost as long as the wine list. Next time, cheese. Definitely cheese. I love cheese. Cheese has never done me wrong.

We started with the lovely baby greens salad with bleu cheese and apples. This was good. I ate most of this. It was lightly dressed and I enjoyed the accouterments.

I personally wanted to try the duck pate. It was really delicious and a large serving. No one else eats pate, really, and I couldn't finish this off. The flavor was a little nutty and it had a nice texture, not too smooth.

This was an heirloom tomato salad, almost Greek in nature with lots and lots of olives, nuts and endive. It was just ok. The heirlooms were cherry tomatoes and not great at this time of the year. I would probably have taken it off the menu during the winter. But I am crazy that way.

Their croustini is topped with a grilled eggplant. I would have liked the bread grilled a little more, but I am never one to malign the eggplant. Aubergine is a beautiful vegetable (fruit?). And this had lots of cloves of roasted garlic.

The eggplant, up close and personal.

Above is the cured meat, speck. For some reason I thought speck was fish. WTH? Skate is fish. Speck should also be fish.It's not. It's akin to bacon.

Italian Cooking & Living says that speck is "produced in Alto Adige (or S├╝dtirol, the German-speaking province of Bolzano), Speck received its name from the German word for bacon. An utter misnomer, Speck is a variety of cured ham that proves leaner and denser than its fatty, friable cousin. Produced in succulent rectangular blocks (known as baffe in Italian), Speck is brined in a perfect blend of garlic, black pepper, juniper berries and bay leaves. After being cold-smoked with sweet-scented maple and beechwood shavings, the hunks of meat are aged for a several months to give them a firm, yet moist texture. " In my opinion, to be truly enjoyable the meat would need to have been sliced much thinner and/or used in small chunks in other dishes. I found it slightly hard to chew. The flavor was nice but maybe a little too powerful for eating on its own.

C ordered the cured fish plate. There was a large chunk of salmon, trout and sardines. It looked pretty nice but I was already over salted from the speck so I refrained. She loved the salmon, was not thrilled with the trout and I am unclear on the sardines. I always loves sardines, personally and may try this next time.

I like the idea of relying heavily on things that won't spoil, the style of food is very Spanish. They also just started offering paninis. I am not a sandwich loving human, so this would not be a big draw for me. But the lengthy cheese menu will definitely have me coming back again soon. Like maybe tomorrow.


the woolly monkey said...

Speck is really good if you have it for breakfast on pumpernickel with butter!

I particularly love your photos of fish.
are fish easier to photograph, or do you have an affinity for fish?

Food, she thought. said...

That does sound delicious, Woolly Little Monkey! Fish are just beautiful, I think. One of my favorite shots ever is of koi in the Ala Moana mall in Honolulu. I will show you sometime. I think with regard to the pics, I am getting better at taking pics in general. However, it is about the light, always. What is available, how can I use it. *muah*