Monday, April 26, 2010

Metablogging: Dinner at Petrossian with kABC

321 N. Robertson Ave
Los Angeles, CA

Hot on the heels of this LA Times article, monikering food bloggers and photo snapping foodies as "food paparazzi" and not flatteringly so, a local kABC reporter contacted my friend and food blogging peer Linden of about a follow up piece.  

Apparently producers at kABC saw a chance to further explore the now common dynamic of people shooting their food while dining, fine and otherwise.  The spot would give Linden, food blogger about town, the opportunity to rebut the unflattering and ill written article, as well as offer his own spin on food blogging.

Linden contacted his friend Felicia and me to be his dining companions for the shoot, in addition to A his lovely other half.  We pm'd via both Facebook and Twitter, discussing where we should take both our food dollars and the ensuing media exposure. All three of us were in 100% agreement on Petrossian.  The food is delicious and photogenic, the lighting is soft and amenable to great snaps, and more importantly Chef Ben Bailly is openly welcoming, generous and grateful to the food blogging community.  Jo from My Last Bite gushes about his welcoming personality and delicious food. C from Gastronomy enjoys a group dinner and so does the Kung Food Panda, both during DineLA. I hit it here, back in February of this year. Our foursome arranges ourselves at one of the front high and long tables as soon as Aaron the young reporter and his cameraman arrive.  We eat, they film, and the video is shown on the 11 o'clock news.

Chef Bailly started us off with beautiful glasses of hibiscus champagne, 

and we are equipped with mother-of-pearl caviar spoons.  

To be accommodating, I snap away while the camera is rolling.  You can see the light coming from behind the camera is not optimal for great food shots. I delete the majority of these shots and quickly take better pics when the reporter and cameraman are taking little breaks.

Our first course is off the menu. Caviar surprise...the surprise is layered under the caviar.  Chunks of king crab in an apple cider jelly.  The play of the sweet against the salty/fishy caviar was delicious, the jelly kept the dish light.  Both pairs of eaters on either side of the table shared a tin of this and it was still a monstrous portion.  We spooned this onto blinis and toast points, and made Aaron and the cameraman eat with us.

Felicia of The Food Ledger and Linden of Gastronomnom, enjoying themselves.

Second course.  Salmon tartare, caviar, quail egg.  Loved.  Both the plating and the flavor.

I don't really think  you can lose with the classic combination of salmon and caviar. I would come back just for this dish, it's definitely destination-dish worthy.

Linden and Aaron the reporter. I liked Aaron, he was game to sample foods he had never tried before (never had caviar to his recollection).  He was super professional, and his questions were respectful and friendly.  He and the cameraman made me feel extremely at ease despite my initial fears that this piece would further reinforce the negative "food paparazzi" stereotype from the initial LATimes article.

See Chef Bailly plating the next course.  Chef Bailly, like Aaron the reporter, is young.  He is so fresh faced I didn't realize he was the chef until introduced to him.  Also in the dining room that night were Chef Walter Manzke with a couple dining companions.  Petrossian, obviously a place where chefs go when they're not cooking for themselves or behind a stove for someone else.

One glass of Mumm.

Crispy egg over onion soubide (a veloute type soup, in feel anyway), pressed caviar, with chunks of salmon in the soubide. Our friend D ordered this from the DineLA menu on my last trip and wasn't that thrilled with it. To quote, "the sum is no better than its parts".  I really liked this though and would order it again.

I have no clue how he does this, how the egg manages to retain structural integrity as Chef Bailly coats the egg in panko breadcrumbs then fries delicately enough that the white is cooked solid and the yolk is beautifully runny but not raw.

Felicia.  I am loving her blog, The Food Ledger. I like the format, all the pics both in the post and at the end, and just the general sleekness. Makes me consider rethinking the look of FST.

Chef Bailly plates the fish course.

Skate, brown butter foam, crushed potatoes, sherry vinegar gelatin. I am in love with this dish. Again, not from the menu. Chef Bailly knew we were coming in, Linden arranged a 6-course "tasting" menu ahead of time so we didn't even look at the menu.  This was so not a tasting menu. It was 6 courses of full sized dishes.

The sherry vinegar gelatin was intensely flavored. The pop in my mouth was such a crazy concentrated vinegar flavor that I wanted to eat them all separate from the rest of the dish just to get to experience that initial blast over and over.  However, paired with the skate with brown butter foam they gave a luscious and mild flavored dish the perfect amount of zest.

By now, I am absolutely stuffed. Can't eat another thin mint. And Chef Bailly sends out sweetbreads to die for. Lightly breaded, just the right size to really say offal on a bed of spinach with mitake mushrooms. Sadly, I could only stuff one down.  Loved.

Snapitty snap snap.

Dessert trio.  I made myself have a taste of each.

Gianduja parfait, hazelnut biscuit, vanilla mascarpone. Things that make you go, "hmm".  Gianduja is a chocolate containing 30% hazelnut paste, and this was very hazelnutty. It was good but didn't rock my world.

Pistachio crème brulée, macerated strawberry, hibiscus.  This one was the most beautiful. Would it be weird to say that I thought this would be my favorite because my favorite flavor at Yogurtland is pistachio? Would it out me as a frozen yogurt lemming?  This was gorgeous but not my favorite.

This one had everyone going back for seconds and thirds.  Vanilla panna cotta, mangoes, pop rocks. Yes, real 1980's Pop Rocks on top of the gorgeous panna cotta that so thrilled me last time I was at Petrossian.

Below is the clip that aired on Friday night, April 21st sometime between 11 and 11:30PM.  

The only qualification I will make about my own performance is that in an effort not to say the dreaded, "um", or "like", I instead say "and" three times in about 4 seconds.  Le sigh. I was nervous!


fel said...

I thought you looked calm and collected on camera. Don't be so self-critical - you were great :)

As for your pictures, you got some great ones! I especially like the action shots, but the food ones came out well too.

Great meeting you again; hopefully we'll catch each other another time!

Kitten with a Whisk said...

I like you were awesome!

Food GPS said...

Congratulations on the segment. I hope it leads to more great things for Food, She Thought.

Anonymous said...

Agreed with Fel. Love the action shots. Do you mind if I link a few into my post? Which I MUST get up today, now both you and Fel have beaten me to the punch.

And "and" too many times? My soundbites consisted largely of "um" and "like", with snippets of intelligence interspersed ;)

Food, she thought. said...

Fel, Thank you. Aren't we always our own worst critics?

KWW, thanks babe!

Josh, One can only hope and happily keep plugging away.

Linden, OK, you made me laugh AND put it in perspective. You sounded great. Yes with regard to your own post, GET IT UP! *snicker* Please, help yourself to any snaps you want, you can link or simply post.

LetMeEatCake Eat With Me! said...

i saw the abc piece you looked and sounded great! i was at that first dinner with linden and the latimes didn't know the piece would turn out the way it did and no mention of me :(. i am dying to try petrossian since everyone has been raving about it! your pics look great!

Gastronomer said...

Whoa! I've been completely out of the loop. I'm pleased that there was a follow up piece after the Times article. However, the light the media is casting on the "food paparazzi" still doesn't feel right to me.

Food, she thought. said...

LMEC, Boo that the LATimes article did not mention you and boo on the article for so many reasons. For making Ludo sound like a blogger hater, which he ain't. For misspelling Ludobites. For using poor sentence structure. Just boo all around. I thought the ABC piece was more flattering and truthful, although I am sure we annoy some people out there.

Gastronomer, The initial article sat poorly with me. Does it occur to you that maybe the print media spins it negatively because we are competition? What are your thoughts on that?

Gastronomer said...

Good question! When the Times showed up at Ludo Bites, I had a feeling it would result in a negative piece. I don't think that anyone except bloggers can do the subject justice. When it comes to food blogging, it truly does take one to understand one.

muriqui said...

I get a job, and the world changes. Your blog is all grown up! And absolutely beautiful.

I have a lot to catch up on.

But hibiscus champagne: drool.

streetgourmetla said...

You looked great Liz!Intelligent and classy.

gourmetpigs said...

How fun, and congrats on the piece. Looks like you had an awesome meal too. And I understand the nervousness, I say "um" and "like" a lot also!