Downtown LA

A brisk conference schedule and lack of transportation prevented me from getting out and seeing/eating more of LA than I was able to. Los Angeles is a seriously pedestrian un-friendly city, and after a hard day’s work, my good intentions of braving the public transportation system couldn’t compete with the thought of a hot bath and room service.

That’s not to say I didn’t eat very well during my stay. On my first night I called it quits early, but not before a lovely French meal for one @ Café Pinot:

French onion soup – Gratinée with Comté cheese:

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Caramelized Maine sea scallops – Vichyssoise cream, leek fondue, crispy truffled potatoes:

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Lunch @ Kendall’s Brasserie with le boss man:

We split the Calamari casserole with crimini mushroom and blistered tomato, and while waiting for the dish to appear, exchanged thoughts on what exactly “blistered” meant (I said grilled or wok-seared, he guessed flash-boiled to remove the skins).

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In this case, I think it meant something like seared over cast-iron. Coupled with a generous portion of rotisserie chicken:

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And a caeser salad with shrimp. Ain’t no caeser salad without some anchovies poking out:

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One day, I think Friday, when I was starving for lunner but didn’t have time to wander very far, I found myself at Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill. The pizza there was pretty solid; I ordered one with roasted garlic chicken, goat cheese, basil, red onions, and leeks. I think it actually came out with parsley instead of basil, but I didn’t mind — parsley seemed like a more natural fit anyway. I’m not sure if they have a wood-fire oven but they managed to cook the pizza with some serious heat, yielding a nicely charred crust.

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My last supper was at Chaya, just before heading back out to the airport. I didn’t take many pictures, being in mixed company, but the food was outstanding. Chaya’s is an eclectic combination of European and Japanese cuisines, with sushi, lots of tuna, and classic French entrees alongside homemade pastas and paella. A couple people in our party ordered the pastas, one a pappardelle and kobe beef concoction, another with rigatoni and lamb. I had a main course of pan roasted sea bass with a fragrant artichoke broth and puttanesca sauce. It was garnished with some pickled vegetables, turnips I think, which lent a pleasant tartness to the dish, but the fish was way overcooked. I much envied another’s miso sea bass, which aroused my jealousies with its subtle depth of flavor and tender, flaky protein.

A classy dessert: port and mini-muffin.

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The two places on my list that I failed to check out were In-N-Out and the Lazy Ox Canteen. I did stop by the Lazy Ox late one night but with a party of six, the wait would have been two hours long. When you’re hungry and drunk, I’m guessing two hours is an eternity. I wouldn’t know because I’ve never waited long enough to find out.

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