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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2010 Restaurant Week: Pigalle

Last night, my cousin, her husband, and I had a stellar restaurant week meal at Pigalle, in the theater district.  It’s an intimate and cozy, white-tablecloth French restaurant with a few outdoor tables (although there’s not much scenery around, since it neighbors a parking lot), an elegant bar area near the entrance, and seating for maybe forty inside.  It’s classy, for sure, but relatively unpretentious.  We were nestled in one of their really comfy semi-circular booths.  Of the red wines offered by the glass, only one was not French.  I opted for a Merlot/Cabernet blend and can remember neither the label nor the region, but I enjoyed it very much.

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Kampuchea Eats: Phnom Penh

It’s often said that the cuisine of Cambodia, Kampuchea in Khmer, is overshadowed by its Thai and Vietnamese counterparts. My impression from eating there and taking a Cambodian cooking class is that the cuisine, like the country itself, is somewhere in between.  While I had no real idea of what Cambodian cuisine was before going there, I felt like the things I ate and the flavors I tasted were ones I had experienced before.  I didn’t know until I got there, but my familiarity with Thai and Vietnamese, along with Chinese and Indian food, had already given me a good sense of what Cambodian cuisine would be like.  That said, there were of course things that stood out — the abundant use of fish, vegetables julienned for curries, my first taste of banana flowers.  But in my ignorance, I exoticized the cuisine and played it up to be something it wasn’t: completely new to me.

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