Notes from the Road - Los Angeles
Just returned from another amazing weekend in L.A. – always great to visit the City of Angels to check out the buzzing dining scene and interesting California environment. The main reason for my visit was to support the American Wine & Food Festival, but throw in some meetings mixed with restaurant visits and you have another set of adventures.
First stop was to a locals favorite that unfortunately I had never been to, The Hump, located at the Santa Monica Airport (www.TheHump.biz). This sushi bar is on the third floor of the airport overlooking the main runway. It offers an amazing view of the action at this private airport and some extremely fresh sushi with the creativity of talented sushi chefs. We put ourselves in their hands for lunchtime Omakase menu, which was clearly the right decision and finished with a VERY fresh soft-shell crab appetizer. I sampled some vinegar marinated Spanish Mackerel, gorgeous purple Tuna and spicy Yellowtail salad. I can’t wait to go back and dine there again!
Later that night, after attending the pre-chef’s party of Meals on Wheels, we made our way with a small group to check out the Bazaar by Jose Andres (www.TheBazaar.com) at the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills. Let me tell you, I am a big fan of Jose’s food from my time in Washington, D.C. and overall his food doesn’t disappoint. I wouldn’t really call it a restaurant, but rather more of a party or lounge/nightclub. There is a crazy energy and buzz that takes over the space, unfortunately at the expense of the restaurant. When we finally made it to the table, the meal was rather interesting, but the Gambas a Ajillo, the Skirt Steak and the Sweet Potato Chips with Tzaziki Sauce were awesome!
Saturday morning I had a chance to visit one of my favorite breakfast places in the world, the Rose Café & Market in Venice (www.RoseCafe.com). I love going to this place because it’s kind of funky, the food is amazingly fresh, it’s consistent, the coffee is strong and it is just a relaxing, chill spot. This time was spot on again and I had an omelette with prosciutto cotto, goat cheese and their dill béarnaise sauce. Absolutely perfect! Such a great way to start the day and prepare us for the evening.
Later in the day, we made our way out to Universal Studios where the American Wine & Food Festival (www.AWFF.org) would be celebrating its 27th year of existence and benefiting L.A. Meals on Wheels. The event was a wonderful combination of Chefs, Restaurateurs, Vintners, Distilllers and patrons from around the country participating for a great cause. Once again we donated our time to work with Piero Selvaggio and Valentino (www.ValentinoRestaurant.com), along with his group of chefs, Luciano Pellegrini, Nico Chessa and Alessandro Stroppa, to name a few. In keeping with tradition, we had Lalo on the grill, grilling up fresh pizzas and we brought in some new dishes including Shrimp Cakes, Butternut Squash Ravioli and Chicken Wings, Osso Buco style. It was a ton of fun and an event I look forward to each and every year; I can’t wait to head back for next year and the 28th celebration!
Aside from that, it was another great set of adventures in L.A., but too short a visit. Hopefully I’ll be able to go back soon and try more restaurants! Looking forward to my next set of travels, only time will tell but in the mean time; Keep eating and drinking!