Archive for January, 2011

RH in WeHo

Posted in French on January 28th, 2011 by Yelena – Be the first to comment

January 26, 2011 @ RH in West Hollywood, CA – a group of 4 of us came here for dineLA.

Located on the lower level of Andaz Hotel, RH is a hip, sophisticated restaurant with a warm vibe of a chic, modern lounge. We were seated inside a round booth cushioned with decorative pillows overlooking a beautiful, large, open kitchen.  Oh how I would love a kitchen like that inside my house! And the glass showcase of wine bottles! Marvelous!

After our surprisingly casually-dressed waiter explained our menus, a plate of assorted veggies (radishes, carrots, cherry tomatoes) served with a side of ranch dressing, followed by slices of warm bread and butter. Honestly, the veggies were dry, bland and not extremely appetizing. We did enjoy the bread while we waited.

$40 bottle of Pinot Grigio and on to the food:

Appetizers:  I decided to order the Roasted Holt Farm Beet Salad. The colors of the salad were wonderful. Dark red beets, pink beets (at first they appeared to be tomatoes), fresh radish and light vinaigrette. I love beets; however, I wanted the salad to taste as great as it looked … I did manage to taste the other two appetizers on the menu. Both the Mussels and the Foie Gras left me craving more of the much needed authentic French taste.  Main Course: Field Mushroom Risotto with Black Truffle Sauce. Just hearing risotto and truffle sauce in the same sentence makes me salivate. I couldn’t wait to try this dish. Came topped with Parmesan cheese and arugula, the risotto hit the spot. Every bite accentuated the mix of truffle and cheese – pure genius! I also had the pleasure to taste the Perigord Cassoulet. More of a hearty dish – duck confit, pork sausage, pork belly, bean stew – yet so simple and elegant in presentation. I’m usually very picky when it comes to eating beans, but this stew of white beans was fantastic. Duck confit was falling off the bone, tender and juicy, which the sausage and pork belly giving the dish enough fat to satisfy all cravings. Wonderful, wonderful dish. I want the bean recipe!  Dessert: While usually my favorite part of the meal, the Chocolate Pie & Frozen Praline Bar fell just a bit short of my standards bar. It was ok. It was not awful, but it just wasn’t great. The presentation was simple and so was the chocolate mousse placed in a thin pie crust.

Market City Caffe Review

Posted in Italian on January 24th, 2011 by Yelena – Be the first to comment
Market City Caffe Burbank
164 E. Palm Avenue
Burbank, CA 91502

Perfect after-shopping-date-night restaurant located on the busy street of Burbank. Upon arrival at the Market City, we were greeted with fresh, warm, ready-to-eat, foot-long bread sticks in a glass. What a great way to start the meal I thought, as I snapped pictures of this unique presentation. .

Overwhelmed with the menu choices, we sat on the patio, pondering. Our waiter was friendly, making several suggestions as he poured the wine. We decided to share a salad and a lamb ragout pasta dish.

The weather outside was perfect … and the food … did not disappoint. So caught up in conversation, slowly sipping a glass of Riesling, the food arrived almost too fast. The pasta was cooked perfectly. Lamb was juicy and tender. The portions were a good size, and I was glad we ordered to share [unlikely I would've finished the entire dish on my own].

Tomodachi Sushi

Posted in Sushi on January 23rd, 2011 by Yelena – Be the first to comment
Tomodachi Sushi
10975 Weyburn Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90024

It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon. We had just finished hiking Temescal Canyon and wanted to reward ourselves. Reward without feeling a whole day of hard work and dedication has been wasted on empty calories. We wanted something fresh, healthy, melt-in-your mouth, nothing other than fresh fish. Within half an hour, we found ourselves driving down Wilshire Blvd, just east of the 405 to a small little town of Westwood. I, personally love the Westwood community, influenced by the surrounding University of the Bruins and the not-too-far-away beach cities.

Walking up to Tomodachi Sushi, we were a bit comprehensive [aside from the single person eating quietly by the window, the restaurant was empty]. I guess the time was neither lunch nor dinner. However, after being seated on wooden couches with soft cushions, we were delighted to discover it was happy hour time at the sushi joint [half off on many participating items].

Few shots of hot sake, 3 orders of albacore and 2 spicy tuna hand rolls later, we were stuffed. The portions of albacore were fresh, succulent and very generous. Sure, the miso soup was not perfect. It was sweet, oily and just tasted awful. But who came for the soup? Overall, the experience at this casual, friendly little place was great. The waitress was attentive, polite and quite pleasant. As we chatted and nibbled on our side order of edamame, the restaurant began to fill up rather quickly with new hungry patrons.

Corner Bakery

Posted in Salads & Sandwiches on January 18th, 2011 by Yelena – Be the first to comment

I am a fan of big salads.

January 18, 2011

It was one of those days. I was craving a big salad and decided to stop at Corner Bakery for lunch. It has been at least a few years since my last visit. After reviewing all the options on their menu, I decided to go with the Santa Fe Chicken Salad. Visually the salad is very appealing: roasted chicken, fresh corn and pico de gallo salsa, iceberg and lettuce romaine, tossed with ranch dressing and topped off with cheddar cheese. I added avocado, some fresh black pepper, and a little bit of hot sauce for some spice. I, personally, love Santa Fe salads and was slightly disappointed at what the Corner Bakery had to offer. I understand their version of the salad is on the healthier side and maybe that is exactly what was missing … some fat. Their menu said the salad would come with a side of a fresh roll; however, they forgot to put one in my carry out bag. Could have been the missing touch.

Having tried several other versions of this salad in the past, I would definitely give a few suggestions for improvement. Just from the name, we can assume the salad comes from South Western background, which to me means bold, spicy flavors. Unfortunately Corner Bakery salad was lacking those flavors. Some of the changed I would implement are adding some jalapeño into the pico de gallo for that extra kick. Also, I usually prefer this salad tossed with thousand island instead of the ranch dressing. I find ranch to be kind of bland. Finally I would garnish the salad with fresh scallions and a side of sour cream … just because you can’t go wrong with sour cream mixed with salsa!

Pirozhki (Пирожки)

Posted in Recipes on January 16th, 2011 by Yelena – Be the first to comment

… recipe coming soon …

Apple Pie (Шарлотка)

Posted in Desserts on January 15th, 2011 by Yelena – Be the first to comment
Light, tender, and so delicate. Serve at your next tea party!
Ingredients:
  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 cups of sugar
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 2-3 big apples
  • 1 tbs of semolina porridge or bread crumbs
Directions:
Make the batter by mixing the eggs in a large bowl. Beat with mixer as much as possible. Slowly add the sugar and then gradually add in the flour and baking soda. Mix very well (at least 5-7 minutes). Mixture should become creamy. Peel the apples and slice in small chunks. Butter up the bottom and sides of the baking pan. Sprinkle with semolina porridge or bread crumbs over the bottom of the pan to create a crust. Lay the apples in the pan. Pour dough evenly over the apples and place in preheated oven 350° F for 30-40 minutes.

Check with toothpick for readiness of the pie. Enjoy!

Passion for Food!

Posted in Food Thoughts on January 14th, 2011 by Yelena – Be the first to comment

Many of us are passionate about food: farmers, vegetarians, butchers, chefs, dietitians, critics. My passion for food mainly comes from eating … I can’t help it. I like to eat. Growing up in the Former Soviet Union, we didn’t always have an abundance of food. Frankly speaking, we survived eating potatoes and noodles. As you can imagine my I enjoyed eating for the mere fact that I didn’t get enough of it. Nevertheless, during special occasions, the Russian parents were able to create a delicious display of the Eastern European kitchen. If you are familiar with the Russian cooking, you know we love potatoes, mayo, pickled everything, and of course anything fried. It’s surprising how that country doesn’t have more obesity issues. I suppose affordability had something to do with it.

My first food journey took me to Wisconsin at the age of 12. Known for their cheese and beer, Wisconsin introduced me to aisles and aisles of food at the supermarket. All of a sudden we were eating hot dogs and corn on the cob … and the amounts of ice cream I consumed is unthinkable. Even our dog was getting the royal feast every night. It is at that time when I started to develop a real understanding for food. Because after a while, when you are no longer hungry, you start to really appreciate it. Although Wisconsin did not offer much variety, as it was mostly consumed by chain restaurants and fast food joins, I was fortunate enough to have had the ability to work side-by-side with some self-taught chefs. And might I add, those chefs made sure to spoil me with delicious off-the-menu items.

My real passion for food did not occur until much later; probably after my mom moved away and I no longer had the pleasure of a home-cooked meal, but most likely after I discovered the diversity of food when I moved to California. Los Angeles quickly introduced me to just how far authenticity, creativity and deliciousness can be showcased through food. I fell in love – with eating.