Life is really tough when you have too many choice restaurants to eat at and not enough time (and after a few days, appetite) to fit them all in. My hubby prides himself in being a Chowhound afficionado. J drops Jonathan Gold's name in a conversation, like he was a good friend. Jonathan Gold, for those of you who don't know, is a food critic for the LA Weekly and it turns out his opinions are as good as gold. Of course, I am going to share three of my favorite foodie experiences, so I can remember them, and it may just explain why my jeans aren't fitting so well these days.
Our first night in town, we were a bit wiped from the travel, and famished. It just so happens our hotel was 1/2 a block away from a pretty decent restaurant called iCugini. Being steps from the beach of course we had to indulge in some seafood. We started with an Insalata Granzeola, which had blue crab meat from atleast three crabs, Trenette pasta dish with some of the best pesto I have ever tasted, Ozzobucco, and a sampler dessert plate. I may have fallen asleep before my head hit the pillow that night, content as ever.
Have you ever wanted to capture all the best flavors of Mexican food, but with high end ingredients? I am by no means a Mexican food snob, but sometimes I wonder what exactly is in my favorite dishes, when I am bloated a few hours later. Chefs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger have taken Mexican food to the next level with their Santa Monica restaurant, Border Grill. I pride myself on finding Border Grill a few years back, after seeing a special on Mary Sue & Susan on the Food Network. I can still recall the first time I had one of their tamales, it's like no other tamale I have ever eaten. It is so moist, you almost need a spoon to eat it. I can't tell you how many tamales i've choked down in the past few years, chasing that beautiful Border Grill experience, never to find a close comparison. Once again, it did not disappoint. We took the girls there and the waiters were just so wonderful with our children, a bonus for families who like to dine on decent food with their kids. We even found Border Grill to go meals at Whole Foods, so hopefully, if I get lucky eventually their food will make it's way to Colorado.
You could say, pizza is pizza, it's all basically the same, right? In my humble opinion, I think that's absurd, not all pizza is the same, not even close. Many people consider it a waste of calories, while others subsist on it a few days a week. But I have to say, oh my divine food goodness. Pizzeria Mozza in the heart of Los Angeles, has catapulted the world of pizza to a level beyond comparison. The Mozza Caprese was no less than divine, the cheese is artisan made in house, and was like no other cheese I have ever tasted. We also ordered fried squash blossoms, Brushetta with butternut squash applewood smoked bacon & dandelion greens, Insalata mista with gorgeous micro greens, and two pizzas the Margherita and a freshly made sausage pie. I have to admit, I never-ever eat sausage on pizza, but boy am I glad I did here, it was splendid. We topped off the meal with Gelati- egg nog, Pistachio, olive oil flavors and some biscotti. The Gelati did not disappoint and actually surpassed my expectations. If you wish to indulge in Pizzeria Mozza, make a reservation, we arrived shortly before noon, which was opening, to a line of people out front. We luckily were seated in the first round. I would have waited hours for such a meal.
Oh Los Angeles, it's only been a day and I am longing for more wonderful culinary experiences. I am amazed that a city that has thousands of starving size zero women is chock full of what I would consider to be America's best restaurants. Is that what we call irony? I end with one piece of advice, eat your heart out, indulge your senses, and bring stretchy pants.