Delphine

On a hot Saturday, a few weeks ago, Chuck surprised me with an adventure.  He told me to put some walking shoes on, I laughed and slipped on some strappy cork wedges, and we drove deep into East LA.  To the Metro station. And, my day was made right then and there, I didn’t care what else was on the agenda. Fortunately for you all, it got even better from there.  We boarded the train and rode rather aimlessly, through tunnels, over bridges, and made it to Grand Central Station, where the May Day protesters were filling up the station on the way home from a day of rallying against racism.  I felt bad for my lazy social in-activism, so when Chuck suggested we drown our underachieving selves in a cocktail, I was more than happy to oblige.  Traxx was closed for the weekend, so we hopped on the red line and made our way out to the spankin’ new W West Hollywood

GOOD idea. The train station empties out right onto Hollywood Blvd, and what did we find sitting right before our eyes…? Well none other than the W’s Delphine Eatery & Bar

Perfecto!  Beer me, barman!!!

We wanted to stay light, what with it being a Saturday–the Lord’s day of feasting, and all–so we opted for some charcuterie, cheese, and oysters. 

Ding, ding, mothaeffing, ding.

 

Everything was amazing, and I cannot wait to go back. The sandwiches, steak frites, and every damn thing else looked so great that I want to take a bite out of this keyboard just thinking about it.

Good with the bad: there was one pretty damn douchey guy at the bar while we were there.

But other than that, it was the perfect lazy Saturday, take a trip on the train, kinda day.

 

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The Dining Room

This is one looooong overdue post, but, get off my back, okay?!?! At least they’re here!!!

This, my friends, is Top Chef Michael Voltaggio’s amazing Dining Room at the Langham Pasadena.  The Chuckster took me for Valentines day this year, and I really, honestly had no idea where we were going until we headed North on the 605…Pasade…OHMYGOD ARE WE GOING TO THE DINING ROOM!!!!!! I couldn’t stand it, I was so excited.

And it lived up to every single hope I had.  From the waiter, to our sommelier, all the way to The Man, Chef V himself–everybody was warm, happy, welcoming, accomodating, and fantastic.  Just like the food, which I can honestly say is THE best meal I’ve ever had. 

I’ll give you the pics and their descriptions right off the menu, because I can’t do them any more justice than the man with the honey dipped hand, himself did. 

And so, I give you…

The Dining Room, by Michael Voltaggio

 Bacon Roll and Truffle Roll, served with French and Goat Cheese Butter

 

 

 Hendricks and Cucumber Cocktail Amuse

 

Octopus with Buttered Popcorn, Piquillo Confetti, Cilantro

 

Foie Gras with Apple, Saffron, Marcona Almond, Aerated Brioche

(The absolute BEST Foie Gras I’eve ever had in my life)

 

Langoustine with Young Fennel, Porcini Mushroom Lasagna

 

Kurobuta Pork Belly with Bok Choy “Kim Chi”, Kabocha Squash Preserves, Peanut Butter Noodles

 

 Pastrami Pigeon with Swiss Cheese, Sauerkraut, Rye

 

 

 Jameson Farm Lamb with Vadouvan, Nori-Spaghetti Squash, Yogurt, Fried Rice

    

Wagyu Short Rib with Smoked Potato “Tots”, Nantes Carrots, White Ketchup 

 

 

Chocolate Covered Strawberries 

 

 

 Lavender Flower Macaroon

Creme Fraiche Panna Cotta, Vanilla-Passion Sorbet, Floral Cotton Candy

 

 

Fools Gold

Chocoalte, Salty Hazelnut Praline, Milk Sorbet

 

Hapiness

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Bottega Louie

Um…I don’t know how to say this nicely, so I’m just gonna say it…

I HATE BOTTEGA LOUIE

Phew…I had to get that off my chest…I just…I don’t like the food. It’s just…generally…bland.  I mean, if you invite me, chances are good that I’ll go, get bourbon drunk, and never mention the fact that I’m choking on my chicken.  So…It’s not the worst meal I’ve ever had…I guess…

But look at these beautiful pictures!!!

Beet Salad

Carrots 

 Corn

 My best friend Robin’s crazy custom salad with no dressing, no salt, and only raw veggies.

 Lasagna

 Chicken…something…?

Ravioli

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Panini Cafe

I always forget about Panini Cafe. If you want a salad, and I mean, a good salad–a big salad–and a good cup of soup, Panini is there, just waiting for you.  It’s unassuming, it’s delicious, it’s hearty, and it’s worth every penny. And, almost more importantly, it’s the perfect place to take someone when you don’t know where to take someone.  It’s got a plethora of options; from salads, to sandwiches, to meat plates, to veggie plattters.  And the portions are huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuge. Even if they don’t look like it here.

 

Lentil Soup

Chicken Panini Salad

Salmon Salad

 

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Din Tai Fung

I thought I didn’t like Chinese food. I thought I didn’t like dumplings. I would now like to go back in time and slap the &%$* out of myself from 10 years ago for making me waste all the time I could’ve been eating dumplings.  Because, done right, they are SUBLIME. I mean, have you ever had soup dumplings? Because if you have, and you know me, and you didn’t come up to me and say “AK, soup dumplings are the most amazing food in the world. I mean, if you haven’t eaten them, you should slap yourself in the face, and immediately go eat ten of them.” If you did not say that to me, and you knew this secret amazingness, don’t tell me, because you will be dead to me. DEAD. So is the salty, sour, vinegary, gingery, warm, amazballs essence of Din Tai Fung in Arcadia

People, THIS SHIT IS GOOD.

Evidence:

Every week, there’s a different vegetable.

GET THESE green beans if they’re available.

The Wonton Soup is perfect with soy sauce and chili oil.

Steamed Pork Buns. Just…sigh…delicious…

The money shot: Juicy Pork Dumplings.

Vinegar, ginger shreds, chili pepper flakes, and soy dipping sauce.

Get out of my way, I will eat your fingers if they’re in my path.

Pork and Shrimp Shu Mai…soupy in the bottom, shrimpy on top. 

Perfect all around.

So good, I don’t want to eat anywhere else, ever.  But I’ll suffer through other meals, just to survive, until I get to go back.

THAT’S how good it is.

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La Cita

 

If ever you need a Bloody Mary around…oh…say, 5pm, then you’re in the mood for one place, and one place only.  That place is La Cita in Downtown LA

 

Sure, you’ll have to push your way through the seedy, rabble-rousing, nearly elderly group packed like cattle in the inside, dark as black-ink bar. But once you make your way to the bolted-down-tile-floored patio out back, you’re in a different world, baby. Just don’t start a fire, because the exits don’t work, and the fences are decorated with barbed-wire. For a reason that has nothing to do with hipster-chic.  

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Langer’s Deli

 

Believe it or not, I’d never been to Langer’s before yesterday. I wasn’t sure what to order, so our fine waitress suggested the #19, the most popular sandwich–a pastrami with cheese, coleslaw,  and Russian dressing. Sure…sounds good…but I was in the mood for something hot, crunchy and gooey.  So a grilled pastrami with sauerkraut it was. 

    And, it was one helluva sandwich, let me tell you.

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