Going to Los Angeles on a whirlwind trip to see a preview of Julie & Julia meant I also got to hang out with pals, and of course, eat. I didn't have much time, but I have to say, I squeezed in some pretty good meals. My choices were somewhat dictated by convenience, so they are all in pretty close proximity to Hollywood, which is where I was staying (without a car).
I arrived in LA just in time for lunch before a long afternoon poolside. The burger joint at the hotel, 25 Degrees, was better than I expected. The bun was freshly made and the right texture, the meat was very juicy and cooked rare, as I had requested it. I had the "number three" with mezzo secco jack, green chili, chipotle mayo and avocado. All the toppings made this burger very messy to eat, I think next time I would order a plain burger instead.
It also came with ridiculously good parmesan dusted sweet potato fries, crisp from the first fry to the last. I would have liked to try the Guinness milkshake but I had no room for it. Service was indifferent at best, which was all the more unfortunate since the food was so good.
Having just written a story on pizza for a magazine, my brain was totally fixated on getting a slice. Actually, I am fairly frequently fixated on pizza, just the way I'm wired, I suppose. I was particularly eager to try Pizzeria Mozza, having read about the Mario Batali and Nancy Silverton partnership since before it even opened. Fortunately I had enthusiastic diner and fellow blogger Kelly to accompany me. We dug into a variety of appetizers and each ordered a pizza as well.
My Margherita pizza was good, but it wasn't perfect. Having been to Naples, I can say I have tasted pizza perfection. While the toppings were fine, the crust was a bit too glutenous. Real Neapolitan pizza is light and puffy and crisp at the same time, but not overly chewy. Still, I enjoyed the pizza paired with a bubbly prosecco and it was a lively place to dine.
I heard some good things about a fairly new Mexican restaurant called Mexico Restaurante y Barra in West Hollywood and couldn't pass up the opportunity to be treated to dinner there. Matt came with me and we tried a lot of things on the menu. I had a one of the best margaritas ever, the "Silverrano" with Corzo Silver, muddled cucumber, serrano chiles and lime sour. It was tangy, smoky, spicy and at the same time refreshing. Just the thing to whet your appetite!
The quesadillas were very delicate and flaky with squash blossoms and poblano pepper filling and I couldn't stop eating the chunky guacamole. But the biggest hit of the evening was the Cilantro Cumin Carne Asada which came with with onions, avocado and escabeche. Each element was succulent and the seasoning was spot on. The portion was huge and Matt went home with leftovers. The place is like a party, very Mexican in an LA sort of way. In a word, fun!
Donuts & Pancakes
Who better to give me a tour of the Fairfax farmer's market than Amy Ephron? I've known Amy since I started writing for her site, One for the Table, almost two years ago. She grew up in LA and knows the stories behind so many of the vendors.
We swung by Bob's for an ethereal donut and to Du-pars for a full on breakfast where we ordered pancakes "for the table."
Amy was right. Those pancakes are the best thing ever, light, fluffy, flavorful, kind of like the Platonic ideal of a pancake. I rushed home hoping to find the recipe in my friend JoAnn's cookbook,LA's Original Farmer's Market Cookbook, but alas, the recipe is a trade secret. I guess that just means I'll have to go back for more...