Sunday, November 29, 2009

FoodDigger Dinner @ Bond Street (Beverly Hills)


The head chef of Bond St. Chef Brian Redzikowski

Bond Street, a restaurant unknown to me until I read a few fellow LA bloggers' review of the Beverly Hill's location earlier this fall (ie: this wonderful review by the lovely Gastronomyblog). However, when I was extended an invitation by the wonderful crew at FoodDigger, I was definitely intrigued to try the menu at Bond Street. Especially with the impressive resume Chef Brian Redzikowski had previously (Think Le Bernardin and Joel Robuchon in Las Vegas)


Flavor Match

Courtesy of kevinEats

Before the meal starts, we were given an updated Flavor Match system that's been refined on the FoodDigger website. Even though we were introduced an earlier model of the Flavor Match system, the one presented during the Bond Street dinner was definitely more refined, and it's one of the nice system used to determine if you'd "trust" another reviewer's taste buds. There are 12 different questions to answer, so give it a try on FoodDigger.


Menu for the night (courtesy of kevinEats)


1. Prosecco Sangria (edible)

This was quite a nice dish, although I'm not sure the timing was something I'd agree with. The tart flavor was definitely a palate cleansor, but I'd probably prefer this more as a dessert.


2. Quail Egg - canadian chanterelles, parsley, prosciutto
Theo Minges 2007 Riesling Germany

This was quite a delicious and interesting dish. I definitely enjoyed the quail egg and prosciutto in this multi-layered "shot glass" of a dish. Similar to a hamachi shooter found in a Japanese restaurant, but much more complex. Quite nice!


3. Foie Gras - spiced rice crispy treat, yogurt in 3 forms
Palari Faro 2003 Spain

Although the foie gras wasn't the dominant ingredient in this particular dish (the rice crispy treat was), the foie gras was done in a way I've never had it before. Sugary, slightly tart from the yogurt chip, although not my favorite rendition of foie gras I've had, it's a quite good.


4. Alaskan King Crab - in its butter, preserved meyer lemon
Zuiyo Junmai Sake

I love all seafood, especially the crustacean variety, so of course, I thoroughly enjoyed this dish. The essence of the crab is definitely noticeable, and the hint of the meyer lemon adds a nice touch.


5. Santa Barbara Spot Prawn - ravioli, beets, ultra mini onion, red pepper jus
Le Grand Vallon Condrieu 2007 France

This dish reminded me of a shrimp wonton in chili oil (found often at Chinese restaurants). The shrimp tasted fresh and succulent, definitely a tasty dish. The onions accented the dish quite well.


6. Halibut - parsley, garlic, beurre rouge
Louis Latour 2006 Montagny Premier Cru France

Next, we were presented with a lovely halibut filet cooked via sous vide (made famous by Thomas Keller). The fish was tender and delicious, one of the better preparation of halibut I've had. The compressed eggs definitely added a nice creamy texture to this dish. I enjoyed this quite a bit!


7. Japanese Bouillabaisse - lobster, squid, uni rouille
Le Galantin Rose Bandol 2008

Wow, simply wow. Probably my favorite dish of the night. The red pepper based broth was pour upon a melody of seafood, what's better than that? This was a dish I heard of prior to my visit and I was glad I was able to enjoy it as well. Definitely a must order dish if you're heading to Bond Street.


8. "Vietnamese Sandwich" - baguette, pork, pickled carrots
Singha Beer

Vietnamese sandwich, aka banh mi is something I'm quite familiar with living in the SGV. Heck, even something I've enjoyed as an Undergrad student at UC Davis. While delicious, the version made by Chef Redzikowski wasn't memorable. Although I do give him a lot of credit adding this dish to our tasting menu. It shows he's willing to go outside his comfort zone to prepare new dishes for his clientele.


9. Sonoma Lamb Shoulder - potato puree, carrot-ginger "cappuccino"
Txakoli Xarmant Spain

The lamb, one of my favorites in terms of things to eat. In this preparation, it was done very well. The meat was tender and not gamey, which may bother some detractors of lamb eaters. The carrot-ginger foam added a nice touch to the dish and the potato puree completes the dish quite nicely.


10. Mochi Donuts - candied rhubarb, yogurt, coconut ice cream

If the Japanese Bouillabaisse was my favorite dish of the night, the mochi donut was definitely my favorite dessert of the night. I was lucky enough that Marshal of FoodDigger is on a diet as I was given most of his dessert (along with most of the tasting menu). The mochi donut could have been served alone, but with the addition of the coconut ice cream, it just made it THAT much better. A simply wonderful dessert. A must order!


11. "Mango Lassi" - tradition flavors

The mango lassi, one of the classic Indian drink made out of fresh mango and yogurt. In Redzikowski's version, he used mango chips, mango gelatin, in a yogurt based sauce. I'm not sure I enjoyed it as much as the previous dessert, but it's definitely more refreshing.


"Bazooka Joe" - on the rocks

This last dish shows off Chef Redzikowski's playful side. A drink that taste of bubble gum, very nice. A "curry" infused popcorn that was quite addicting, and inside the box was a Strawberry bon-bon. Very nice.

All in all, a fantastic night. Thanks again to FoodDigger and the great people that head it (Marshal, Brian, and Will). Also, a wonderful job by Chef Brian Redzikowski and staff for a great night and great job cooking the menu. With Redzikowski at the helm, I'm sure Bond Street will gain great acclaim over time in Los Angeles joining the big boys in town. I'll be interested in going back and trying some new dishes, as well as some of my favorites from the FoodDigger dinner.

For more pictures, please check out the slideshow below:

BondSt @ The Thompson Hotel
9360 Wilshire Boulevard
Beverly Hills, CA 90212
(310) 601-2255

Bond St at the Thompson Hotel in Los Angeles

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Midori Sushi - Not Another Onami or "To-Die" aka Todai (Encino)


What I realized from listening to blog readers and writers was that most people don't actually read all the writing in a post. Me, being a lazy ass that I am (Cathy of Gastronomyblog can attest), will try this review as a quote on quote, photo review. Yes, for me, pictures equal 1000 words.

YellowtailHamachi Collaryellowtail? Forgot405 RollVarious Hand RollsOno, White Fish, Yellowtail

The menu at Midori is pretty extensive for an all you can eat sushi buffet. Supposedly, you have only 1 hour to eat as much sushi as you can for $20.95 for lunch and $25.95 for dinner and all day during the weekends. However, I've never seen them enforce the time and we've always left as full as you can possibly imagine. Now, the quality won't ever be Urasawa level, nor will it even be even as good as Hide Sushi (My first sushi experience in LA, in fact, my first ever meal in Los Angeles), but for what it is, it's pretty good.

I'm starting to write too much, but at Midori, you have a choice of various appetizers (get the yellowtail collar (hamachi kama)), nigiri sushi (raw fish on top of rice), hand rolls (I'd recommend spicy shrimp or spicy scallop), and a wide variety of rolls (Western style). Bring your appetite and expect a better sushi buffet than Onami and Todai. There are 3 locations in the greater San Fernado Valley. Cheers!

For more pictures, check out the slideshow below:

Midori Sushi
17047 Ventura Blvd
Encino, CA 91316
(818) 995-0888

Midori Sushi in Los Angeles

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Palace BBQ - Oldie but Goodie (Sunnyvale)


Before I moved to Los Angeles, before I got involved with Yelp, and before I got into food so much that my friends has started calling me a "food snob (I prefer foodie)," Palace BBQ was my introduction to Korean BBQ. From my mom, my college buddies, former buddies, etc, Palace was the place for us Nor Cal people to hit up for some AYCE (all you can eat) action in the Silicon Valley. (On a side note, I really miss the gloomy weather of Nor Cal. The weather in LA is too...perfect?)


As the picture above shows, the lunch time prices are fairly similar to the ones found in Koreatown in Los Angeles. However, the dinner prices can be as high as $25.99 during weekends sans any additional soju or hite beer you may order. Pricey? Probably. Tet, with the lack of AYCE Korean BBQ establishments in Nor Cal, what can you expect? Supply vs. Demand I guess. Onto the meat!

Dining RoomGrillBest Meat at PalaceShort Rib w/boneCookingCooking

I could have showed the various meat located at the meat bar (instead of having the meat brought to you like most of the LA restaurants, you actually get the meat yourself at the meat buffet bar), but the best meat there is the kalbi. Not the usual "LA kalbi" found in most restaurants, but this is the bone-in kalbi. Sadly, it's only offered during dinner, as being the good Asians we were, we only ate the kalbi. Multiple plates later, we finished off the night with some octopus and marinated squid. The kalbi was delicious. One of the better meat found at any AYCE KBBQ around.

All in all, Palace BBQ is a truly solid Korean BBQ experience. Besides the meat bar, there is also a panchan, hot cooked Chinese/Korean bar, and a salad/dessert station as well. Sadly, I was too hungry to bring my dSLR over to those stations as I was concentrating with the food. While Palace probably won't stand out compared to the Yi Ssi Hwa Ro or the Road To Seoul of the world here in LA, for a fun experience on the streets of El Camino Real in Sunnyvale, you could do a lot worse than Palace BBQ.

A shoutout to all of my buddies in Nor Cal, the better part of California. Go Kings!

1092 E El Camino Real # 1
Sunnyvale, CA 94087-3777
(408) 554-9292

Palace BBQ in San Francisco

Friday, November 6, 2009

Update for TGIF!

Before I jet *ahem* drive up to San Francisco for the FoodBuzz Festival at various locations and sampling various cuisines from Nor Cal, I want to spread the word about an event to those that are staying local (aka Los Angeles area).

From Pleasure Palate's blog:

Heritage Square Museum -
40 Years of Preservation Celebrated at the Historic San Antonio Winery

On Saturday, November 7, the Heritage Square Museum will host a very special 40th Anniversary Fundraiser and Luncheon at the historic San Antonio Winery. This event will help raise critical funds for Heritage Square Museum to continue for another 40 years. The Fundraiser begins at 1:30 p.m. and ends at 4:30 p.m. Honorary Event Chair, Councilman Ed Reyes, District One, will be in attendance and making a special presentation.

For more information:

Heritage Square Museum 40th Anniversary Fundraiser
Saturday, November 7, 2009 from 1:30 pm - 4:30 pm
San Antonio Winery
737 Lamar Street
Los Angeles, CA 90031
Tickets are $125.00

Until then, to all the bloggers that are going to the FoodBuzz event in San Franscisco, I'll see you all there!

As a sidenote, recently I guest blogged a review on Gourmet Pig's website, feel free to read it here if you have not. Until then, have a good weekend everyone!