Thursday, February 13, 2014

Bouchon Bistro

Thomas Keller is a genius. I did meet him once in person (*EEP!*) and he was nice and gracious. Going to The French Laundry is a big, big dream of mine ... as well as going to all his other restaurants in Yountville. However, there is a Bouchon Bistro in Beverly Hills and it's relatively easy and much cheaper to get my fix of his food there. Bouchon was a part of DineLA recently, so it was the perfect opportunity to make another visit.

salade de betteraves - roasted beets, Tom Thumb lettuce, orange suprêmes, red wine vinaigrette

soup du jour - carrot, crispy pepitas

coq au vin  - red wine  braised chicken, bacon lardons, button mushrooms, pearl onions, sauce au vin rouge

risotto aux champignons - wild mushrooms, parmesan foam

bouchons - valrhona chocolate brownies, Tahitian vanilla bean ice cream

tarte au citron - lemon tart

The meal was on the outdoor patio and of course, this "winter" in Los Angeles has been anything but. I think it's 80degrees today. Sorry, East Coast. Stay warm!

Bouchon Bistro
235 N Canon Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Baked Curried Cauliflower

I made this dish last night because I had a head of cauliflower sitting in the fridge and I needed a vegetable to go with dinner. My mind was blown. This ended up being the star of the meal, not the healthy-version orange chicken or the mapo tofu. It doesn't look like much ... but could not stop eating it. Mind blown. Go make it and I would suggest doubling the recipe because it is THAT good.

You could also just double the sauce of the recipe and add chicken, I'm thinking. It would be a great meal, and the curry sauce would be phenomenal chicken. I'm thinking some skinless, bone-in chicken thighs would work fantastically, maybe some of the chopped up ones that 99 Ranch sells. Brown it well and then add it to the sauce with the cauliflower ... just thinking about it is getting me excited!

Baked Curried Cauliflower
adopted from Christine's Recipes

1 large head cauliflower
2 Tbsp butter
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp curry powder
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp heavy whipping cream
2 tsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp water

Preheat oven to 395degrees. Put on a large water to boil. Wash cauliflower and cut into florets. Mix cornstarch and water in a small bowl.

Boil cauliflower in water for 3 minutes, then drain well. Heat a large pan over medium heat and melt butter. Once melted, add turmeric and curry and saute it until fragrant, which only takes a few seconds. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil. Continue to dimer until it reduces by 2/3, which takes about 5 minutes. Add cream and stir well to mix.

Add cauliflower back to pot and toss to coat well with sauce. Cook further for 5 minutes. Add the cornstarch mixture and cook until the sauce is nice and thick. Pour everything into an oven-proof dish and bake for 8 minutes. Serve with rice to soak up all that delicious sauce!

** The original recipe also calls for coconut milk, which I didn't have so I omitted it.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Le Ka Restaurant - An Xmas Party

Happy Christmas flashback in February! Our holiday party this year was at Le Ka, which opened in Downtown Los Angeles in September. Though they're the new kids on the block, they really got their act together quickly because the service was flawless. There's always a bit of confusion among the staff wherever we go because we have drink coupons that can sometimes be redeemed for different items instead of drinks, but they handled it well. We stopped having an open bar with no limitations after our first year, when people were ordering $125 glasses of wine.

baby kale salad, goat cheese, medjool dates, green beans, grapefruit, pumpkin seeds

roasted baby beets, burrata, spiced pistachios, pickled shallots

course 3 - oven roasted branzino, heirloom tomatoes, fennel & citrus salad

course 3 - wild mushroom risotto, grana padano, truffle essence

dessert - sweet cream panna cotta, caramel apples, pie crust crumbles

dessert - chocolate cremeux, passionfruit rum sauce, cocoa crumble, sesame brittle

drink coupon latte

I must admit, I was pretty impressed with the food. I had low expectations after going to Mas Malo for two years in a row (how can a Mexican restaurant claim to run out of chips?!). Everything was very fresh and well prepared, especially the beets (since I generally despise beets). The only quip I have is that the rum was way too heavy in the chocolate cremeux; the panna cotta was way better.

I've returned to the restaurant a couple more times, both for late night desserts and for happy hour. Head down and check it out for yourself!

Le Ka Restaurant
800 W Sixth St, Los Angeles, CA 90017