Happy New Year everyone! Hope you're well rested and ready for 2011. I'm not much of a New Year's resolution type person because any day is a great day to make changes in your life, so why wait until New Year's right? Buttt, if I really had to make New Year's resolution, it would be to take life one day at a time, don't sweat the small stuff. Everything will work out for the best! It always does.
I'm gonna start the New Year with a post from one of my favorite cities to visit, L.A! I love L.A. partly because it is so over the top, but mainly because I can always count on my cousin H to show me a great time.
On my last visit, we met up at The Bazaar in Beverly Hills for dinner. We got reservations to eat at the bar, and had an awesome and exciting meal full of ooh's and ahh's as each dish came out.
José Andrés is the man behind The Bazaar, and is known for bringing the small plates concept to the US. In addition to his endless awards, he also trained at El Bulli early on in his career.
The food at The Bazaar is a combination of both traditional and avant garde Spanish tapas.
Our exciting meal began with a "Salt Air" Margarita, a traditional margarita with salt foam. It was good but a little on the strong side. Their cocktails may seem expensive at first glance but you're paying for the alcohol and the creativity that goes along with it.
My favorite dish of the night was the “Philly cheesesteak”, air bread filled with gooey cheddar, and topped with thin slices of Wagyu beef. Not only was it delicious, but it was fun to eat too.
My second favorite dish of the night was the Organized Caesar with quail egg and shredded Parmesan. It doesn't look like a Caesar salad and you don't eat it like one, but it tasted exactly like one! Each roll was wrapped with a thin slice of jicama.
The Japanese taco was grilled eel, shiso, wasabi, chicharron, with a cucumber taco shell.
The embutidos platter was a combination of chorizo, lomo, salchichon. My favorite was the lomo, shaved pork tenderloin.
The fermin platter consisted of Jamón Serrano Fermin (dry cured ham), Jamón Ibérico Fermin (dry cured, free-range Ibérico ham), and Jamón Ibérico de bellota Fermin (the finest free-range Ibérico ham, acorn-fed). There were slight differences in textures between each ham, and no doubt, Jamón Ibérico de bellota was the best.
The two meat platters were served with a Catalan style toasted bread with tomato.
The papas canarias is another dish I recommend. Salty potatoes served with mojo verdé. The potatoes were boiled in sea salt water, and the sauce had a fresh cilantro taste.
"The ultimate Spanish tapa!" is a traditional Spanish potato salad (ensaladilla rusa) with potatoes, carrots, mayo, and tuna belly. I'm not a huge mayo fan so it wasn't quite the ultimate tapa for me.
The Ottoman carrot fritters were awesome! They were served with apricots, and a pistachio sauce.
The croquetas de pollo (chicken and bechamel fritters) tasted kinda like chicken pot pie in fritter form.
The great thing about sitting at the bar is that you get to see what goes on behind the scenes. At one point in the night, a lady was making liquid olives as we all watched with amazement. Noticing us, she asked if we wanted to try some. YEAAAA, of course we want some! :)
The liquid olives were AMAZING. They burst apart the moment it enters the mouth, resulting in a rush of fresh olive puree. I could sit there and eat a big plate of these if I could.
At this point, I was insanely full, and didn't get to enjoy the watermelon tomato skewers the way I wanted to. The skewers were served with Pedro Ximénez reduction and lemon dressing.
The last dish was the tortilla de patatas "new way". Slow cooked egg at 63C, potato foam and caramelized onions served in a real egg shell.
After dinner, we were moved to The Patisserie for dessert. It was a cute little area, but it was isolated from the rest of the restaurant and we found the service rather slow.
H had the creamy chocolate heart with coffee and cardamom. It was good but it didn't wow us like the tapas dishes did.
I had the Greek yogurt panna cotta with apricots and muscat gelatin. Their desserts are good but if you're not a huge dessert person, I would skip it and stick to the tapas.
There were other dishes that I wanted to try like the fois gras cotton candy but I was way too stuffed. Check out this blog post by blogger Caroline on Crack for some other cool dishes.
The Bazaar (SLS Hotel)
465 South La Cienega Boulevard
Los Angeles, California, USA