Celebrating New Year's in style
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Celebrating New Year's in style
Saturday, December 13, 2008
almonds, radicchio, estate oranges, green goddess dressing
2007 Everett Ridge Sauvignon Blanc, Dry Creek Valley
Friday, November 28, 2008
However, our head-count started to dwindle the night of, as one cousin had a work engagement, one had to bow out last minute due to a stomach bug, and then another left early in the meal for the same reason. (Our New York cousins have promised to make it up to us with an excursion to L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon when we take a trip to New York in May. We forgive them.)
Even though our spirits were down after the sudden turn of events, the rest of us gathered in a corner booth in the semi-enclosed outdoor seating on the Sunset Strip for a shared culinary experience. With Giada De Laurentiis eating nearby and other B-list celebrities roaming about, we had high expectations for this new culinary and celebrity hot spot.
Before we get to the meal, it's important to know how the XIV ("Fourteen") dining experience works: Every selection on the menu is a small dish, prepared for the entire table, each for $8 per person. So, aside from a vegetarian option here and there, we each enjoyed the same dish at each course, beginning with the complementary pre-appetizer below:
aroma from France
The other great thing about this unique dessert was that we each had our own serving so we didn’t have to fight over it. Genius! All desserts should be served this way.
Verdict? This is the 4th Michael Mina restaurant that we have visited, and there were some definitely some hits and misses. First, we weren’t quite sold on the concept behind the individual tasting portions and everyone being served the same dish. Although there was a vegetarian option for each small plate, if a few people aren’t sold on a dish then the rest of the party can’t really order it. In addition, because it took so long to plate small dishes for 7 people, some of the hot food arrived lukewarm. Another miss was that the partially covered outdoor patio was up against the sunset strip and there was a lot of street noise - I would recommend sitting in the beautifully designed interior. Although some of the dishes were impressive, there was still much to be desired. Hopefully in time XIV will iron out some of the kinks and join the ranks of Michael Mina’s other fine establishments.
Friday, October 10, 2008
Friday, October 3, 2008
For those of you who read our blog, you know that we never voluntarily decide to order salad. Never. It’s just not how we roll. But Burma Superstar is known for their Tea Leaf salad - and rightly so. It’s is a combination of flavors and textures so unique, that it’s one of those dishes that you yearn for after you’ve tasted it just once. It consists of fermented Burmese tea leaves, lettuce, dried shrimp, fried garlic, tomatoes, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, peanuts, split yellow peas, jalapenos, and a squeeze of lemon. It’s a flavor unlike any other. And hey, at least it gets us to eat our veggies.
The Rainbow salad is also another favorite, made up of a whopping 22 ingredients. Bean thread noodles, 2 kinds of rice noodles, wheat noodles, green papaya, fried tofu, sesame rice, fried onions, white potatoes, dried shrimp, cilantro, fried wantons, a ton of fried garlic, and tamarind dressing – just to name a few. Your taste buds literally dance. Indescribable.
PUMPKIN SHRIMP STEW
BUN TAY KAUSWER (Coconut Chicken Flour Noodle Curry)
Flour noodles with coconut curry sauce, split yellow pea, eggs, cabbage, and fried onions Burma Superstar also has a wide variety of Burmese curries and other savory dishes. This time, we settled on the pumpkin and shrimp curry, which although a bit one dimensional after the salads, was still hearty and satisfying. We also had a tasty noodle dish with a delicate curry sauce and more of those awesome fried onions. Although both were good in their own right, it’s really the salads that always make our face light up and our taste buds drool when we think of Burma Superstar.
Friday, August 29, 2008
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Although the lamb was cooked and seasoned perfectly, what really made this dish unique was the use of pureed and braised sunflower seeds. The nuttiness and creaminess of the seeds went very well with the sweet-spiced lamb. The colorful potatoes, petals, and vertical nest added a nice visual element.
One of the highlights of the night, this dish was an utter explosion of flavors and textures. It is truly impossible to describe – just read the description and try and imagine each component of the dish, all blending together on your to tongue in glorious harmony. An absolute sensory culinary experience.
Apparently Alinea’s version of a petit four was this bite - a fragrant Tahitian vanilla been coated with custard and cherries, all wrapped in a blanket of hardened cashew sugar. It was good, but didn’t come close to the above dessert.
As we were leaving, we were also presented with a goodie bag of lemon Madelines for breakfast the next day, thereby extending our fantastic meal. Alinea certainly was the most creative and interesting meal we have experienced to date (and the most expensive), but totally worth it.