But because my work takes me to Los Angeles a couple times a year, I am determined to find a inspiring connection and for me it is FOOD.
The last couple of trips to LA, I've made a point to get restaurant referrals from my foodie friends here in Hawaii. So last year, I was able to go to acclaimed celebrity chef, Suzanne Goin's AOC Wine Bar and Restaurant and thoroughly enjoyed it. Sat at the bar next to a porno director and his wife - so pretentious!
Earlier this year, I got to have breakfast & brunch (once at their nextdoor counter & at the actual restaurant for Saturday Brunch) at JGelina in Venice and loved the food, atmosphere and service. So I am slowly warming up to Los Angeles and giving it a chance into my foodie life.
This past Tuesday, I was able to get a reservation to Mario Batali's popular "Osteria Mozza" with executive chef Nancy Silverton really leading it. So reservations were made on OpenTable.com, but the only time I could get a table was 9:15pm, I booked it anyway, and went early at 8:00pm to try to get in. And I did on the Mozzarella Bar, which I think is the best seat in the house, especially when eating by yourself, because you really are not by yourself.
I was so pleasantly surprised to see Nancy Silverton herself, working the bar, not as the expediter, but as a line chef filling orders. Now that is a class act! She moved and interacted with staff, chefs and guests with much grace & ease. She did not act as the boss, but as one of the line team. When dishes needed fixing to comply with her standards, she just spoke to her co-worker as a coach and showed them how it should be. I really give her so much respect, I was there for 2.5 hours and she worked the entire time and the place was hopping. WOW! I think that is one of the reasons she is called America's mozza master.
Let me start with the Mozzarella Bar, is not part of the drink bar, but a bar where all of the cheese and antipasti is prepared. The bar is a marble counter bar filled with ingredients that is used in the primi dishes - salt, braised leeks, hazelnuts, a pepper shaker (one that everyone on the line shares), plates, milk glass vases of seasonal white flowers, and brass figurines of ducks, insects, pigs, on it - I just loved it. It felt like how her kitchen at home would be.
Before I go into what I ate, the service was delightful and easy. Everyone that served me was personable and helpful - 5 stars for service, atmosphere and food!
So this is what I had:
|I started with a glass of Italian rose. I believe it was from Tuscany and was recommended by my waitress.|
|This was my pre-appetizer, a crostini with fresh ricotta, tapenade and fresh basil. It was fresh, light, simple, delicious and a great palate opener. The ricotta was lemony with a smooth milky texture.|
|I was so full by the time it came for dessert, but I could not say no, so I had the Poached Yali Pears Almond Gelato with Toasted Almonds and baked pieces of crispy puffed pastry.|
|I had to purchase the Mozza Cookbook and asked Nancy if she could sign it for me and she did graciously.|
I will have to blog about the first recipe I make from this wonderful cookbook.
I would recommend Osteria Mozza and please, please sit at the Mozzarella Bar, you will love it. And say "Hi" to Nancy for me!