Sunday, September 23, 2007

A new favorite!

I picked up a copy of Tastes of Italia to read while lounging by the pool on a crystal clear day in Palm Springs. Let me think.. a glass of wine, a great food rag and someone new playing softly in the background.I keep listening, racking my brain for the name of this singer. Can't figure it out so I ask the bartender. He tells me "Everyone asks, it's Jane Monheit". What rock have I been under?? I all know is it can't get much better than that on a lazy Saturday afternoon.

Flying out this Friday to Hi for a long weekend ('s work) and back Monday eve. Behind as usual with posting, and I actually have plenty to post on. That damn time factor kills me. Hope you enjoy Jane as much as I did!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

It's a matter of taste

How can anyone not love sushi??? I do! There are those occasions it's not as fresh, traditional, creative as you'd hoped. Ahh...but then there are the times when the moment it melts onto your tongue the clouds part and the angels sing. I experienced just that Thursday afternoon @ Matsuhisa in Beverly Hills.
Nobu Matsuhisa opened his first US restaurant in Alaska. After loosing everything to a fire, he came to Los Angeles, opened Matsuhisa and the rest is history. Matsuhisa fathered the famous Nobu in NYC, and now several sister locations dotting the globe. Robert DeNiro is his longtime partner.

I had a lunch date with a client. He asked if I like sushi....was he joking?? He said he was going to treat me to something incredible and he was right. Mike bought me the Nobu cookbook a couple of years ago and sad to say I've merely toyed with it, browsing the pages, making a shopping list then setting it all aside. For me, it's not only a time thing, but who will eat it? My boys are the obvious candidates but are rarely home. That's the center of food and cooking isn't it? Feeding and sharing a meal with people we care about.

We started with Edamame & Red Miso Soup. Sometimes the simplest fare requires the most attention to get it right. This was outstanding. The edamame was sprinkled with a red salt. Hawaiian possibly? Regardless, it was enough to strike a note with me that this was going to be very good. The soup was no different. The deep rich flavor of the seaweed and just the right amount of miso. I'm amazed by the difference in quality when it comes to miso. My pallet is not as discerning as I'd like it to be, but I do recognize when the best ingredients are used. It's all about quality.

We moved on to Yellowtail Jalapeno. What rock have I been under???? This was incredible! No thick slabs of fish, but thin translucent slices of yellowtail topped with a shaving of jalapeno and drizzeled with ponzu. It was intoxicating. Before I could fully appreciate each bite, it melted away. Next we ordered Baby Abalone with asparagus, spring onions and light garlic sauce. The sauce was perfect. The ingredients glistened without floating in the sauce. Everything was in balance, without one ingredient overwhelming the other. Heaven.....
We moved on...A Soft Shell Crab Spring Roll. Everything wrapped neatly in rice paper and flashed fried. It was served pre-cut and sitting on a dollop of spicy cream sauce.

It is evident Nobu was far beyond his time when creating inovative yet approachable dishes. It was just right. When it comes to the new hot sushi place, the creativity factor can be over the top and dilute the experience. Not here. Nothing pretencious, just the highest quality ingredients with all the experimentation out of the way. I was surprised at how reasonable it was to! Next time you're in L.A., anywhere near La Cienega & Wilshire, GO!

Edamame $4
Red Miso Soup $5
Yellow Tail $20
Baby Abalone $15
Soft Shell Crab $17

All of these were more than enough for two. Love to hear from anyone that knows of an O.C. establishment that can rival this!