Sunday, August 26, 2012

Los Angeles Food & Wine: Richard Blais & Lexus Grand Tasting

Only in its second year, Los Angeles Food & Wine had already become one of the most highly anticipated events in the city - mainly for having the power to draw high profile chefs from around the country, to a series of themed cooking and tasting events over four days (August 9-12). 

This year I was excited to get a press pass to two of those events on Sunday: a cooking demo with Richard Blais of Top Chef fame, and the Lexus Grand Tasting .  There aren't many things I would wake up at an ung*dly hour of morning on weekends for, but I set three alarms to make sure I got to the cooking demo downtown at the JW Marriott at L.A. Live.  And it was well worth it - on reality TV shows, clearly editing plays a big part in shaping 'characters'. So it was fantastic to get a sense of the 'real' Richard Blais in person - who turned out to be hilarious! While showing how to put together a hamachi dish, he opened up the floor to any questions
from the crowd, kicking things off with "If you are wondering about the's equal parts duck fat and liquid nitrogen". 

We heard a little bit about his restaurant, Spence, in Atlanta, and as he demonstrated different techniques with elements of his hamachi creation - we also got to sample a tomato pate fruit that was refreshing and delicious.

And though we didn't get to taste the actual final product, it was an absolutely beautiful dish - there were so many components I couldn't even take notes fast enough, but if memory serves correctly, it was a hamachi sashimi wrapped in cucumber, with fried clams (freshly shucked with liquid nitrogen), olive oil "pearls" (ice cream flash frozen with liquid nitrogen), and dill (which chef described as "oceanic" and a bit "like the Jackie O of herbs, so elegant, simple and beautiful" - love the quotable Blais!). 

Right after, I headed down to the tent in the LA Live event space for the big Lexus Grand Tasting.  The setup was essentially the same as last year's but I was happy to see many more food stations.  Instead of an Amex lounge this year they had a Delta one (where they were giving out lanyards that you can use to hang your wine glass around your neck - sad I missed those, they ran out by the time I got there).

There were many delicious bites/sips to be had from the 30 chefs' booths + 300 wineries - much of it was a blur in the race to sample as much as I could within the 3 hour hopefully I captured names and ingredients correctly, but apologies in advance if not!

One of my favorite things about these tasting events is that you get to sample bites from a wide variety of high caliber restaurants, ones you may not have been quite ready to commit to a full meal yet, and ones from other cities that you might want to consider on your next visit.

So my first stops were at booths of restaurants I've been meaning to try.  I was drawn to the Rivera booth by their cute displays of savory looking cones.  There were two kinds when I got there, one that was filled with salmon tartare and sesame (which was SO tasty with its perfect balance of lush smooth bites of fish with the crunch of sesame and cone), and the other with some sort of salad topped by pumpkin seeds.
Mercato di Vetro served up a lamb merguez sausage sandwich (really more of a wrap or taco) - a hearty bite with bit of heat, super juicy with a slight char.  Loved. 

Their other offering was one of my favorites at the show - a tomato gazpacho with liquid nitrogen frozen lime and basil sorbet, in a plastic shot glass.  In the summer heat, this was the perfect sample to serve - it was life-savingly cool and refreshing, and instantly addictive (I shamelessly went back for I think 5 before I lost count...)  I sincerely hope that they sell these at the restaurant by the pitcher, because I need a fix NOW and I will easily down that amount in one sitting.   

A restaurant that I will probably never be able to afford, Nobu served up one of the best bites of yellowtail I've ever had.  It made me ecstatic (that I got to try it) and sad (that it probably won't happen again until the next LAFW) at the same time.
The Lodge at Pebble Beach brought a well balanced plate of grilled cheese with pork belly and tomato gazpacho 
Post Ranch Inn had one of the most photogenic tables with their wagyu beef with compressed watermelon and edible flowers (they were tasty bites too!)
Searsucker (I had a lovely meal there on my last trip to San Diego, which I've yet to blog about!) wins for most generous serving, with a lobster roll that is gigantic in size and flavor.  I only wished I had more stomach space - I wouldn't have been able to stop eating these...
MB Post had a lamb belly with pickled peaches that was good, though not mind-blowing and just a bit too chewy and overseasoned...
The Plumed Horse (Saratoga & Los Gatos, CA) was all about a classic, well executed: braised beef short rib so tender and flavorful, made transcendent when paired with a perfectly creamy polenta.
Of all the exhibitors, the one that definitely raised eyebrows (mine, at least) was Playboy Mansion - I had no idea they were a source of Food & Wine caliber dining and was curious to see what they would be sampling.  The answer should have been obvious - and lends itself to bad puns, of course: lamb tartare (i.e. raw meat) with pickled onions, on brioche bread.  The lamb was edible, but the bread was not.  They also served a compressed watermelon 'salad' with balsamic vinegar.  Let's just say that I don't think people are going to Playboy Mansion for the food anyway...but fun to have checked out their offerings at the show - curiosity satisfied.
It wasn't until later into the event that my truffle radar kicked in, and I spotted the WP Catering booth with Jidori Chicken, Corn Ravioli and *fresh shaved truffle*!!!!  The entire tower was delicious, but I especially (shockingly, I know) loved the truffle topping the most. 
WP Catering also had the most interesting+fun+tasty dessert plates at the show - Sticky Toffee Pudding with Stout Ice Cream, Gooseberry and a piece of chocolate imprinted with a QR code with a 'secret message'.  In the rush for food and drink, I didn't get a chance to download a QR code scanner app to find out what the message was - do share if you were at the show and got to check it out!
Chef Celestino Drago was personally greeting guests and serving them pasta with *fresh shaved truffle* (they had a giant display of gorgeous truffles that they almost had to pry my fingers - and nose - away from) at the Drago Centro table. 
Campanile had a lovely rich fatty piece of smoked salmon wrapped around goat cheese
...and a fantastic chipotle brownie bite with maple bacon ice cream!  Sweet with a bit of heat in the brownie paired nicely with the sweet / porcine saltiness of the ice cream.

Akasha peach cobbler with whipped cream and red currants - loved the clean flavors and perfectly ripe peaches and the unexpected pop of red currants.
Another fun dessert was served up personally at The Gorbals booth by chef Ilan Hall (Top Chef season 2 and Time Machine Chefs) - snow cones, a kid dish made upscale/adult with toppings of smoked marshmallow and maple bacon tapioca. 
While sampling all the food at the event, many people noted how the flatware was really convenient as you could cut through food with the side of the fork versus having to juggle forks and knives and plates while trying to find perch space at the communal tables.  This is the work of event sponsor Knork, which provided all the silverware at the event - these are apparently specially designed - forks have a bevelled edge which makes it easier for cutting, and curved tines which makes it easier for scooping up food (so it's like a fork with some knife and spoon benefits!).  At the event they gave out plastic versions of their knorks as samples, and ran a contest inviting people to take and tweet pics of the knork next to their favorite dish at the show for a chance to win a 20 piece set of silverware. Fun! (They also very kindly gave me a 'real' knork to take home - thanks guys!)
Aside from celebrity chef / restaurant booths, Lexus also had their own featured corner resting space, set up to look like a southern style front porch complete with whitewashed wood panels and rocking chairs.  In that space there was also a bar where they served vodka/whiskey cocktails.  I had a Mint Julep which was made pretty with a perfect little sprig of mint, but which definitely showed they didn't skimp on alcohol there - it was pretty strong. 

Speaking of alcohol - you'd think from the focus of my post so far that it's a purely food event - but no there were tons of wines and champagne on pour - I'm just not as big of a wine drinker, so didn't really spend a lot of time at those booths.  But champagne I love (as do others, apparently - these boths are always first to run out), and hit up several including Perrier Jouet.  Beer fans could also hit up the Stella area for beers on tap and souvenir glasses - it was a nice way to cool off in the heat.

I do still wish that event organizers would make the Grand Tastings run a bit longer so that it would feel less of a race to sample everything (especially for those who are paying $150 for admussion to feel like they've had time to get their money's worth, at a less stressful pace) But all in all, a fantastic afternoon celebrating some of the best food and drink that LA has to offer.  Can't wait til next year's event!

[To see more photos from Los Angeles Food and Wine events, visit my Facebook page]


Los Angeles Food & Wine

Richard Blais Cooking Demo
Sunday August 12, 2012 10:30am-11:45am
Diamond Ballroom - JW Marriot at L.A. Live
Admission: $50

Lexus Grand Tasting 2012
Sunday August 12, 2012 12pm-3pm General Admission, 11am VIP early entry
L.A. Live - Event Deck
800 W. Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90015
General Admission: $150

Sunday, August 19, 2012

1MB Travels: Singapore: Halia at the Singapore Botanic Gardens

One of our favorite things that we did in Singapore this past holiday was a lovely, soul-soothing afternoon spent wandering through the Singapore Botanic Gardens.

Lush greenery and all sorts of exotic flowers thrive in Singapore's tropical climate - and while I know I'm often prone to dramatization, a stroll through the Botanic Gardens really felt like getting to walk through some scale model of the Garden of Eden - for free. 

It was lucky for my dad and I not to have visited this place back when cameras required film - we would have killed several hundred dollars' worth, each.  As it was, we maxed out our iPhone camera storage, and memory cards in our cameras. I won't make you scroll through the pile here, but just a few highlights, then we'll get to the food...yes in the gardens!
The only part of the areas we visited that charged admission was the Orchid Garden (SG$5 ~US $4). It was well worth the nominal fee - they have a whole orchid lab on site here and a huge (hundreds?) variety of orchids for viewing in the greenhouse - which was set up so that you got an 'escapist' experience where you felt like you were in some far away tropical rainforest, but were really only a few convenient minutes away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

The orchids were so perfect it almost seemed impossible that they were real. But they were!
This little nook brought back memories for me - my parents used to have wallpaper in their bedroom made from a seamless 360 photo of a rainforest with waterfalls/streams just like this.  My brother and I (I was 5 I think and he was 3) used to sit on my parents' bed and make up stories of adventures we'd have in that rainforest, or creatures that we thought lived there.  This corner of the orchid garden was on a much much smaller scale, and my brother wasn't with us on the trip - but that lil patch of nature was gorgeous, and me and my 5 year old self quietly stood in awe and love of its humble beauty.
After wandering the grounds a while (and managing to avoid getting soaked by Singapore's 'surprise' rain showers that come and go without warning), we stopped by Halia Restaurant, in the Ginger Garden - for an afternoon tea break.

A white-linened dining spot with an airy, semi-covered patio to provide shade while offering full views of the surrounding, beautiful plant life in the gardens - it's not your old school snack shack designed for kids on field trips, but an elegant resort-like space where you can enjoy fine dining fare.  For afternoon tea, there is a prix fixe premium tea set, and delicious menu of a la carte desserts, which have their own wine pairings! Or right on theme, you can have mocktails or non-alcoholic drinks that make use of the ginger from the garden.  We got a trio of ginger focused drinks: Gunner (SG$10 ~ US $8) ginger beer, ginger ale, bitters, Ginger Ale (SG$6 ~ US$5) and Ginger Jive (SG$12 ~ US $10).  All were beautiful in presentation but in terms fo taste, I think our favorite was the Gunner, the most balanced and complex of the three.

As the heat reduced our appetites, we didn't go for the full prix fixe, but opted instead to share two desserts.  First up:   Strawberries & Cream, Edible Garden, Passionfruit Lychee Dew (SG$19 ~US$15), wild strawberry ripple, cream cheese & vanilla ice cream on shortbread crumb, raspberry, blueberry, flowers, chocolate choux pebbles on almond cocoa soil, passionfruit jelly in shooter of sweet lychee liquer syrup.  This was one of the most beautiful dessert plates I've ever seen / tasted in my life...and so on theme, with its 'edible garden' on a plate that also presented interesting textures as well as aesthetics.  The strawberries and cream cheesecake was perfectly light, with the ice cream element worked into the cheesecake being especially refreshing on a hot and humid day.  And the shot of lychee liquer was genius - adding tropical flavor with a bit of sophistication.  We wished we had room for 10 more of these.

For a signature Singaporean dessert, we tried Halia's Rojak (SG$16 ~US $13) - knowing that it may not be 100% 'authentic' since we're in a fine dining spot that as we've seen adds their own creative twists on classics.  This dish was served with fresh fruit and berries, chili chocolate sauce, chopped peanuts, white sesame seed, nori crisp, homemade ginger flower sorbet.  Didn't love the textures on this one as much as the last. Since we didn't end up having any other rojak besides this one, I have no frame of reference - but it was sort of like a way fancier version of a fudge sundae with bits of savory ingredients like sesame seed and nori crisp (which ended up being more chewy) added.

All in all, a beautiful, serene afternoon enjoying the tropical weather (in December!) and gorgeous nature (in controlled doses, the way I like it - wilderness wanderer, dozen-miles-hiker, I am not and never will be).

I would definitely recommend Singapore Botanic Gardens as a family activity, for photography buffs or those just looking for brief reprieve from super-commercial tourist hotspots.

[For other photos and stories from our Singapore trip, check out the album on my Facebook page!]


Singapore Botanic Gardens
1 Cluny Rd., Singapore 259569
Ph: +(65) 6471 7138 / (65) 6471 7361

Admission: Free for overall gardens, SG$5 for Orchid Gardens (~US$4)

Halia Restaurant
1 Cluny Rd., Ginger Garden (enter via Tyersall Ave), Singapore Botanic Gardens
Ph: +(65) 6476 6711

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Saban Free Clinic: Extravaganza for the Senses - One of my Fav Events in LA

The Saban Free Clinic's annual fundraising event, Extravaganza for the Senses, is one of my favorite food events in LA.  Maybe because it's a fun night out in a setting that's 'glamourous' as it's a studio in Hollywood, making you feel like you have behind-the-scenes access, while small and intimate enough that you don't feel like you're getting swept up in the wave generated by some marketing machine in overdrive.  Maybe because organizers are fantastic in providing entertainment (DJs, photo booths, fortune tellers, henna artists, massages...) as well as the AYCE and AYCD. Definitely because you get delicious bites of some amazing food from some of the top restaurants in LA - and you get to be selfish in your indulgence and magnanimous at the same time - with 100% of proceeds from the event going to a great cause: providing healthcare and social services to those who cannot afford it.

Last year I was a volunteer, and event organizers were kind in letting us wander and enjoy the event after we had finished our shifts!  This year organizers very generously provided a media pass - and they let me have VIP access too, I was superexcited to check out what the VIP lounge had to offer!
The event is basically set up along a main 'street' at the Sunset Gower Studios, with tables on either side offering all kinds of deliciousness for foodies and wine lovers alike.  I'm really not a big wine drinker but it must have been heaven for those who are: there were tables of freely flowing vino as far as the eye could see, and they poured all night.  I mainly flitted between restaurant tables - one of the first that drew my eye was Soleto, a newly opened "trattoria an pizza bar downtown" that I still need to try.  As it was a hot and humid summer evening, they wisely brought cold foods - and a lovely spread of it!  Salads in shot glasses: sauteed shrimp, salumi and olive, and salmon potato, and samplers of tiramisu and strawberry shortcake - all delicious.
Last year one of the most popular booths was Chaya, and I made sure to hit it early this time before they ran out.  LOVED the mojito-infused compressed watermelon, served in refreshing bite-sized cubes on a pick - the perfect summer treat. 

Chaya's other offering was just as great - shrimp ceviche with yuzu.  Love the beautiful colors and hit of crisp, bittersweet citrus for an Asian twist.

Another cold serve item I was impressed with, was the cucumber dill gazpacho from Upstairs 2.  It was like the Goldilocks of gazpacho - not too thick, not too weak - just right.  And super refreshing. 

Upstairs 2 also served a duck confit with wild mushroom ragu and baked polenta.

A restaurant I was pleasantly surprised to see was D'Cache, a cute little hidden gem of a Mediterranean place in Toluca Lake.  It's one of those places that transport you, and make you feel like you're on vacation for a hour or two or three.  And the food is pretty good as well!  At this event they brought red wine braised short rib empanadas - I loved the rich, flavorful filling and the presentation on these.

Their second bite was a cucumber round stuffed with salmon ceviche.  I loved the flavors and textures of the stuffing!

Aside from food there is also a silent auction and select booths offering different accessories - bags, scarfs, jewelry.  I truly madly deeply wanted these paper thin gold filigree, subtly crystal studded earrings - but unfortunately they were over $100 and out of my price range.  So back to coverage of the food it was...
The brightly colored, whimsical yet elegant displays at the Sweets & Treats Inc. booth caught my eye.  They were offering vanilla cake pops with a sugar coating that reminded me of gumdrops, in really fun colors.  These were more pretty than tasty though...

Quickly running out of stomach space, I knew I had to hit one more super popular booth that also ran out last year:  Jar.  With their dynamic duo of chocolate or butterscotch budino.  So smooth, creamy and delicious.  Wish I had room for 10 more of these.

Saving the mythical VIP lounge for almost last - I happily made my first stop there at the cocktail counter.  They were serving this PAMA cocktail, a version of the mint julep using the pomegranate liquer and I think bourbon or whiskey (can't remember which...oops, yeah I had a good time).  It was a bit strong for me but I loved the gorgeous presentation with the huge leaves of mint!
There are also two food stations within the lounge, one of which was AOC!  You could watch chefs cook up pork belly and serve them hot off the grill with ricotta and a juicy slice of peach.
Bliss Spa sponsored massage, facial and nail stations at the event too!  Some of these were offered outside, but within the VIP lounge the line was shorter and I was able to slide in one of each!  They did a quick color change on my nails (and I discovered I love Essie ChinChilly, a mocha color tinged with purple), gave me an oxygen mini-facial (kind of cool with this little plastic gadget blowing a mist onto your eye areas to hydrate it), and a 10-minute massage.  Genius idea to have this at the event...
One of the cool things about this event too is that everyone is here for a good cause, so people tend to be just really nice overall, it's less of a 'scene' though it vibe is very high energy and fun. Towards the end of the night people kind of let loose on the impromptu dance area by the DJ outside the VIP lounge and vendors start giving away bottles they didn't end up finishing etc. or trading others for food they missed while working - so great to see the bonding and comraderie that happens among vendors as well as total strangers connected by food for the body and soul.
Thanks for another wonderful experience and caring for those who are in need.  Looking forward to the next one!


Extravaganza for the Senses
Saturday July 21, 2012 7-10pm (VIP early entry at 6pm)
Sunset Gower Studios
1438 N. Gower Street, Hollywood, CA 90028
Event Website:

Your 'donation' is tax deductible:
For those who attended / are planning to attend next year: Know that not only does the price of admission goes towards a good cause - health care for those who cannot afford it - it's also tax deductible for you. According to the event site: The price you pay over and above the fair market value of the ticket is a charitable contribution and is tax-deductable to the fullest extent of the law. See site for more details.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

LA Times The Taste: Christmas over Labor Day Weekend for Foodies

Summer is like Christmas for food, wine and cocktails lovers in LA, with themed events around the city all season - and with the Labor Day holiday weekend coming up already, what better way to continue to celebrate the sunny SoCal summer than with Los Angeles Times The Taste?

I had a blast attending the 4-days of AYCE, AYCD, events studded with high profile chefs last year: you can see my recaps herehere and here.  This year, there are 5 themed events spread over 3 days, September 1-3 - again with unlimited food and drink, plus demos and seminars from top caliber chefs. 
The changes they've made this year? 
  1. Way more affordable at $65 per event ($75 at door) vs $125 per event last year.  And they've gone from 9 events to 5, which may pack more value into a more focused program. There's a balanced mix of fine dining representation as well as more accessible fare from gourmet food truck or artisanal vendors.  See deal alert at the bottom of this post for even more savings 
  2. "Flavors of LA" 9/2 11a-3p is hosted by Pulitzer-prize winning food critic Jonathan Gold, who ran one of my favorite food events in LA ever when he was at LA Weekly. Can't wait to see his impact on this LA Times event.  Also, his co-host is Evan Kleinman from KCRW's Good Foods.  The lineup for demos/talks alone already has the food geek in me salivating: Ludo and Ricard Zarate are both giving cooking demos!
  3. "Cocktail Confidential" 9/1 8p-11p The cocktail world has been coming into closer and closer alignment with the culinary one in LA - love the artisanal, farm-to-glass approach and very excited about the fact that The Taste has dedicated one of the five events specifically to this 'art in a glass' with Julian Cox who has driven innovative and delicious beverage programs at Picca, Playa and many more of the city's top restaurants. 
[Deal alert: Get a ticket to your choice of one of any of the five all-inclusive events for $50 (save $15 off advance ticket) through LivingSocial]

Check out more details at the event site here.


Los Angeles Times The Taste
Saturday, September 1st to Monday, September 3rd, 2012
(See site for specific event times)

Paramount Studios 5555 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90038

Event site:

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

dineLA Summer 2012: Sadie Restaurant - the One in Which I Shoulda Stuck with my OCD Self

Every time dineLA rolls around, I eagerly comb through the extensive list of restaurants looking for the most exciting menu items and/or the best deals.  I collect my findings in an easy reference post, as much for myself as anyone else who might find it helpful.  I follow my list, for the most part, wherever I can score reservations.

But this time, I deviated.  I let go of my OCD self and tried to be spontaneous, one day when I got out of work unexpectedly early, and found myself with time to get ahead of traffic and slide in somewhere for a table right at opening.  I'd seen many, many mouthwatering photos (of regular menu items) from fellow foodlovers at Sadie Restaurant - so even though I hadn't done my usual research yet on their dineLA prix fixe menu, I decided to live in the moment, and go check it out.

I fell in love with the covered back patio-style space as soon as I set foot in it.  Love the outdoors-indoors decor and the soothing sounds of flowing water in a cobblestone-rimmed, ground-level 'fountain' that ran the length of the back wall. It's a serene oasis steps away from the sensory-overload stretch of Hollywood.
I kicked off the meal with a delicious cocktail: Friar Fresh 12 with Plymouth gin, velvet Falernum, lemon juice, honey and grapefruit juice, which was light, well balanced and refreshing on a hot summer day.

But when the 3-course, $35 dineLA menu arrived, I was a little disappointed to see Sadie fall into the lazy 'steak or salmon' camp, like so many other dineLA restaurants unfortunately did this time around.  But the starter held promise of possible excitement (after the fact I saw that the 3rd option wasn't what was listed online): Duck Confit Croquettes rich lady peach, curly yellow endive, coffee duck jus (similar item $14 on regular menu).  I love duck, and was interested to see how it would taste breaded and fried, with the peach and coffee duck jus.  The plating was quite pretty when it arrived, but the balls ended up being disappointing: from a deal perspective, it was good that they were generously sized, but when it comes to texture and taste, its size worked against it - the ratio of crunchy exterior to what-could-have-been-a-juicy-flavorful-filling was way off, the breading was too thick, dense and lacked the pleasing crispness I was expecting.  The texture of the duck was also sort of mushy and stringy at the same time.  I actually could only finish one of the two balls, and left the other one on the plate.
For the entree, I went for the Prime Hanger Steak potato cremeux, roasted forest mushrooms, hearts on fire ($29 on regular menu) - mainly as I had no idea what 'hearts on fire' were and looked forward to one element of surprise.  Turns out they are a leafy veggie with beautiful red 'veins' - though they elevated the presentation of a basic plate of sliced steak, potatoes and mushrooms, at the end of the day their role was pretty much garnish. That said, the mushrooms were flavorful and the steak (medium rare) was fine - not mind-blowing but a decent dish, and enough to be filling as an entree.  (I saw after the fact that the menu posted online featured short rib for this dish, not hanger steak, so that's 2:2 for not delivering whta was advertised).
Last course of the prix fixe meal was Keffir Lime Creme with whipped sweet goat milk, cocoa soil and salty peanuts (most desserts on regular menu $8).  I figured this one would be like panna cotta, with their own fine dining flourishes.  What arrived was a gelatinous creme that looked straight out of a boxed mix and jello mold - the whipped sweet goat milk sounded interesting but was a misshapen what I'm guessing should have been a quenelle that kept sliding off the creme, because the creme was so slick and slippery like jello.  Had the creme been would have been nicely counterbalanced by the cocoa soil. There were maybe 3 pieces of salty peanut that tasted like they came straight out of a Planters jar - not what I would have expected for a gourmet dining venue.  The only silver lining on this one was the pretty flower garnish on top.  Assuming same portion sizes though, the deal ended up being $51 -$35 = savings of $16, and if you checked in on Foursquare with a registered Amex, it would have been another $5 credit for a total of $21 saved.  So I guess that makes everything a little more palateable.
Luckily, when looking at the regular menu "charred" Bone Marrow had stopped me in my tracks ($14) - I had added it as a supplement to the meal and was very glad for it, as the saving grace for dinner that night. The marrow was beautifully lush and fatty, and the toppings were interesting: peppadew peppers, leek ash, and citrus chive vinaigrette.  However, having tasted the amazing bone marrow at Black Hogg, which set a high bar (#foodgasmic and 2 bones for $12) - I couldn't justify returning for the $14 price tag on a solitary bone.

People whose opinion I trust still rave about Sadie, so I'm sure that the dineLA menu they chose to feature was not reflective of the quality of their regular menu.  However, that I think is the downfall of participating in dineLA if you are only going to do it half-heartedly: since many use dineLA as a lower-cost way to 'sample' restaurants before committing to a full and more expensive meal - going halfway on your dineLA menu may turn off would be new customers, who may not return and risk more money to give you a second shot.

As for me, sometimes I wonder whether it's healthy to be so OCD...and then I go spontaneous and this happens.  So, back to OCD it is, at least when it comes to dineLA.

On a 7 point scale:
Flavor - 5 bites
Presentation - 6 bites
Originality - 5 bites
Ambience - 6 stars
Service - 6 stars
Overall experience - 5.5 bites
Price - $$$ 3 bite marks regular menu)
Probability of return visit - 65% 

Sadie Restaurant

1638 North Las Palmas Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90028
Ph: 323.467.0200


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