Monday, May 23, 2016

Lunch with Chef Jet Tila

Sunday. May 22, 2016

20 of us met at Ruen Pair restaurant in Thai Town. This is a tour that Melting Pot Tours in conjunction with Chef Jet Tila does several times a year. $140 a pop but well worth it. Chef Tila gave us lessons in proper Thai manners. How to eat with fork in left and and spoon in right hand and basically use the spoon for most of the eating. Also how to fold hands under our chins and slightly bow as a greeting. He attempted to teach us the proper Thai words for greetings but I think that was above us. He turned out to be a very funny, likable, personable person. Grew up the area but also has lived in Garden Grove and Alhambra. Is a Buddhist but went to Catholic grade school and was an altar boy. He liked the extra gigs that the church did because it gave him a few coins in his pocket.

His relatives started the chain of Royal Thai restaurants and a few are still operating today. His father founded the Bangkok Market on Melrose. That is next on my adventures along with Stir Market.

Chef Tila was appointed by the Thai government to be the official Culinary Ambassador of Thai cuisine to the United States. He started the Wazuzu restaurant at the Wynn's resort in Las Vegas and has appeared on numerous shows on the Food Network  He also is a partner in Stir Market in the Fairfax area of Los Angeles. A European food hall.

We stared out with 2 food dishes at Ruen Pair, a fabulous papaya salad, much better than I have had before and a Pork Jerky with sticky rice.  Jerky has good flavor, the sauce was very potent. I tried a bit but passed on using it.

Next stop was Sapp Coffee Shop.  There we had a dish called Boat Noodles,  A 5 spice  broth with rice noodles and different proteins. You can pick and choose. really good, deep flavors. Next was my favorite dish of the day. Jade Noodles. Noodles are a wheat pasta. mustard greens which gives the noodles a light green color, hence the name "Jade" noodles. Also had duck and pork in the dish. Since this was a "coffee" shop we all had either a Thai coffee or Thai Cold Tea.  I went for the tea which was almost like a thin shake. I could get addicted to this drink.

From there we went down a few blocks to the Bang-Luck market. Fascinating.  Got a lesson in Thai produce and fruit along with spices and condiments. They do not use salt at all, rely an fish sauce.  White pepper only. 

Back down the street to check out a couple of shrines and see the metal posts that were installed with one of the Deity's on top.

Last stop on the tour was the Red Corner Restaurant.. There we had Spicy Basil Stirfry. We had it with ground beef but you can specify your protein. Had a fried egg on top. I was stuffed at this time and ate just a small amount. It also was heavy in the spicy basil.

I find that basil, cilantro,  ginger and lemongrass go a long way with me. I can handle loads of garlic but the others just don't really do it for me.

This was a fun, informative tour. Learned alot about Thai food and culture.

Delius Restaurant and Titus Wines

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Delius's,   choice of wineries for the wine dinner was Titus. A winery I had never heard of.   The are located in Napa. In attendance was Steve the winemaker at Titus and John from the distributor. Also at the table was a lady named Lisa whom I met a couple of dinners ago. She has an interesting job - a flower importer. We had a very lively, personable group.

Started out with a Laughing Bird Shrimp (that is what the variety is called) with house made fettuccini semolina pasta, olive oil, tomato, garlic and fried capers. Loads of garlic. This was my favorite dish of the evening. really good intense flavor. The wine which was a Andronicus Sauvignon Blanc which was one of the better Sau Blanc's I have had in a long time. Well balanced and not so over minerly or citrusy.

Second course served   is a Red wine braised sweetbreads with braised mustard greens, mirepoix, thyme-brown mustard seed reduction sauce. Sauce was excellent and also the mustard greens. The sweetbreads were good but I really prefer mine lightly breaded and fried crisp. A 2013 Titus Cabernet Franc was the wine selection. A beautiful wine that I really enjoyed. I personally felt a small clash with the sweetbreads but excellent pairing with the mustard greens. I would buy this wine. Retails around $42.

Third course up was a Leg of Wild Boar, fava mash, roasted turnips and pan sauce. Meat was tender and flavorful. The fava mash was very good. But again the food was served in one of those long boat shaped bowls that are so popular now. I find them a pain.  Paired with a 2012 Titus Malbec. Nice wine and it went well with the boar.

Main course was a Grilled marinated hanger steak, roasted potatoes. grilled broccolini and mulberry chimichurri. Meat was  flavorful, the chimichurri was outstanding. A 2013 Titus Zinfandel was the wine choice. Grapes come from 35 year old vines.. A good pairing.

Dessert was so good. A Stone fruit cobbler with a kumquat marmalade ice cream. To die for. Perfect end to a meal.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

555 East With The Boys

Tuesday. May 17, 2016

Terry decided he was feeling well enough for steak dinner at 555 East in Long Beach.    His thought is "better do it while I can".  So 7 of us met for steak and wine. I was the first to arrive and saw Cindy with a friend having dinner in the front. Chatted with her for a few before checking in.

My biggest complaint about 555 is the fact that  is a noisy restaurant. Accoustics are not the best but then they never have been here.  Too much hard surface.  Service was very good. There was a gay couple sitting at the next table. They were celebrating 24 years together. When we were finished with the wines I gave them what was left of my bottle of champagne.  So much wine tonight. Did not want it to go to waste. They enjoyed it.

We all ordered steak of some sort. I had the Kansas City Strip which was excellent. Awesome flavor. 100 % vegetarian diet, no hormones etc., I would order this steak again. Also had a few oysters to start with.

The wines tonight were something else. Everyone seemed to pull out the stops for this dinner.

2002 Marcel Moineaux, Blanc de Blanc, Grand Cru Brut, Chouilly Marne, France

2005 Tattinger Comtes de Champagne, Blanc de Blanc

2007 H. Billiot-Fils, Millesiome, Grand Cru Brut, France

1996 Domaine Bernard Crozes-Hermitage, Red Rhone

1997 Chateau Potensac. Medoc, Deveon

2002 Marquis Phillips, Integrity, Shiraz

2002 Bond, Matriarch, Napa Valley, Red

2006 Chateau Montelena Estate

2007 Cain Five, Napa Valley Red Blend, Cab, Merlot, Malbec, Petit Verdot & Cab Franc

2007 Clos Pepe VS, Sta. Rita Hills, Pinot Noir

2010 Prermiere, Napa, 50% Provenance Vineyard, 50% Hewitt Vineyard


Sunday, May 15, 2016

Retirement Diiner

Saturday, May 14, 2016

A few of us gathered for a small retirement dinner for Sharon. She has been the recipient of several of these dinners lately. Better milk it while you can. We had a good time with great conversation.

We met at the California Pizza Kitchen in Torrance. Had not been to CPK in years. Probably be years before I go back. Way too noisy for me. As I get older I want serene surroundings without large families and screaming children, comfortable seating and service that isn't trying to rush you to turn the table over quickly. Clean plates, we sent several back that had dried food still on them after going through the dishwasher and finished plates taken before the entrees are served.

Food was standard chain food. Decent. With 7 of us a wide variety was ordered. From fish to steak and everything  in between

Our wines were a different story.

2005 Roeder Crystal
NV Mailly, Grand Cru
2014 Carr, Sta. Rita Hills, Turner Vineyards, Pinot Gris

2005 Vosne-Romanee, Bouchard Pere & Fils, Burgundy
2007 Saintsbury, Carneros, Lee Vineyard, Pinot Noir
2013 Hearthestone, Paso Robles, Primate, blend
2014 Stolpman, Carbonic Sangiovese

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Lunch at India Grill With The Boys

Monday, May 9, 2016

A break from our normal lunch of Dim Sum. CJ suggested doing the buffet lunch at the India Grill in Cypress.

They did have an extensive selection of dishes from the buffet but my biggest hangup is that as the food sits it dries up from the heat of the table. They had 2 chicken dishes, 1 lamb dish along with the vegetable dishes. The lamb was still very moist as it was braised lamb shanks but the Tandoori Chicken was very dry and the pieces of meat in the Chicken Tika Masala was dry. Personally I would not do the buffet lunch again anytime soon. Great place for dinner where the dishes are cooked to order. 

The buffet was $10.95 and CJ's thought was the price would be comparable to the Dim Sum lunch we have at the Seafood Palace.  But I will take freshly made food dishes at the Seafood Palace any day over the lunch buffet.

We did have a great selection of wines. The 2005 Krupp Brothers Veraison was outstanding. Also had a NV Louis Bouillot Champagne, 2010 Tercero Verbiage, a GSM blend, 23014 Francois Chidaine, Touraine, Grolleau & Pinot Noir Rose, 2009 McKeon-Phillips BPR Cabernet, 2014 Patelin de Tablas Blanc, 2012 Tommast, Rompiollo, SangioCab blend.

This was a break from Chinese but hopefully in two weeks we will be back at the Seafood Palace.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

The Pan

Monday, May 2, 2016

The Pan at 3550 Long Beach Blvd was the pick for the Bixby Knolls Supper Club this month.  It has been opened about 2 months. Was I surprised when I turned into the parking area and realized that it was the old location for Delius restaurant.  The Pan has taken over the entire strip for their place. The web-site shows the location in Gardena, but the menu is the same.

This is a very laid back, rustic place. I am not a fan of these metal chairs but for one meal I can handle it. Acoustics are bad. Extremely noisy.

I had the fish and chips. Fish was decent. I have had better and I have had worse. Came with garlic fries and there is not way to mistake that these fries have garlic and they were good.  Also a very small side of coleslaw. Price was fine at $9.75. 

Others had pizza which they raved about. To me it looked a dark and crispy on the edges. Turkey burger looked good as did the pot roast special.

Perhaps it is because they had everyone (70 people) come in at 6:30 for the scheduled dinner but it was really disorganized. 7 of us at our table. One person got their beer and food way before everyone else. He had finished eating by time the rest of the  plates arrived.  Waiter forgot my beer. Had to ask again for it.  Salads came out after the entrees.  I was not a fan of the way the food was plated. My fish and chips were in a metal bowl that was lined with paper. Fries on bottom, 3 pieces of fish on top, a small metal container of sauce and one of coleslaw set on top of the food.  Now I wonder where these small metal containers were sitting before they were placed onto of my food. Did like that thought. So I did not eat the fries in the areas that the metal containers were sitting.

Very limited beer and wine menu. Wine list sucked.

The menu looks like this might be a bright spot for breakfast, which is served all day.  If you live in the area it would be worth a visit to see what they do when they are not over whelmed.  But this type of restaurant is just not my style,

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Delius Restaurant and Lumen Wines

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Lane Tanner whose new label is Lumen was in house at Delius Restaurant tonight for dinner., Sat at her table along with another guest and the wine distributor. Lane Tanner retired  her other label but got antsy and decided to get back into the buisness.  It was a packed house for this dinner.

We started out with a Torchon of Foie Gras, Toast Points, Pistacho Butter and a cooked apricot.  The combination of everything was wonderful.  A good start to the evening. A 2014 Lumen Grenache Blanc was paired with this plate and the wine was clean, crisp and a slight hint of acid.  One of the better Grenache Blancs I had tasted lately.

Second course was Seared Salmon, Cauliflower Puree, Hazelnut Brown Butter.  This was my favorite dish of the night. Full of flavor , salmon cooked perfectly and the hazelnut butter added just the right touch I was a happy person. Paired with a 2014 Lumen Chardonnay. Not oaky, well balanced and a perfect accompliment to the salmon.

Third course served is a Grilled Pork Flat Iron, Red Current Chutney, Shropshire Blue Polenta Cake. Pork was good, polenta cake outstanding. My big complaint was it was served in a "boat" type dish., Hard to cut in those type of dishes and again that damm Frisee on the side. I will be so glad when the chefs in all these restaurants get on to another fad.  Frisee has seen its day along with excessive micro greens. Paired with a 2014 Lumen Pinot Noir. I did like this pinot much better than the 2013 . Had a lot going for it. And again another perfect pairing with the food. 

Last we had Roasted Leg of Lamb, Pommes Puree, Roasted Turnips, Baby Carrots, Rosemary Demi. At this point in dinner I have reached my capacity. Had one bite of the meat to taste and had it boxed up to take home. The lamb had good flavor but cutting my only piece had did had some resistance. I will know more when I have it for lunch tomorrow.  I also prefer the lamb chops.  A 2014 Lumen Grenache was poured. This was a really beautiful wine. 

Dessert was a Cherry Pecan Spice Cake with Housemade Cinnamon Ice Cream and Loquat Butter. That loquat butter seem to really add a lot to the spice cake. Everything was very good. 

Another excellent wine dinner at Delius, good dining companions. great food and wine. Hard to beat that combination.