L.A. Part 2

By Jillian Bernardini - Jan 13, 2012 - 12:28 PM
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There were too many delicious L.A. dining experiences for me to list and share with you....but here are a few of the highlights:


     Dinner at Olio Pizzeria, wood-fired oven using California olive wood.  They had amazingly fresh, thinner-style pizza!


     Five types of olives, marinated, and roasted in the wood-fired oven.


     Roasted, sliced eggplant [skin-on 'my fav'] with sweet, fresh tomato sauce.


     Roasted tomato, fresh spinach, and burrata cheese with pesto.


     For dessert, the gianduja focaccia with caramelized turbinado sugar glaze...


     This deserves two photos, oh and did I mention there was hazelnut spread layered beneath the melted chocolate? Yep, pretty darn scrumptious.



Next stop: Umami Burger, intensified house-ground meat that harks to the fifth taste known as umami.


     Sipped on some local, west coast brews including Drifter Pale Ale, Hanger IPA by New Belgium, and PranQster, a Belgian ale from a CA brewery.


     The signature Umami Burger, with shiitake mushrooms, parmesan crisp, and 'umami' ketchup that had a very savory, truffle oil component.  Even the buns had a buttery, savory quality to them that I loved.  The Port & Stilton burger had ridiculous flavor too, but craved some extra bleu cheese crumbles.



My sister and I celebrated our 'fancy splurge' dinner at Osteria Mozza, a sophisticated, refined style of Italian cuisine from Nancy Silverton, Mario Batali, and Joe Bastianich.


     Passed the wait time for our seats at the mozzarella bar with a few cocktails...


     To start, handmade bufala mozzarella with four sauces: olive tapenade, salsa romesco, pesto, and a caperberry relish.


     Our Primo Piatto, or first course, a Corzetti Stampati, which were delicate, thin rounds of 'stamped' pasta with eggplant, olives, and fresh ricotta.


     Then my sister and I shared for the Secondo, "Brasato al Barolo," braised boneless short rib with porcini mushrooms atop a bed of polenta.  Swooning as I relive this...the short rib was incredibly fork tender, and the sauce was a complex, but balanced richness of the reduced Barolo wine and an earthy demi-glace.


The entire meal, start to finish, was fantastic, as was the 2007 Riofavara "Sciavè" Nero d'Avola that we drank with dinner.  I'm a sucker for deeply, rich red wines, especially the Sicilian varietals.


     The remainder of our nights were pretty low key with the holiday and all, so we spent Christmas Eve day walking around the Santa Monica Farmer's Market.


     Great local vendors, farmers, and artisanal products to choose from!  Sadly, I've already finished my whole jar of these roasted tomatoes with whole cloves of garlic; so tasty!


     Pretzel bun sliders from a local bakery looked like they would hit the spot.  The sis and I also oogled at the amazing array of produce that was in season: meyer lemons, fresh berries, different squash varieties, tons of root vegetables, and too many other fruits and vegetables to name.  Wish we could have these available year round in Boston!


     One quick trip to Venice Beach just to see the beauty of the Pacific...I'm already nagging my sister about when can I go back?!  Hope you enjoyed my tastes of California!