Thursday, June 21, 2018

Vincenti Ristorante

Travelzoo had another special that sounded enticing to me. The 3-course meal offered a choice of an appetizer to share, an entrée and a choice of dessert for each, all for $29.00! I haven't been to Vincenti in years so this was a good deal to check out to see if the restaurant was still good.

My friend and I chose the Crispy Calamari and Zucchini with their house made Tartar sauce. That was crispy, tender and just delicious. We had a choice of Ravioli with Ricotta, Spaghetti Bolognese, Petrale Sole with lemon and capers and Jidori Chicken Stew. We both had to have the Spaghetti Bolognese. We were glad we did because it was cooked the traditional "Italian" way; aldente and a sauce that only good old Madre Italiana would have cooked.

For dessert, my friend had the Chocolate Terrine with Raspberry Sauce and a scoop of gelato. I chose the Tiramisu. I was disappointed with my tiramisu. It didn't have enough coffee flavor. The dusting of chocolate on top was not enough to carry the flavor. The chocolate terrine was much better though we found the gelato to be much too tart.

Vincenti is located at 11930 San Vicente Blvd. in Los Angeles.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Double Birthdays at Lawry's Prime Rib

Triple celebrations; Lawry's 80th birthday, Gary & Dino's Birthdays. We took advantage of the 80th celebration of Lawry's. We had a nice corner table and our server, Ms. Pat Thomas took very good care of us.

We started out with their succulent Shrimp Cocktail which is always good. It was hard not to overeat the warm sourdough bread but we all had to restrain ourselves so we could fully enjoy our prime rib. Right after we inhaled the shrimp, Ms. Thomas came to mix our salads with precision and grace. Lewis, my 8 yr. old nephew didn't even want to try the salad. We had to threaten him to at least try it or we would order the salmon for him instead of the prime rib. Then and only then did he try a crouton and immediately made a funny face before he could chew it. What's new and interesting is that the salad now has a bit of applesauce and Worcestershire sauce; still delicious.

We were lucky to have my favorite carver Anthony serve us our California cuts (we opted for an upgrade in cut). Everyone had the creamed corn except Lewis. He didn't want anything with his meat except the Yorkshire pudding. Only Grace and Lewis didn't finish their prime rib. Gary, Dino and I had no trouble cleaning our plates (what else is new)?

The English Trifle came with our meal. The 2 birthday boys got theirs with candles with Ms. Thomas and another server to sing "Happy Birthday".

It was a wonderful triple celebration. As always, Lawry's held it's excellent reputation in food and service. Thank you, Ms. Thompson and Anthony, for a job well done!

Monday, June 18, 2018

Osteria La Buca

Gary and I were invited by our brother Dino, his wife Grace and his two boys to dinner at Osteria La Buca. None of us have ever been there before. It was quite busy and though we were too early for our reservation, they were able to accommodate us.

For starters, we ordered Crispy Octopus with fennel, pistachio, avocado, and basil. Lewis, my 8 yr. old nephew was the only who refused to take a bite of the octopus which we didn't mind so there was more to share with everyone. Dino ordered a "The Classic" Pizza with prosciutto. It was so delicious that Grace thought we might need another pizza and everyone unanimously agreed. This time we got the Guanciale with mozzarella, tomato, chili, rosemary, and olives.  That too vanished quickly.

For entrées, Dino ordered the Spaghetti Cacio Pepe; black pepper and aged pecorino. I was afraid to order that since I have had very good ones and I didn't want to be disappointed. Grace had the Bucatini Carbonara with pancetta, poached egg, and black pepper. She shared her pasta with Lewis. Luigi had the Short Rib Ravioli with pecorino, black pepper, and vincotto. It looked delicious.

Gary and I shared an order of Pappardelle Bolognese and Bucatini Carbonara. Both were delightful and aldente of course. There were no leftovers.  This family knows how to eat...with gusto!

Desserts were to be shared. We ordered one Budino which was not bad at all. The other dessert took the cake; Chocolate Zabaglione which is comparable to a chocolate mousse with pieces of crunchy chocolate biscotti served with the housemade fiore di latte (flower of milk) ice cream. Our very friendly and capable server, Janell informed us that they splash it a bit with olive oil on top. I've never had anything like it. It was interesting to have the different textures in this decadent mousse.

We left the restaurant very happy and pleasantly full and plump! Osteria La Buca is located at 5210 Melrose Ave. in Los Angeles, California.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Welcome Dinner at Dominique's Kitchen

My brother Dino, his wife Grace and two youngest sons Luigi and Lewis arrived from the East Coast traveling from Singapore where they live. What better way to welcome them than to celebrate their arrival with a dinner at Dominique's Kitchen. Our brother Gary joined us for this wonderful dinner. Both brothers will celebrate their birthdays later this month making this dinner a triple celebration.

For an appetizer, we started with the (must have) Truffle Fries which always tastes even better when dipped in mayonnaise. Others ordered Dominique's famous Lobster Bisque. I had a Caesar Salad instead which is always good especially since they have a lot of shaved Parmesan cheese.

Luigi and Lewis ordered the 8 oz. Bistro Steak with parsley lemon butter and garlic fries. Both were happy with their steaks. I was surprised that 8 yr. old Lewis could almost finish his steak after eating some bread and a ton of truffle fries. Gary ordered the infamous Roasted Chicken with olive oil accompanied with sauteed spinach and baby new potato. His only problem was "How do I heat the leftovers"? The chicken was as humongous as ever.  Dino had the Short Ribs with pinot noir, tomatoes, celery, garlic, onions and Yukon mashed potatoes.

Grace ordered the Lamb Chops served with creamy polenta, roasted garlic, veggies in a thyme au jus. I haven't had that in a long time that I decided to order the same until I heard the specials. There was a trio of meats; lamb chops, pork and beef. All were cooked in a wonderful sauce and were juicy and tender. Grace loved her lamb chops. I fell in love with my 3 types of meat! All were tender and juicy and cooked to perfection. This was served over a carrot puree which I also loved.

The 2 birthday boys were presented with a Panna Cotta dessert which they so graciously shared with the rest of us. Yummy! We couldn't leave without having a Baked Alaska so we ordered one to share. Everyone liked it except for the 8 yr. old Lewis, which was probably due to the alcohol.

It was another great dinner at Dominique's Kitchen. Thanks to Liza, Dominique's wife who is always so welcoming that it feels like we are at their home. Dominique's Kitchen is located at 522 S. Pacific Coast Hwy. in Redondo Beach, California.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Krispy Kreme Chocolate Glazed Donuts

You've probably already heard the advertisement on the radio about Krispy Kreme's new donut. Every first Wednesday of the month they will be selling Chocolate Glazed Donuts. These will not be served hot like the regular glazed donuts they sell, unlike the time they did it in honor of the solar eclipse last year.

These donuts are very good BUT only if eaten hot.  It tastes like any other donut if eaten at room temperature. Lo and behold, when heated in the microwave for 10-12 seconds, it is a totally different encounter! The nice thing about it is you can freeze them. You can wrap them in wax paper or parchment paper and put them in a ziplock bag (make sure you get all the air out). It is best to thaw them a bit before heating them in the microwave. Microwaves vary so be sure to watch closely as you heat them. Don't allow the chocolate to melt; you just want to warm them enough to make it taste like it just came out of the conveyor belt.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Little Sister

Yvonne invited me to have lunch with her at the Little Sister Restaurant in downtown Los Angeles.  I have never been to this restaurant athought there is one close by in Manhattan Beach. It was lunchtime and the place was quite busy.

I gave her the liberty of ordering whatever she thought would be good. She ordered the Autumn Roll; sweet potato, jicama, egg, Chinese sausage sweet shrimp with a coconut peanut sauce and the Imperial Rolls with shrimp, crab, pork, taro root, glass noodle, roasted peanut with a chili lime sauce. Both were absolutely delicious. The skin of the Autumn roll was so thin and light and not at all starchy.  The Vietnamese Crêpe; banh xeo pork belly with prawns, bean sprouts, herbs in a green house dressing did not excite either of us.

The Salted Cod Fried Rice with egg omelet, sweet & sour pork with crab chili sauce was very good.  We were both so hungry that we finished most of the food.

There were lots of other items on the menu that looked very interesting. Our eyes wondered as servers passed by us with wonderful things on a serving tray. Luckily, I won't have to drive to downtown Los Angeles to try Little Sister again. So, Manhattan Beach, here I come.

Before we left I had to visit the ladies room. Most of the time, you can judge a restaurant sanitary conditions in the kitchen by what the restroom looks like. I am happy to report that the ladies room was very clean and amusing.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Palmeri RIstorante

My friend Sandi and I just got out of a 3-1/2 hour play at the Wallis Theater in Santa Monica. We saw the play entitled Long Day's Journey Into Night starring the great Jeremy Irons which by the way was an excellent play.

Sandi has never been to Palmeri so I thought this was a good time to go. We called them to see if they could take us and we were happy they said yes. It's been 4 years since I last visited this restaurant. I was happy to see the Chef/Owner, Ottavio Palmeri. It's always a good sign when the Chef/Owner is around to make sure everything runs smoothly.

They still serve the goat cheese with marinara sauce to go with a selection of bread which was as good as I could remember. For an appetizer, they had a special; Zucchini  Blossoms fried in a tempura batter stuffed with ricotta and served on a Parmesan basket. It was as delicious as it sounded and looked.

For our entrée, we decided to split an order fo Tagliatelle Bolognese and the Branzino. Both enrées I have had previously. Their pasta is homemade and is always cooked aldente. The Mediterranean Sea Bass is baked in a Sicilian sea-salt crust and served with spinach. I asked our charming and enthusiastic server, Vincenzo, if he could show the fish encrusted and prepare it by our table since they normally do this in the kitchen. I wanted Sandi to experience what I did the first time I had this served to me in Sorrento, Italy. Vicenzo brought the platter to show us how the fish is cooked inside this cave. He cracked it open in the kitchen in order not to make a mess. He then proceeded to fillet the fish ever so carefully with precision in front of us.

The fish was so fresh and delicate. All we had to do was squeeze lemon on it and it brought the flavor of the fish to life. The bolognese was perfect and it went well with the sea bass. We ordered the Crostata di Limone for dessert. It was a nice lemon tart with lemon sorbetto. It was a perfect way to end our wonderful meal.

Grazie Mille to Vincenzo and of course to Chef Ottavio Palmeri. I am happy to report that Palmeri Ristorante after all these years is still very good. They are located at 11650 San Vicente Blvd. in Los Angeles, California.