Sunday, December 29, 2013


Let me start my telling you I am not a "sushi" person but I will eat anything except for something still moving from this restaurant.  This is paradise for sushi and non-sushi lovers. The last time I was at Nobu was a couple of years ago when I didn't even know what a blog was. Here we all are before the feast.

We started with their Edamame which was cooked with slivers of garlic and salt of course. This was no ordinary edamame; it's the best I've ever had. They were served with Shishito Peppers which were not spicy but big on flavor.

Our first of many courses was the Kanpachi (Yellow tail) with it's own sauce and cilantro which was to be eaten together. Deelicious. This was followed by Seared Sashimi with jalapeno (tuna with a vinaigrette sauce); equally as good. Then came the star of the show; Lobster Tempura served with a bunch of who knows what on the side. More sashimi which literally melted in your mouth.

I remembered the Wagyu Beef Tacos which they served with I believe some Sea Bass Tacos. Both were very good but the fish taco had more flavor and I have to make it a point to order that again. The taco shells were unlike what I have had before, these were very light and crispy.
The Miso Cod is not to be missed. It is delicate, light and flaky and packed with miso flavor. Our one vegetarian had the Tofu dish that looked interesting with thin slices of what looked like red onions and cilantro. Then they served some Wagyu Beef Flank which was flambeed at our table. If you wanted the meat cooked more, as the flames subsided, you could just place the meat on the black stone as it continued to cook.

We also had some Crab which was cooked then placed back on it's shell. Again, it was delicious. My favorite was the Rock Shrimp Tempura which I have had in the past. I think I could have eaten a bowlful of this dish. The only reason I didn't is we all had the nice Japanese steamed rice to go with everything. I had 2 bowls....that's nothing. I think the record belonged to Ross as he had 5 bowls of rice. The last dish was a big platter of Assorted Sushi. It was too confusing to try and remember which was what fish so I just consumed them with no more questions asked. For the finale, they served us Miso Soup cooked with the Lobster remains. Nice way to end the meal except of course for the dessert.

They had all sorts of ice cream flavors. I picked one I've never had: Popcorn.  It was more of a vanilla ice cream with popcorn flavor.  I did like it. Heavy desserts would not have been good with all the food we consumed.  I say this was a perfect ending.

Nobu still is one of the best if not the best Japanese Restaurant in Los Angeles. They have one in Malibu, Las Vegas, New York and San Diego. The Los Angeles address is 903 N. La Cienega in L.A. The current location used to be L'Orangerie (my favorite French restaurant of all times).

Friday, December 27, 2013

An Apple a Day....

I would not mind having a apple a day if it looked like this apple. My friend Alma delivered one for me all the way from Boston!

This apple was coated in caramel then dipped in fine chocolate and chopped pecans (my guess) since I am not an expert on nuts. I have bought many apples in my lifetime and  had the good intention of having it as a snack. I end up throwing the rotten apples away as I forget about them; well, sometimes when I hear them calling, I just ignore them! However, this apple is impossible to ignore. So in order not to feel too guilty, I introduced my apple to Sensa; a little sprinkling did not hurt. When I sliced the apple, the actual fruit was nice and crispy. I actually enjoyed the fruit; of course the caramel and chocolate helped a lot.

How do you like them apples????? Thanks Alma.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas Dinner at Home

Christmas Dinner was quiet. My family plus a friend. It was a fairly simple dinner. I served some of my usual hors d' oeuvre's. We had some shrimp with bacon which was delicious but was too spicy for some. I also made some dates stuffed with Parmesan cheese and also wrapped in bacon.

Four our entree, I made pork tenderloin baked in red currant jelly and mustard.  That always comes out perfect. I also made some mashed potatoes made with a good amount of butter, milk and Parmesan cheese.

For the side dish, I roasted Brussels sprouts in olive oil and balsamic glaze. I chopped up cooked beets, added some feta cheese, mustard and Japanese mayonnaise. With these 2 vegetables, the consensus was..... we had no need for a salad. Fine with me!

I can't take credit for dessert aside from the fact that I ordered it and  I thank Gunter, who was kind enough to pick it up the day before. This was a chocolate caramel Buche de Noel. It looked beautiful; dark and shiny. I kept my fingers crossed as sometimes, when baked goods look too good, disappointment sets in after the first bite. This was an exception. I served small slices (something I don't do as a rule)  since it looked very rich. It was indeed rich and smooth as velvet.

My friend Cindy came over to join us for dessert shortly before we opened our presents. When everyone was ready to go home, I remembered that I had not served the last course for the evening. I had everyone sit down to have one last drink for the road. I served Raspberry wine from Trader Joe's and poured a small amount in a chocolate cup from World Market. The wine is more like a liquer (higher concentration of alcohol), I actually got this idea from the Chocolate Festival I attended 2 weeks ago. It was a hit!

A quiet and simple Christmas dinner and a Merry Christmas......

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Eve at Dominique's Kitchen

This was a nice kitchen to spend Christmas Eve. Dominique had a prix fixe (4 course) dinner for $49.99.  Appetizers were an extra $9.99. There were seven of us so we thought we'd share some of them.

The escargots were the best as ever. I parted with one of my 6 to have my husband try it. Raymond ate all 6! Aimee and Erik shared an order. Alma, next to me had the shrimp cocktail. That was nice and creamy but loved my escargots better. Ross on the far side of the table had to be on the safe side; unfortunately, his eating habits are unlike his driving or working habits. He ordered the salami....nothing wrong with that but....what can I say? 

Our first course was the Wild Mushroom Soup. This was delicious and a good warm introduction to our 2nd and 3rd course. The second course was the Smoked Duck Breast with grilled polenta, crayfish, mache lettuce, baby heirloom tomatoes in a light raspberry  and truffle vinaigrette. The duck was so good and to me, it tasted like a nice black forest ham. We were all fans of this salad.

For our third course, we had a choice of Roasted Rack of Lamb with parsley and mustard crust, potato gratin with Gruyere cheese and vegetables or the Champagne and Seafood Risotto. All except one had the lamb. Everyone was happy with the lamb. It was nice and tender, even Alma's who had it well done commented on how tender it was.

Dessert was either the Caramelized Lemon Tart or Belgian Chocolate Mousse. I think most of us had the lemon tart except my husband who will always order a chocolate mousse when available.
The crust of the lemon tart was sweet enough to offset the tartness of the lemon which was the perfect way to end a very satisfying meal.

As usual, Dominique and Liza came by several times to make sure everything was going well. What better way to spend Christmas Eve dinner at Dominique's kitchen; and we didn't even have to do the dishes!

These are pictures of us before our meal when we were still hungry....


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Ladies Night at Gaetano's

Last night Sandi and I decided to take advantage of the "Ladies Night" at Gaetano's Restaurant.
Everything is half the price from their regular menu.

We decided on four appetizers: Number one on the list was my favorite Fried Artichoke Hearts with their homemade ranch dressing. This is always a must! The second was the Arancini which I have never had. This is my new friend. Fried risotto balls with peas, mushrooms, mozzarella and parmesan in a marinara cream sauce. They was deelicious.

We also ordered the Capesante Al Limone; grilled scallops with a lemon butter sauce and fresh arugula. These were perfectly cooked, light and fresh. The last one was the Polenta & Shortribs. I have had their Chianti braised short ribs before so I was sure this was going to be very good. Sure enough, it was as good as I remembered and it tasted even better on top of the polenta which was slightly crispy.

All these appetizers with a glass of Chianti for me and Prosecco for Sandi was a nice dinner for us both. Monday nights will never be the same again!  FYI, men are allowed on "Ladies Night." It starts at 4:30-6:00 p.m.

Gaetano's is located at 2731 Pacific Coast Hwy. in Torrance, California.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Monsieur Marcel

Monsieur Marcel at the Farmer's Market was our choice for lunch yesterday while shopping at The Grove.  Before lunch, we browsed at the Marcel Gourmet Market right across from Monsieur Marcel. That is a fun place to visit. There are a lot of gourmet items as well as unique gifts. After browsing and buying a few items, we started to get hungry so we left the market and sat at a table at the restaurant. It was a beautiful day; sun was out though it was quite chilly.

We had to order the L'Oignon Gratinee which is the traditional French Onion Soup. Both my brother and I have had this before and we just had to have it agian. We decided to split a sandwich to go with our soup. The Normandie seemed to be the perfect choice to go with the soup. This is a sandwich made with their light and airy french bread stuffed with bacon, brie, sliced apples and apricot marmalade. The combination couldn't have been better as the sandwich had everything from cheese and apples to salty bacon and sweet marmalade. The sandwich came with french fries which was very good. A few bites of the sandwich, some french fries and back to the hot gooey, cheesy onion soup....hmmmmm.

Monsieur Marcel is located at 6333 W. 3rd St. in Los Angeles. They also have a branch in Sta. Monica at the Promenade and in Beverly Hills.

Lady M Confections

Lady M originally from New York opened a few months ago at 8718 W. 3rd St. in Los Angeles.  I have been wanting to go and try the confectionery delights but haven't had the time to do so until yesterday.  I accompanied my brother shopping and while driving, he all of a sudden asked if I wanted to stop by Lady M.  What a stupid question! He was always talking about his favorite Lemon Mille Crepe.  As he waited in the car, I jumped out and ran in.

With my luck, they didn't have the lemon but had the original Mille Crepe. I bought 2 slices to take home. There were others that looked almost as good as the Crepes. They had a Banana Mille Feuille, Gateau Au Chocolat, Mont Blanc and regular Eclairs though I'm sure theirs were nowhere near regular. FYI, these are very expensive delights. The 2 slices of Mille Crepe were $15.00! A 6" is $40 and the 9" is $75.

We had our Mille Crepe for dessert last night. Let me tell you; the $$$ was worth every bite. There are no less than 20 layers of paper thin (onion skin) crepes with a light pastry cream in between the many layers. The cream is truly light and not sweet at all. The top is gently caramelized though I think it could use a bit more caramelizing. This was heaven. I can't wait to try the Lemon and I can already imagine how wonderful it would be with cream. I will just have to wait and see.