Wednesday, August 1, 2012

California Adventure: Day 3 (Beverly Hills & Melrose)

Friday we woke up early, again. We were on our own for breakfast, so we got ready for the day and headed into West Hollywood. Our friends, VA Belle & her husband, went to a fabulous cafe called Shaky Alibi. So we parked at the Farmer's Market and walked about a mile there. They have homemade Liege (Belgium) waffles and Intelligentsia coffee. My kinda place!
This was a pretty cozy cafe. Perfect for a lazy morning! The baristas have the waffle machine behind the bar, and they're the ones making the waffles with the owner's grandmother's recipe.
Strong coffee
Gorgeously perfect latte
Connor's order: Savory waffle with ham, gruyere, & egg. So rich!
My order: Nutella & Strawberry!
We had such a nice meal there, thanks to Christina!

After breakfast, we moseyed on back to the market. There was a cute pet shop we stopped in. We wanted to get Bowser a little present. We found an organic cotton overpriced chew toy. Only in LA!
We shopped around the Farmer's Market for a bit then decided to take a drive up Mulholland. We stopped first at Universal City Overlook, and had great views of the Valley.
Our next stop: We found ourselves right by the Hollywood sign! We had incredible views of downtown LA.
With my new paparazzi lens
Just awesome.

We hiked down a little bit to get away from all of the other people taking pictures. SO worth it!
Asian tourist.
We struggled to get a photo with the sign. Just looks like we're in "OOD"
We then toodled around some more, and decided to head into Beverly Hills. We drove through the neighborhoods and past the Beverly Hills Hotel (the sign is so fun & kitschy!). We parked a few blocks from Rodeo Drive to walk around.
Oh hello, gorgeous cars!
After realizing we were too poor to shop anywhere, we were ready for a late lunch. I read about a million reviews for the best light lunch in LA, and the ones for Michael Voltaggio's ink.sack were overwhelmingly positive. We first got an order of the sriracha watermelon (WHAT?? YES!!)
I ordered the “Reuben” Corned Beef Tongue, Appenzeller Cheeze, Kraut, Russian Dressing. Seriously this was amazing. I am a true tongue connoisseur now.

I also had a yummy Ginger Beer!
Connor ordered the Banh Mi Pork Butt, Pork Belly, Chicharr├│nes, Pickled Vegetables. This was delectable! Connor had this with some root beer.
 After lunch, we stopped at a cute wine place, Mel & Rose, to pick up some bubbly for that night. They had a great selection!

We headed back to Culver City and rested a bit before our big dinner that night. I also had a photo shoot with 2 of my favorite pups: Leon & Josephine! (yes, after the Bonapartes)

Mr. Leon
Miss Josephine

That night, the 4 of us headed over to Michael Voltaggio's ink. And yes, we ate at a MV restaurant TWICE that day (commence eye-rolling). We made reservations about a week or 2 before, so it gave me time to do my research. I am the kind of person that reads reviews before every new place we go, to make sure I order the 'right' thing(I guess so I don't look like a tourist? Maybe my biggest fear. First world problems.). I'm glad I did, but there was really no need to. Everything that came out of the kitchen was just incredible. I don't think there is a way to order 'wrong' at this restaurant! After finding a review from one of my favorite food bloggers, Amateur Gourmet, I knew this was exactly the right place for dinner!

When we walked in, guess who was in the kitchen? YES! Michael Voltaggio himself. I literally had a mini panic attack of sorts. I started giggling profusely and kind of hyperventilating. I haven't been near any famous chefs, so it was a TREAT to see him! He was working the line and facing the dining room through the pass so we could see him work! I picked the seat facing him, obviously.

Anyways, below are some terrible pictures but a pretty solid review of what I remember eating. Oh, forgot to mention that I started with the tequila cocktail. Divine & spicy!

{From the menu} tequila  jalape├▒o, passion fruit, lime, mezcal
 burrata, bottarga, egg yolk, little gems, lemon dressing {I believe this was my first time trying burrata. We ordered two of these, so each of us only had to share a half. Seriously though, this was the PERFECT starter. I want burrata every day now}

sugar snap peas, a mojo of itself, coffee, cardamom, coconut {These were yummy. Simple but with a complex sauce}

cuttlefish, green papaya, peanut-coconut cream, black lime {The only picture I took with flash, the cuttlefish was cut into strands resembling fettuccini noodles. The sauce was asian-inspired, with the peanut & coconut along with the lime lending it pad thai flavors}
brussels sprouts, pig ears, lardo, apple {This was really rich. The pig ears were really salty and super fried so they were crunchy, and a little chewy. Very interesting}

baja scallops, egg yolk gnocchi, mushroom hay {THIS was the dish that we were most excited for. There is egg yolk INSIDE of the gnocchi! OMG. Seriously y'all. My mouth didn't know what to do. We all just looked at each other and started laughing because it was DIVINE}

soft shell crab, tarragon mayo, caper, potato {This was deep fried and perfectly crispy. The mayo that accompanied it was just divine. Such a simple dish, perfectly executed}

octopus, ink. shells, young fennel, pimenton {This was one of my favorites. The octopus was grilled and had a unique flavor. The pimenton made it smoky, and the shells tasted almost like velveeta?? Insane}

poutine, chickpea fries, yogurt curds, lamb neck gravy {The 'fries' were piped from a pastry bag so they were like an inch long and round. Really unique. I almost liked the bowl with the ends of the lamb neck gravy}
 pork belly, charcoal oil, bbq flavor, corn {By the time this came out, we were almost in a food coma. I think I had one bite and then I couldn't eat anymore. The charcoal 'oil' and bbq 'flavor' was an intense combo. I mean, it's literally the fat from a pig presented on a plate}

After our incredible dinner, we asked our waiter where to go get a nightcap. He suggested Pour Vous.  This was a very Moulin Rouge-esque club. We walked to the door and the bouncer (scrawny and barely 24) was like "Are you on the list?" We said "no, our waiter sent us here." He said, "OK, it's not crowded yet, go on in". So LA.
I can't really remember exactly what I got but it was champagne & peach something. So dangerous but delicious!

 After our drink, we headed back home and passed out. Slept like a rock from all that food!

Next up: Saturday in Carpinteria & Los Olivos!


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