Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Travel Post- Winding Down 2009 in Los Angeles

I am trying to keep my resolution to post more frequently. Meanwhile I have been stockpiling great dining experiences to share with you. So indulge me as I recap the fabulous food of Southern California.

I took a quick trip to LA for New Years, and was guided through a series of culinary treats. From cheap fast food to high end dining, LA has alot to offer for a Southern girl on her first visit!

Day 1: In-N-Out Burger This West Coast tradition is fantastic, with juicy grilled burgers featuring carmelized onions and the crispiest fries I have eaten at this style of drive thru. My friends make it a family tradition to go there when someone new comes to town. I was pleased they showed me the ropes.

Day 2: Yamashiro I was treated to an amazing meal with an outrageous view of downtown LA. This restaurant has a fantastic history in LA. To quote their web site, "Yamashiro means “Mountain Palace” in Japanese. It was the dream of the Bernheimer brothers in 1911 to build a hilltop mansion 250 feet above Hollywood Boulevard." From this hilltop replica of a Japanese palace, you can see all of downtown LA. The seating is terraced to maximize the view through the glass walls. For those who are tired of the view the courtyard features an indoor/ outdoor garden and koi pond. The food was delicious. A perfect blend of high end California cuisine with traditional Japanese flavors. We started with perfect martinis and the Kurobuta Pork Carnitas. This meat melted in your mouth and was served with ascallion-risotto cake, hoisin reduction, and honey-mustard sauce. For my entree, I had the Loch Duart Miso Salmon this was served with asparagus, preserved-lemon smashed potatoes, fried capers, and a miso cream sauce. I cannot rave enough about the lemon massed potatoes. I have been searching the web for this recipe since arriving home.

Day 3: Phillipe The Original is the self tauted creator of the French Dip sandwich. Founded in 1908 it is one of  the oldest restaurants in Southern California. As the story goes the sandwich was "invented" when one of the servers dropped a roast beef sandwich into a vat of the broth. The customer said they would take it anyway and the rest is "history". First of all this place is intimidating to newcomers, if you are from Atlanta think Varsity on game day. The crowd was huge, basically you fight your way to the front of one of 20 or so lines and place your order. While you wait the smell of roasted meat permeates the air. They have so many choices, beef, lamb, turkey, and pork. Our table tried it all. We sampled their pickled (not deviled) eggs, and a side of slaw. The sandwiches were heavenly. The meat was perfectly flavorful leaving no need for and condiments except for the au jus. We had our sandwiches double dipped to get the most out of our French Dip experience. The crusty French bread could handle the moisture and stayed perfectly crisp on the outside and warm and soft on the inside. The roast beef is the traditional, but for me the lamb took the cake. If you are willing to find your way, and face the crowd, this is certainly worth a try.

Dessert: Fosselmans Ice Cream Co.  was rated by the Guardian  among other publicationsas the best in the world for milkshakes. They were founded in 1919 and hold onto the old fashioned ice cream shop mentality. They have all the standard flavors like butter pecan and mint chocolate chip and some new ones like dark chocolate raspberry. After a dinner of pizza we headed over to sample the best. How can you not go there when its the best in the world and right down the street. I will have to agree with the hype. The consistancy, flavor, and selection of the milshakes was fantastic. The store was no frills. We tried so many flavors. I stuck with the simple strawberry which featured real strawberries so often lacking in other milkshakes. This is a little out of the way in LA, but in a city of highways certainly worth the stop.

I am looking forward to my next trip back to LA. I have not even begun to explore all of the food this city has to offer.

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