Tuesday, April 6, 2010

CA Food

California isn’t just the land of marathons and reality tv (actually those can be anywhere), it also is the home of beautiful, fresh, tempting food at any price point.

In oceanside Santa Monica, we had a lovely meal at Buddha’s Belly. Gayot describes it as being Asian-inspired. It’s more Asian than that, but the dishes do have a much more modern spin than your local sushi/Chinese place. I didn't taste everything, but I would definitely go back.

Chilled Vietnamese Rolls - Rice paper rolls filled with shrimp, chicken, rice noodles, mint, cilantro, and fried onions rolled in rice paper with sweet chili & sake reduction dipping sauces. They were chock full of great things. The slightly bland (not a bad thing) rolls were delicious with the two sauces.

Ahi Tuna and Avocado Tempura Roll - Ahi tuna rolled up with avocado with shiso leaves, battered and deepfried. They were served with a tobanjan (hot Chinese miso paste) sauce and ponzu drizzle. Crunchy on the outside, smooth on the outside. TOO GOOD!

Pad Thai - a savory mixture of shrimp, chicken breast, tofu, rice noodles, scrambled eggs, bean sprouts, cilantro and peanuts.

Japanese-Style Baked Alaskan Black Cod - served in a Bento box with a miso marinade, edamame sushi rice, cucumber salad and broccoli.

Grilled Shrimp So yummy, slightly charred on the outside, perfectly cooked.

205 Broadway (Second St.)
Santa Monica, CA 90401

My "little" girl and I had lunch one day at Locanda del Lago on the Third Street Promenade. We split a Chicken Panini and Insalata Cesare con Salmone. The Focaccia Panini had a jalepeno aioli which was out of this world. The Caesar salad was creamy and cheesy, even if the salmon was a bit overcooked. Its accompanying Parmesan Pizza Bread was super thin and crisp and a wonderful accompaniment.

231 Arizona Avenue
Santa Monica, CA 90401
310 451 3525

We also spent a few days in Palm Springs and had a super duper extravagant meal with friends at Wally's Desert Turtle.

Wow, what a gorgeous place! It certainly is the prettiest restaurant we went to on this trip. From the outside you see lots of mirrors and twinkling lights. The inside is gilded, mirrored and upholstered to every inch of its life. But it's done so well that you feel as if you're in another era, one that's much more elegant and refined.

The food isn't revolutionary, but it's a beautifully prepared American menu with a California spin of fresh and excellent ingredients.

Oregon Artichoke stuffed with Blue Crab and Smoked Salmon with Lemon Caper Dressing

California Baby Iceberg with Vine-Ripened Tomato & Parmesan Twist with Blue Cheese Dressing

Funnily, Mark Bittman just wrote about how good iceberg lettuce is in a salad.

Jumbo shrimp, avocado and capers

Roasted Maple Leaf Duck Breast with Smoked Bacon and Braised Cabbage, Medjool Date and Marsala Sauce The duck was sooo tender and cooked exactly as I ordered it, medium rare.

Sauteed Filet of Beef with Shallot and Sherry Fondue

Roasted Colorado Rack of Lamb

Sautéed Dover Sole Amandine

Key Lime Pie with Citron Sauce
Great pie, but it could have been a bit tarter.

Valrhona Chocolate Souffle
Sorry for the fuzzy picture, but, gosh, was it good. I loved the chocolate sauce they poured into the center,.

71-775 Highway 111
Rancho Mirage, California 92270

A couple more restaurants coming soon...


The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

I want that duck - and that chocolate thing!

My only trip to CA was a Labor Day visit to see some friends in 2004. Stayed in Santa Monica, but never really got much of the dining scene. We went to casual places (because our friend had picky kids) or else ate at friends' homes. I missed a lot while I was there!

Sue said...

Rach, I want them again too!

And, you know, you don't have to eat fancy in California to eat well. I wonder if your friends cooked with particularly great local stuff. I bet they did.

Emily said...

The first restaurant you mentioned... I mean, wow! I want every single thing. Pad Thai sounds so good right now.

I wonder what shiso tastes like?