A few more notes about eating in
Truthfully, I didn’t remember if I had said anything horrible about him, but I didn’t think the Maître D’ would pull up my blog at the front desk and accuse me of treachery.
Funnily enough, Chef Peel was in
It didn’t seem to matter that the chef wasn't in the house. The food was amazing.
But it’s not only food I’m interested in whenever I’m in LA. I always have my antenna up for famous people.
I was really spoiled the first time we went to California, maybe 12 years ago. We were staying at some hotel near Universal Studios and as I walked into the hotel just after we arrived, THIS is who I saw!!! Awesome, right? I really hope you’re not saying you have no idea who that is. It’s the father from the Wonder Years, of course. Fantastic, huh?
Anyway, so I’m always on the lookout. So, listen to this! Right next to us at Campanile was a guy, who for the first 45 minutes, I was completely and positively sure was Paul Giamatti. AND I wasn’t the only one at the table that thought that.
THEN he turned and we saw more than his close-cropped beard and sturdy glasses profile and, NO, it wasn’t the Oscar winner. He turned out to be some kind of wine fundi, who, with a cast of rotating characters, spent the evening tasting wines, MANY wines, and making a ruckus and being generally completely full of himself. I’m sure Paul Giamatti would have been much lower key.
I also think that someone doesn’t have that look by accident. He WANTED people to do a double take and think he was a movie star. Incidentally, not all wine experts are painful. I know at least one or two who are completely delightful.
This is exciting. I didn’t realize until I looked back at any potential scurrilous remarks I had made about Chef Peel (there were none) that one of the things we ordered was what he cooked for Neil Patrick Harris at the
The fish on Top Chef Masters was in parchment, though. And these were Mark Peel's Top Chef scores for that dish:
Critics - Gael 4½, Gail 4, James 3½
Another stellar meal that could have been the star of the entire trip (if I weren’t so spoiled and had so many culinary highlights) was Michael’s. Open since 1979, it has embodied “California Cuisine” for decades. The garden is the place to sit and since it was a Monday night, we had our choice of tables.
The food was incredible. The service was friendly and warm, yet unobtrusive.
The salmon gravlax was so buttery and luscious that I could have made a meal of it.
Wild Quinault River Salmon Tartare Jicama, Avocado, Oro Blanco Granita
The salmon tartar was a work of art. It was so gorgeous and the salmon itself was freshness-personified. I would have liked a bit more of a punch of flavor, but I admired every bite.
White Asparagus with Serrano Ham
The White Asparagus with Serrano Ham was a special that evening. Even though I lived in
The duck breast was rare, as ordered, and just perfect and the skin was lovely and crunchy. But I wish they had just forgotten about the confited leg. It was the first time I had ever had a DRY duck leg. It almost seemed like an afterthought. Luckily, the breast was the star.
Wild Steelhead Salmon, Creamy Polenta,
Moist and really tasty salmon (3 salmon dishes in one meal was definitely not too many). The dot of polenta under the fish was bland and a bit too runny.
WHY didn't I take pictures of the Trio of Sorbets and Ice Creams and the Bread Pudding? I must have been in a fabulous food coma. Okay, that's it. Until the post that follows this one...