Every year, I try to put together fun events around my birthday to distract myself from paying attention to how old I am.
The run for this year was as follows:
Thursday “day of” girls dinner at Hatfield’s.
Friday dinner at Hungry Cat, then stumble over to Henry Fonda Music Box for the moe. show.
Saturday dinner at Bottega Louie, then cruise over to Ween at the Wiltern.
Dinner at Hatfield’s was great. The space has been occupied by a number of restaurants since I’ve lived in L.A. and I’ve tried them all. It was Citrus (1986-2001), Alex (2001-2004), Meson G (2004-2006), Red Pearl Kitchen (2006-2009), and how Hatfield’s. I had been to Hatfield’s a few times at its original location on Beverly (where Eva is now) but hadn’t been since it moved.
We had a round table for 6 out on the patio. I liked the feel of the main room better, but we were going to squeeze a 7th in for drinks later so the round table was the way to go. Beansie scored a cocktail at the bar while we were waiting to be seated. To me, it was too mild, sweet, and weak. But I’m very much an “in your face” cocktail girl. Less sugar, more ginger, less watery, more booze, please! I decided to stick to the wine list.
I capped our selection at $60 which was pretty limiting, but gave us a few options.
We went with a Malbec first. Home Fry had never met a Malbec she didn’t like. I didn’t like this one. It was sour, high acid, pretty foul. The sommelier insisted on taking it back and we went with a Pinot Noir. It was drinkable. We tried a Syrah for the second bottle and that one was fine too, but neither one had me running to purchase for my house.
Here’s what we ate, ordered from favorite to least favorite:
“Croque Madame” Yellowtail sashimi, prosciutto, sunny side up quail egg, grilled brioche – My favorite dish. Never disappoints.
Chilled Poached Main Scallop with bulgur salad, horseradish creme fraiche, muddled citrus – Small portion but great flavors.
Slow Cooked Beef Short Rib with blue lake beans, braised radish, horseradish potato puree – The short ribs were in slices instead of the usual braised and falling off the bone, but still delicious.
Date & Mint Crusted Lamb with roasted heirloom root vegetables, fresh chick peas, potato chive puree – All great flavors.
Warm Creamy Crab Buckwheat Crepe with pickled beets, marinated radish, fine herbs – A little too creamy, but still done well.
Charred Octopus with caramelized fennel, saffron vanilla braised hearts of palm, red wine olive puree – I wanted to love this dish, like as much as Laney did, but I thought it was a little bland. I tasted none of the saffron or vanilla on the hearts of palm (I barely tasted any hearts of palm in the hearts of palm…)
Potato & Egg Yolk Filled Raviolo with creamy goat cheese, roasted baby beets, sherry vinegar emulsion – One big raviolo in a beet heavy sauce. Pretty good.
Brown Butter Roasted Cauliflower with sauteed plantains, roasted almonds, golden raisins, parsley root puree – Not bad if you’re a raisin person.
Kabocha Squash Agnolotti with roasted chiodini mushrooms, pork confit, maple brown butter broth – This was the least memorable to me.
Our lactard was told to pick a protein and they’d make it for her with no dairy. She got salmon and it was fantastic.
Sugar & Spice Beignets with chocolate fondue and a Mexican chocolate milkshake shot – Their signature dessert. The milkshake rocked.
Chocolate Caramel Semifreddo with salted peanut crunch and bitter chocolate sorbet – Didn’t suck.
Great meal, great friends. Good attention to detail, though I wasn’t WOW’ed by as many dishes as I’d expected.
The Hungry Cat was the second set of the run.
I picked it because a) it’s rad and b) it’s super close to the Fonda. But they wouldn’t take a table bigger than 8 ppl for a reservation. So I took matters into my own hands and had three friends each get a table for 4 ppl on Open Table and then put in the notes that we wanted to sit together. Worked like a charm!
Here’s what we had:
The Sleepy Jean (cue The Monkees) – chamomile-infused reposado tequila, honey water, dash of dolin dry vermouth – awesome!
Luke’s Lemonade – blue ice vodka & mint, house-made lemonade *for every Luke’s Lemonade sold a donation is made to Alex’s Lemonade Stand- love the charity portion, but it was a little sugary for me.
The Michelada – Tecate, lime, hot sauce (w/ or w/o grapefruit) Nirvana! I will dream about this cocktail
OYSTERS! – the cherry on top to any bday
Crab Salad – would have loved it if it actually didn’t have cilantro in it.
Octopus – Yum
Salmon Beignets – Delish
Crab Legs – Super sweet (this was the right place for sweetness!) and meaty!
Scallops – One of my faves
Striped Bass – the picture didn’t come out, but this was the best dish.
The pouty face I made when I was told we couldn’t get the Pumpkin Beignets with bacon maple sauce for dessert (because it was only on the DineLA week menu) worked as we were presented with a plate of it with a big candle shortly after. Totally worth whatever dignity I lost in the process. They were unbelievable.
The Meyer Lemon Parfait was bad-ass too.
On to moe. at the Music Box at the Henry Fonda, next on the agenda. Thankfully I had my pregnant friend Amy with me. We were able to cut the line that wrapped around the corner and enter through the handicapped entrance! The show was a slight bust. I love the fonda and I love moe. but this show wasn’t my fave. It was a little sleepy and spacey. The downstairs was a mess. I didn’t meet up with half of my friends. BUT, I worked us getting two tickets for the upstairs balcony (Baby Stouffer – whom I affectionately call Efferifus – gets MVP of the evening) and was able to stub my six ppl up there with us. So we had a nice seated row of the “adult section” and were able to chill. Not a rager, but it all worked out in the end.
Here’s the setlist:
Set 1: Jazzwank > Plane Crash, Where Does The Time Go? > Yodelittle > Skrunk > Yodelittle, Seat Of My Pants
Set 2: Opium > Downward Facing Dog, Chromatic Nightmare, Y.O.Y. > Puebla > Tubing The River Styx > The Pit > Moth, E: New York City, Crab Eyes
Bottega Louie was insanity. Happy, stimulating, insanity. Not only was there a line for a table, there was a line to put your name down for the list for a table. The waiters were super sweet, the food was great, they were hassle free for a large party, and downtown is really convenient for a Wiltern show.
Here’s what we got:
Caprese Salad – good, the tomatoes were peeled, I liked it.
Burrata Pizza – how could that be bad?
Clam Pizza – not bad, but wasn’t expecting sweet roasted peppers in the mix.
Pappardelle – with mushroom and fois gras duxelle- best dish by far
Fettuccini Belmundo – with cherry tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, and Parmesan – good
Trenne – with braised rib eye and kale – wanted to like it better.
Brussles Sprouts – I love them always, but these were a little salty.
Meatballs Marinara – Mmmmmm.
Portobello Fries – Good, but would have liked a lighter batter.
Grilled Squid and Chorizo Ravioli – the ravioli was good but could have had a richer sauce.
Diver Scallops – wrapped the Prosciutto with lentils and salsa verde – awesome.
Dessert: Le Grand Macaron – I was stuffed, I didn’t try it, but everyone else was happy with it.
Nebbiolo Malvira Langhe Piemonte 2006 – was a little light and boring, but drinkable.
The Prisoner – Orin Swift Napa 2008 – makes me cry with every sip. I want a case every time.
Ween at the Wiltern was killer. Shamefully, I can’t quite remember if I’ve been to a Ween show before. I think I have. But this is the one I’ll remember. My friends had a pit wristband waiting for me when I got there and the crowd was rocking.
When I said I wouldn’t be upset if dinner ran into overtime and we were late for the show, it never occurred to me that they’d play Spirit of ’76 in the lost beginning. But the entire show kicked ass so I almost didn’t notice I had missed it. We apparently arrived while it was playing but someone had to chat in the lobby for a few minutes and take a picture…
Here’s the setlist for Ween at the Wiltern Saturday January 29, 2011:
1. “Exactly Where I’m At”
2. “Don’t Get 2 Close (2 My Fantasy”)
3. “Touch My Tooter”
4. “Even If You Don’t”
5. “Freedom of ’76”
6. “Spring Theme” (“Transdermal Celebration”)
7. “Bananas and Blow”
8. “Spinal Meningitis”
9. “Mister, Would You Please Help My Pony?” “Learnin’ to Love”
10. “With My Own Bare Hands”
11. “The Argus”
13. “Puerto Rican Power”
14. “I’ll Be Your Johnny On the Spot”
16. “Did You See Me?”
17. “Buckingham Green”
18. “Your Party”
19. “Let’s Dance” (David Bowie cover)
20. “Slow Down Boy”
21. “Ace of Spades” (Motörhead cover)
22. “Push th’ Little Daisies”
23. “What Deaner Was Takin’ About
24. “Roses Are Free”
25. “Put the Coke On My Dick”
26. “Ocean Man”
27. “The Mollusk”
29. “Take Me Away”
30. “Mr. Richard Smoker”
31. “Lucky Man” (Emerson, Lake and Palmer cover)
Thanks so much to all of my awesome friends who helped me celebrate in such style this weekend! Your turns are next!
The true closer of the weekend was TV recovery day Sunday. The ProBowl -> SAG awards on delay. Ryan made us dinner and I swooned over my latest Spanish wine discovery, Juan Gil 2008. It’s 100% Monastrell and there’s a little recovery packed in every sip.