Half the fun of discovering a new restaurant is sharing it with people you know will enjoy it. As Rachael Ray’s resident restaurant guru, here’s an inside look at what I report back to Rach about some of my favorite restaurant finds and food experiences!
Sent: Wednesday, November 12, 2012 11:19am
Subject: My L.A. Dinners
Hey Rach – my last write-up to you was about some of my memorable lunches while we were in L.A. shooting for the next season of Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off. This one will be about some of my standout dinners, and there were more than a few.
The first day I landed, I headed to Roy Choi’s Sunny Spot in Marina del Rey. I’m a big fan of him – he’s one of those chefs that does what he wants to do, but he’s got the talent to back it up. He has a few places, and of course the famed Kogi Truck, but Sunny Spot is his take on a roadside cookshop and spotlights mainly Jamaican and a few other Caribbean flavors. I started off with a papaya and mango salad with cashews and red onion that was bright and fresh, along with a side of mofongo (which may not be on the menu anymore, but he has some pretty unique sides, so you should try at least one of what’s available). The Cuban Torta, with pork terrine, prosciutto, provolone, pickled jalapeño and mustard, was definitely memorable. I was pretty full, but I couldn’t really pass up the We Be Yammin’ Sweet Potato Tart with walnut crust and Toasted Marshmallow Ice Cream and indeed, I was happy I made room. Enjoy this place – it’s unique and you really will feel like you’re in the Caribbean.
The next night after we were done shooting, I drove over to Wurstkutsche. They specialize in unique sausages and the line is often out the door. I tried a rattlesnake sausage and a Filipino sausage with sweet pork and spices along with some of their Belgian-style fries with curry ketchup and ranch. It’s a neat place if you’re in the mood for a sausage sandwich, and they have more traditional ones as well. You’ll also find a second location in Venice Beach if you’re down that way.
Not that I need to tell you about this one, because I know it is one of your go-to places when you are in L.A., but I had never been to Wa Sushi and was super excited to finally try it. Based on your recommendations, I had the sea bream with yuzu salt and wasabi, the spicy king crab and the seared scallops with truffle.
All three were pretty darn good. They were all on the smaller side, and while I did want to try more, I felt bad because I was closing them out. And because Guy Fieri had recommended a dish at Katana that I needed to try…
So after Wa Sushi, I headed to Katana and took Guy up on his rec for Lobster with Port Reduction and Truffle. It was a solid dish, I must say. I also had Spicy Tuna on Crispy Rice and a piece of Yellowtail on Crispy Rice – both excellent.
I won’t go so far as to say that I’m saving the best for last, but my meal at The Bazaar in the SLS Hotel was very special. I sat at one of the little food bars and watched the chefs at work. I ordered a bunch of small plates, picked around and chatted them up. I also met a couple people to my right and shared some of my food. Here’s what I ordered:
- Smoked Yellowtail with Crispy Rice, Yogurt, Grapes and Capers
- Pan con Tomate – this was out-of-control good
- “Not Your Everyday Caprese” – tomatoes and liquid mozzarella
- Dashi Noodles that were pretty rad and quite different
- Boneless Buffalo Chicken Wings with bleu cheese and celery – I knew this wasn’t traditional tapas, so I had to see what this was all about; plus, I’m a sucker for chicken wings
- Braised Wagyu Beef Cheeks
- The icing on the cake: a Philly Cheesesteak – “air bread” with cheddar cheese sauce injected into the middle and a few beautiful slices of wagyu beef draped across the top.
I am still thinking about that last dish. Often.
And that’s what’s on my plate!
822 Washington Boulevard
Marina del Rey, CA 90292
800 East 3rd Street
Los Angeles, CA 90013
The Pie Hole
714 Traction Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90013
Wa Sushi and Bistro
1106 North La Cienega Boulevard #201
West Hollywood, CA 90069
8439 West Sunset Boulevard
West Hollywood, CA 90069
The Bazaar by Jose Andres (SLS Hotel Beverly Hills)
465 South La Cienega Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90048
Andrew “Kappy” Kaplan loves food. A professionally trained chef, by day he runs Yum-o!, Rachael Ray’s charity focused on kids and cooking, and keeps special projects running smoothly for her. By night he hops course to course, place to place, all across the country. He’s Rach’s own personal dining guide! You can also follow Kappy on Twitter to see what’s On Kappy’s Plate in real-time!