Akemi bids a fond farewell to some old friends.
Akemi bids a fond farewell to some old friends.

Sadly, all good things come to an end, be they vacations, bacon-infused chocolates, or long lived scifi t.v. shows.  The other day, Akemi and I bid L.A. a fond farewell in fine style – with dinner at Jose Andres’ Bazaar,compliments of Martin Gero, and his lovely better half, Chelan Simmons.

The evening took me back to some of the memorable meals I enjoyed in Tokyo, every dish imaginative, delightfully surprising, and, most importantly, delicious…

Caviar cones
Caviar cones

We started with two versions, the caviar cone pictured above and a salmon and lox with salmon roe.  The latter was accompanied by cream cheese (within the body of the cone), the former creme fraiche.

Olives (modern and traditional)

The traditional version was pretty damn good but the modern version, contained within a thin-walled gelatin capsule, was bursting with liquid olive flavor.

Smoke on the Wate
Smoke on the Water

Blackberries, Scotch Islay Mist and flame in the form of dry ice.  Sweet and strong but not overly so.

Not Your Everyday Caprese (cherry tomatoes and liquid mozzarella)

And yet, like most molecular creations, it possessed the flavor of the very best version of the dish it was trying to capture.

63 (celsius) degree egg with potato foam and caramelized chives

Martin and Akemi’s favorite.  Akemi insists she can make this one at home using the sous-vide machine and foamer.  We’ll see.

Lemon artichokes with black olive tapenade and dandelion

Good but my least favorite of the night.  A tad too tart for my taste.

Jamon Iberico and a fried farm egg with truffle butter

Spain’s vaunted Iberico pork on full display here.  It melts in your mouth, leaving behind traces of its salty sweetness.

Seared Paso Prime striploin with peas and scallions “calcot” style.

Very good although, I have to be honest.  Ever since I had wagyu in Tokyo seven years ago, nothing in North America quite compares.

Seared Mary’s Farm Chicken with honey dates, mustard caviar, and mustard greens.

The chicken was unbelievable.  Incredibly moist, tender, with crispy skin to either side!

Uni (sea urchin, avocado, steamed buns)

Not for everyone – but certainly for Akemi, Martin, and I.  A variation of the mini uni sub I enjoyed at Jose Andres’ restaurant in Las Vegas.

Seared squid with caramelized onion

They were sold out of the night’s squid special, so we settled for the regular version – and did just fine.  The meatiness of the body with the crispiness of the tentacles = perfection!

Philly cheesesteak
Philly cheesesteaks (Air bread, cheddar, mushrooms)

We concluded (the savoury portion) of our meal with these mini Philly cheese steaks – the aptly named “air bread” ultra thin, containing the melted cheese hidden inside.

From there we moved on to dessert – at an adjoining dessert room, its walls and counters lined with choices, everything from jellies and marshmallows to cookies and cakes.  And, in addition, there were the menu items to choose from!

A few of the desserts we enjoyed

Florentine, financier, chocolate chip, wedding cookie, double chocolate, pecan, hot chocolate mousse, red velvet cupcakes – just a few of the items we sampled.  It honestly felt like we’d been invited to Willy Wonka’s private lounge.

A wonderful meal to cap off four days of fantastic dining (with the exception of that first restaurant).

Akemi poses with the giant tapeworm
Akemi poses with the giant tapeworm

Monday morning, we were still mighty satisfied from the pervious night’s meal.  But there were two more places we had to hit – it being our last day and all.

Make a withdrawal from the cupcake ATM and Sprinkles.

We picked up two cupcakes from Sprinkles –

Sprinkles cupcakes: Carrot cake and red velvet
Sprinkles cupcakes: Carrot cake and red velvet

And two more from Crumbs –

Crumbs' cupcakes: Carrot cake and red velvet cookies and cream.
Crumbs’ cupcakes: Carrot cake and red velvet cookies and cream.

– before retiring to our hotel for our Cupcake-Off!  The results?

Akemi preferred the Sprinkles carrot cake, finding the Crumbs counterparts too sweet, the icing in particular.  I, on the other hand, like sweet and, while I may have agreed with Akemi on the frosting, I preferred the carrot “cake” from Crumbs for its superior moistness.  In the battle of the red velvets, we both gave the edge to Sprinkles.

And that was it.  We caught our half-hour-late flight out of LAX and arrived in Vancouver just a little before 7:00 p.m.  The dogs were, of course, thrilled to have us back and, after taking them for a walk, Akemi and I even managed to get in a workout.

That’s it!  I’m on the program!  It’s going to be oatmeal and fish (and occasional dark chocolate only because it’s good for me) from hereonin!

20 thoughts on “July 9, 2013: The L.A. Wrap-up!

  1. Oh, swoon. I’d have to tip-toe around the salty things, but it all looks good. Glad I just ate dinner before reading this post! And now I want a carrot cake cupcake for dessert. 😀 Bet you guys missed the dog babies as much as they missed you. 🙂

    Somebody might have fun with the typo.

    Seeing your yummy nourriture (and the photo of her the other day) reminded me to look up Jewel Staite’s foodie/recipe blog, Happy Opu. Hers, too, is well-written and tempting. I did remember to come home, though. 🙂 Welcome back!

  2. Wow. That meal looks incredible. And filling.

    If you’re like me, as much fun as it is to be away on vacation, there’s nothing quite like coming home to sleep in your own bed. And, once again this coming week, I’m away again to NH for the week for volunteering with the Appalachian Mountain Club. And for those wondering, yes I do actually have a job. 🙂

    Question – is the oatmeal and fish going to be served together? I’d like to see you make that combo work! For some reason, I read that last word as ‘heroin’, which is probably not something you want to include in your training diet.

    Poor Akemi is almost disappearing behind that tapeworm!

  3. Love your foodie adventures, Joe. Always good to see old friends with your favourite Akemi too! But how did the business part of your trip go? I like travelling, but it’s so good to come home again.

  4. DEAR JOE:




  5. FAB foooood…feast for the eyes, since we cannot sample.

    And, now you are doing a “whovian” thing. Matt Smith’s Doctor ate fish fingers and custard. You eat fish and oatmeal….ok…cool.
    Don’t forget the chocolate and macarons!

  6. Joe ..

    I’ve been following your blog for many years. I just not realized, your a food critic! 🙂

  7. Oh man, a whole room just for dessert, be still my stomach!! Welcome home Joe and Akemi. Puppy hugs and kisses were probably the order of the day at your house. Good luck with the program. I am hoping to do the same. Its tough to stick to, I know. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Wow, some amazing dishes, my favorite pic was of the cheese steak, it looks so fresh and tasty. I’m wondering how I can replicate the caviar cones, too.

  9. Welcome home Joe and Akemi! Did you do any house hunting while in LA? How did Kerry-with-a-Y do? Was there any liquor left in your cabinets? I’m still in New Jersey. Leaving tomorrow, Wednesday, to come home to 100 degress Texas. Can’t wait. Any more plane trips for the job and I’m quitting! I’m not JeffW. I can’t take this flying on business. A fun trip, now that’s a different story.

    Yesterday Line Noise wrote, “As a fan of superhero movies, this is, without a doubt, the worst example I’ve seen. This makes Shark-boy and Lava-girl look good! *waves to Ponytail*”

    I bet you didn’t think I would see that little comment . . . Who do you think you are, making fun of . . . wait a minute . . . is this a nice comment? Are you saying you loved Shark Boy & Lava Girl? I think it was good too!! Sweet of you to agree. Makes me want to watch it, yet again.

  10. @Joe:

    Welcome back!

    And the Bazaar pictures look incredible! I’ll have to see if I can take in one of José Andrés’ restaurants in Las Vegas at the next CES.

    @For the love of Beckett:

    The post July 4th cookout went very well. The picnic butt was smoked to perfection (14 hours) and it literally fell off the bone. I also smoked country ribs and sweet corn. And DP’s cobbler was a great success! (Thanks DP!) All in all a very good day. Thanks for asking!

  11. oooo, cupcakes!

    moistness is important in a cupcake, as is a good frosting. i might give the vote to whichever one was more moist though.

  12. G’day

    Finally caught up.

    Happy Belated Birthday to Das.

    Party looked like fun. Cool way to feed the guests. Lobster and donuts. Yummo.

    Welcome home.

  13. *yawns and stretches*

    Just woke up about 3 am…couldn’t get back to sleep so decided to watch some tv…and my satellite is down. 🙁 Hubby’s tv went down a couple days ago, and now mine. DTV said sometimes it happens that way, even though both are on the same satellite connection one receiver may fail before another. The failure at this point seems to be in the line between the dish and the receiver – I hope so, I don’t want to lose my latest collection of Mystery! movies, Midsomer Murders, and Death in Paradise episodes…not to mention 8 rugby matches I was saving. 🙁 It sucks because they can’t come out until Friday morn to fix it, and that means missing an important rugby match early Friday morning. *sniffle*

    With all the tech problems I’ve been having lately (do not get me started on the computer! GRRR!), don’t be surprised if I suddenly disappear from the interwebs. Every day I get closer and closer to doing this:


    Only I’m gonna blow up the tv AND the computer!! 😡 Sassin’ frassin’ technology is gonna drive me to drink…MORE!!!

    In the meantime, I’ma gonna read me a book…and hope I can fall back to sleep.


  14. The squid and the chicken, so tempting. Walls made of desserts? What dreams are made of.

  15. Ponytail: Safe travels!

    I’m drooling over those pictures. That were seriously fantastic looking meals.

    I’ve heard of Sprinkles but haven’t heard of Crumbs (love the names). The Crumbs cakes look prettier.

    I found this recipe from one of Bobby Flay’s Throw down show and it’s the best Red Velvet cupcake recipe I’ve ever tried. The icing is not too sweet so Akemi might like it. (I don’t like ultra-sweet icing either.) http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/throwdown-with-bobby-flay/red-velvet-cupcakes-recipe/index.html

    Enjoy the oatmeal!

  16. 😳 I meant “Those were”.

    My morning is bribing the kid with a Chick-fil-a breakfast and helping me clean the catteries. Wish me luck!

  17. Outside of those desserts, the only thing I would even allow to pass my lips would be the mozzarella & tomato salad. Did you see that last episode of masterchef where they did the wedding? The bride pulled out this list of all the things she did not like? The two entrees of lamb and halibut would be on my NO list. So I am worse than she is. And lavender pea soup? The pea soup yes, but the lavender, no thank you. Lavender belongs in my candle. Or my essential oils. But not past my lips either.

    Glad you had a great trip but are you EVER going to tell us what you got Martin Gero? Or is it something that will remain forever private.

    I bet the puppies were so glad to see you. I hope Kerry took good care of them while you were away.

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