GorgeFest 2007 has now concluded... Thanks for the rec's
GorgeFest 2007, aka my chef brother's 4 day visit to LA, has now concluded. Somehow we seem to have survived it - although I have to admit I skipped dinner tonight.
Friday night - flight delayed He arrives at 1am so we are just able to make it to In-n-Out.
Saturday morning - hit the Pasadena farmer's market and then headed to the food show at the LA Convention Center. Complimentary passes made it a fun way to kill a couple of hours. Lots of crazy, processed, mass-produced/fried food but also a few interesting cheeses, some good smoked salmon, and the beer garden is always a welcome diversion
Saturday afternoon - Mozza! 3 of us sat at the pizza bar (actually had it mostly to ourselves) and had a great time. Shared the squash blossoms, Chicken livers, capers, parsley & guanciale bruschette and Bufala mozzarella & prosciutto di Parma. Had 2 very good pizzas - the Salame Gentile, mozzarella, tomato & fresno chiles and the White anchovy, tomato & hot chiles. Somehow found room for butterscotch budino, pistachio gelato with puff pastry and greek yogurt gelato with fruit. Really good food although the anemic air conditioning made it a bit of a challenge to survive all the way to the end of the meal...
Saturday night - beers at Lucky Baldwin and then pool and late night $1 carne asada tacos at Jaime's in Monrovia
Sunday morning - Trip to Penzeys with a detour to BevMo and the Korean market (Freshia). Drove over to Surfas and got there too late for the hot sandwiches but split a decent turkey sandwich from the case with some potato fingers and a couple of cookies. Wandered around for an hour or so and picked up some staples.
Sunday evening - 3 of us headed to Providence for the 9 course chef's tasting - awesome dinner with a lot of fantastic wine. Favorites included the scallop, the tuna tartare, the mango amuse bouche, the bacon caramels and the corn tortilla ice cream with avocado puree. Waitstaff was great and really made the evening fun for us. Thanks to all those that recommended this - my brother really enjoyed it.
Monday morning - Late breakfast/early lunch of pork soup dumplings, string beans and pork fried noodles at Din Tai Fung. Headed to South El Monte to visit the Gioia cheese factory where we picked up some burrata and bocconcini. Put it in the ice chest and dropped in to Bollini's pizza to try the pie and then headed across the street for a shave ice from Shakas
Monday evening - family night. Served up the haul from the farmer's market (salsa, guacamole, grilled corn w/chipotle lime butter) with some tri-tip from Costco
Tuesday - Peach Cafe for breakfast and then split 3 slices at Zelo's (pepperoni, salami w/blue cheese and corn) for a late lunch on the way to the airport
Very fun weekend but if he would have stayed one more day I might have needed a medical intervention :-)
Zelo's was, as always, really good. I am really a fan of the Toscano salami and blue cheese pizza - it's a combo I can't get anywhere else so when I want it I have to go there. The Peach Cafe was also good although I think I missed their weekend specials. Their version of the benedict is really good.
Honestly, we were a bit disappointed by Bollini's. I like Neapolitan style/thin crust/wood fire but it felt like this pizza didn't really take advantage of the potential of the oven and what it can do for a good crust. It was cracker thin and super flat but still managed to be slightly undercooked in the middle with no real char anywhere. It's a cool place and if I lived in the area I would probably go back but I'm not likely to drive across town again.
As for the shave ice - Yum! I'm a bit of a shave ice rookie so I probably wouldn't know really good from excellent but I enjoyed it a lot and am looking forward to practicing! Do you have any other places you would recommend I try?
Ya, disappointed by Bollini's. The crust has no flavor and the use of a wood fired oven adds nothing to it. No smoke flavor at all. How could that be? Maybe the “crust” is so thin that it is not in the oven long enough to gain any smoke flavor. I probably live more near than you and it is located between me and a friend who I want to take there for the seafood items on the pizza. Therefore I will give Bollini's another try.
I just went to Shakas Sunday afternoon for some shave ice at the Alhambra location. We stopped on the way home from Du-Par’s for Hash and eggs (very good) and buying some Hanger steak at Huntington Meats. A great weekend. As for other shave ice, well, I hear good things here about these two shave ice places but I have not been to them myself. I know Shakas is the real thing. .
Shakas – two locations
Shave It Incorporated
11 E Hillcrest Dr
Thousand Oaks, CA 91360
Tutu’s Ice Cream / Shave ice