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PeterCC’s 24-Hour L.A. Food Tour, Saturday Edition

[I was going to wait until tonight or tomorrow morning to post this, but it seemed like kinda a slow day, so I thought, "Why not now?"]

Below is the final schedule of stops for Saturday evening, with the dishes I plan to order. I will try my darndest to stick to my list, but everything is subject to change, based on traffic, wait times, availability, new specials, etc. Asterisks still mark the restaurants I haven’t been to before...

6 PM - Animal*: Pig tails, “buffalo style,” celery, ranch; foie gras, biscuit, maple sausage gravy. (~60 minutes, $36+)

7:30 PM - Red Medicine*: Heirloom rice porridge, egg yolk, hazelnuts, ginseng, echire butter; add Santa Barbara red uni; a.k.a. “uni congee”. (~45 minutes, $27+)

9 PM - Hatfield’s*: “Croque Madame”, yellowtail sashimi, prosciutto, sunny side up quail egg, grilled brioche; Bobo Farms foie gras, apple-rosemary “butter”, caramelized cippolini, molasses toast . (~60 minutes, $43+)

10:30 PM - Leo’s Tacos*: Tacos al Pastor; tacos de lengua. (~15 minutes, $2+)

The biggest change to the schedule is that _all_ of the stops are now new-to-me restaurants (I removed Shunji, the only place I’d already been). In the original thread, I had also mentioned replacing Plan Check with a mystery spot, which I had planned to be Gjelina, as they _were_ serving Beavertail oysters from my home state of Rhode Island. I think, though, I will like Hatfield’s much better (thanks for the rec, Lambster).

Not sure if Leo’s will actually happen after all I’ll have eaten by then, but we’ll see. Not gonna beat myself up if I can’t stomach it (no pun intended).

Final Google Map for Saturday: http://goo.gl/maps/HI2F (Yes, it is a bit circuitous, but I have reservations at both Red Medicine and Hatfield’s that necessitate this order of stops.)

Estimates:

On the Road: 5:30 PM
Arrive Home: 11 PM
Duration: 5.5 hours
Cost: $108 (before drinks, taxes, and tips)

If anyone has any additional comments or suggestions, I’ll be checking this thread regularly, even while “on tour” (cellular reception permitting).

[The original discussion thread is here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/852040]

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  1. The look on your face afterward: priceless!

    Have a good time, and let use know how it turns out.

    1 Reply
    1. re: raytamsgv

      I will, thanks! Expect words and pictures.

    2. You're not going to get out of Hatfield's in an hour.

      In fact, I'd be sort of surprised if you got out of Animal in an hour's time, but you're there early enough so it might be doable.

      3 Replies
      1. re: ipsedixit

        I am counting on the fact that I'm arriving at Animal before it opens to get a seat quickly, and I'll order the two dishes I'm having right away. The durations listed are just estimates anyway. However, I do have a reservation at Red Medicine at 7:30 PM, so if need be, I'll take whatever's left over of my pig tails and foie gras to go.

        Likewise, my reservation at Hatfield's is at 9 PM, but since I'm ordering only one dish at RM, I'm hoping a 45-60 minute time frame at RM is realistic. And I've built-in travel time and a little bit of cushioning between each stop, so I should be able to get to Hatfield's on time.

        Luckily Hatfield's is essentially my last formal stop, with Leo's being a rather open-ended stop that I may not even make, so I'm not going to rush out of Hatfield's. In fact, I expect to slow down as the evening progresses (as I eat more), so I'm definitely planning on taking my time with the two dishes I'm having there.

        After all, it's not a how-much-can-I-eat contest, I want to taste and enjoy the food too! :-)

        1. re: PeterCC

          Animal has always had great and efficient service and I'll bet an hour is generous for your needs.

          1. re: Servorg

            Thanks Servorg, that's reassuring. I figure, they have such a small space, and are fairly popular, and I don't hear horrible things about the service or wait, that they must be at least a semi-well oiled (or should I say greased?) machine.

      2. Oh, one thing I forgot to mention/ask, what do people know about how the parking is at each of my stops? Animal's site mentions offering valet (how much?), and free meters after 8 PM (which wouldn't apply to me). RM's site mentions a managed parking lot next to the restaurant. Hatfield's site mentions valet ($7) or meters on Melrose. Does anyone have anything to add, any tips/tricks for parking at any of these locations?

        4 Replies
        1. re: PeterCC

          if you're willing to spend a few minutes to look and walk a little, you should be able to score street parking within 3-4 residential blocks of all three locations. As with any LA locale, pay close attention to restricted parking signs, esp for the first 2 stops. East of Highland near Hatfields, I don't think there's much residential zone parking restrictions. Not sure about the west side. Just try not to venture too far east on Melrose because Sat is movie night at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, an extremely popular event.

          1. re: PeterCC

            As sonia said, parking shouldn't be too hard. I'm in the Animal/Hatfields area a lot, and I notoriously avoid paying for parking, but the good thing is, there are a lot of easy places to find parking.
            - Animal, go a block east or west of Fairfax, and there should be street parking without restrictions, especially since you're not planning to stay too long.
            - Hatfields, should be open meters on Melrose by then, and they're free after 8pm. If not, Highland north of Melrose or Melrose east of Highland are both pretty reliable for finding spots.
            - Red Medicine, should be parking either on Wilshire or San Vicente.

            I'm excited for you, what an awesome plan (for both days). Who knows, I may even see you at one of your Sunday stops in the SGV! Anyhow, I know you've already got everything set, but if you can squeeze in one more taco, you could consider El Chato on La Brea/Olympic (in an auto body shop parking lot). You'll already be driving down La Brea, and it's on the way to Leo on La Brea/Venice. It's a messier, tastes better because it's late at night kind of taco, love it.

          2. Do you have a reservation at Animal too? They are crazy right now, I tried calling every day for the past two weeks to get a res before the Foie ban. They didn't return messages and didn't answer their phone the first 50 times I called. I finally got a res on a Sunday night. :)

            Parking is like the lottery- sometimes theres a spot right there, sometimes it takes forever to find one if you don't want to valet. What I would do is give yourself ten minutes to look for free/metered parking, and then give up and valet if you don't. Most places valet is ten or less but then you have to tip too. I just hate paying to park!

            2 Replies
            1. re: sarahbeths

              I get the feeling Peter plans to eat at the bar (which should be no problem since he will be there right when they open).

              1. re: sarahbeths

                No, since they don't do Open Table, and I wasn't able to get through either, I'm taking a risk. I figure as a solo diner, arriving before they open, worst-case scenario I'll sit at the bar (which I know is tiny). If I don't get seated quickly, I may cut the pig tails and just have the foie, since it won't be there in a few weeks, to keep myself on schedule.

                I hate paying to park too, and especially tipping after paid valet! But I don't want to stiff the attendants, they're not the ones getting the $7 or $10 valet fee (not directly, at least). I guess we'll see what my luck is both in getting into Animal and in finding parking for it. I'll probably hit the area around 5:30 PM, so I should have plenty of time.

              2. Tip for the start of your journey: get to Animal earlier than 6 if you want to ensure a bar seat. I got to the door right on the hour last Sun and just missed the last bar seats. Ended up waiting 1.5hr to try the foie gras biscuit (like you for the 1st time). Unimpressed by the food after all the hype, but that's another thread...

                1 Reply
                1. re: zack

                  Thanks Zack, I plan on arriving by 5:30 PM.

                2. Wow - you're up already? Saw you posting on the Shunji thread. Your belly must have been packed and plump - did you have to sleep sitting up? :) Looking forward to the details of your escapades...

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: bulavinaka

                    Isn't the mobile gorging going off tonight (Saturday night)?

                    1. re: Servorg

                      Yes, Servorg's correct. Can't wait! :-)

                    2. re: bulavinaka

                      It's tonight, not last night. I was up late at a poker game last night, posted the stuff on the Shunji thread after and went to bed, and then got woken up early this morning, so I'm on 4 hours of sleep. Ugh. Hoping to catch a nap before the gorgefest. :-)

                      Since I took Shunji off tonight's schedule, I squeezed in a quick visit yesterday right at their 6 PM opening and sampled just a few dishes, including the foie, the tomato agedashi tofu, and the kisu, shirauo, and suzuki.

                      1. re: PeterCC

                        Oops! I guess you'll be sleeping upright tonight - my bad. I don't think mumus are vogue for hitting up these eateries, but maybe a nice loose set of sweat pants with a long drawstring might work...

                        You're from Rhode Island? Big appetites come from the mighty-mite state (along with/congrats to Miss Rhode Island/USA). You mention the beavertail oysters - how would you describe them?

                        1. re: bulavinaka

                          I've raided my wife's old maternity clothes... Just kidding!

                          You know, I haven't had beavertails in a long time, so I can't really give a good description right now. If I find them at a local place again, I'll have to reacquaint myself with them and then I'll let you know.

                          1. re: PeterCC

                            Found this: Beavertail- These oysters are harvested from the East Passage of Narragansett Bay, in Rhode Island. Beavertails are very clean and deeply cupped. There name comes from the fact that there size and shape resembles a beaver’s tail. They have and elaborate briny flavor with hints of sweetness.

                            1. re: wienermobile

                              Thanks, I thought about pasting in the same or similar description found online too, but I figured bulavinaka was asking my personal opinion of them.

                    3. First Stop: Animal

                      5:30 PM - Freeways are crazy but I just hopped on Olympic and stayed on until I got to Fairfax, then up past Beverly. Didn't take very long and scored a meter spot right in front of Canter's. Just waiting for the restaurant to open.

                      5:40 PM - Lots of people loitering. Some are definitely waiting for Animal to open but I can't tell about others. I'm hoping the restaurant isn't all booked for reservations at 6 PM. 

                      5:50 PM - Count about 15 people definitely waiting for Animal.

                      5:55 PM - Make that about 20.  Is this normal or just pre-foie ban fever?

                      6 PM - Bar fills up right away. People without reservations are told there will be a wait. 

                      6:05 PM - One seat opens at bar, which I manage to get. 

                      6:10 PM - Order the pig tail and foie gras and biscuit, with a Sünner Kölsh. Two other people at bar ordering pig ears. 

                      6:20 PM - Got the pig tails. Will review later.

                      6:40 PM - Got the foie gras. Will review later.

                      7 PM - Out of the restaurant.

                      1. Second Stop: Red Medicine

                        7:10 PM - With no traffic, I arrived at Red Medicine in less than 10 minutes. Looking for parking.

                        7:30 PM - No luck with parking. Long line at Saban. Taking a chance with 1 hour parking a block away. 

                        7:40 PM - Had res but decide to sit at bar so I'm not taking up a table for two. I order the uni congee and just a ginger beer (still feeling the Sünner Kölsch from Animal).

                        8 PM - Uni congee arrives, smelling like a bowl of butter. Will review later.

                        8:20 PM - I tap out, asking for a box for about half the congee. (I can hear some of you chuckling out there!) Trying to decide if I should push my Hatfield's res to 9:30 PM.

                        1. Third Stop: Hatfield's

                          8:30 PM - I call to move the res to 9:30 PM.

                          9 PM - It takes about 20 minutes to get from RM to Hatfield's, and I find meter parking about a block away in front of a California Chicken Cafe. I may take a half hour siesta to digest the congee before my res. :-)

                          9:35 PM - After my nap (not really; listened to NPR, so same difference--kidding!) I walk in a few minutes after my appointed time and am told table will be a few more minutes. I see the bar has plenty of seats (3 or 4) and decide to eat at bar (full menu served, though prix fixe and tasting menu not usually served).

                          9:40 PM -  I order Bees Knees (Bellringer Gin, Albuquerque honey, lemon) and the foie.  Waiting to see how bursting I am after before I order croque. Taking my time...

                          10 PM - I am served the foie gras. It is the largest piece of foie gras that I've had recently, beating both Animal's and Shunji's. Review forthcoming.

                          10:20 PM - I order the croque and the Bitburger Drive (non-alcoholic) since I do have to drive.

                          10:35 PM - I am served the croque.

                          1. Hmm, that's what I get for posting and editing, I'm now past the 2-hour editable window.

                            Third Stop: Hatfield's (cont.)

                            10:45 PM - I leave the restaurant (croque review forthcoming).

                            Fourth Stop: Tacos Leo

                            11 PM - I arrive at La Brea and Venice. I see Tacos El Gallitos on my left, Tacos Leo on my right. I park, order the al pastor to go.

                            11:15 PM - I receive my al pastor, in a small, flat, square piece of foil. This will be my midnight snack, as I am stuffed!

                            11:30 PM - I am home!

                            12 AM - I'm about to try the al pastor taco. And then I will pass out.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: PeterCC

                              Congrats! Thanks for the update. I hope you will have a good recovery.