Los Angeles

LadyMLosAngeles zpsa394e794There’s a new cake in town. Actually, it’s a whole boutique full of cake and it’s here to stay! Lady M, the glorious cake boutique with three locations in New York City opened in LA last August, quietly without much fanfare but with a line out the door. It seems word spread fast among cake connoisseurs.

Coming upon it by accident while taking my daughter, in from NYC, to AOC for lunch, my daughter informed me that although I was at the wrong valet parking spot for AOC, I might be at the right parking spot after all.

“Huh?”

“Parking for AOC is half a block up, Mom, but if the Lady M on that valet sign is the same as the one in NY, we’re skipping lunch and going straight to dessert.”

“Hmmm , that good?”

“Seriously ridiculous.” (Her highest compliment).

Since we’re both over 21, I figured we we’re old enough to go straight to the good stuff.

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fraiche.jpgI know I’m really late to the game on this one, but I finally went to Fraiche in Culver City. I’m not going to lie, it wasn’t just chance that kept me from trying it. It’s not that I don’t want to give Culver City a chance. I do. And I have. I’ve been to Wilson – terrible and terribly expensive (good riddance). I’ve been to Akasha (and will probably go back)—I highly recommend the lamb sliders, but it’s a little expensive for me. I’ve even been to Royal/T where, although I do like the idea of eating in an interactive art gallery, the food is only so-so and there are way too many children running around. But my mom would not stop raving about Fraiche. So I decided to swallow my bias about Culver City and try it. Plus, Matt and I really needed to go on a date—for both of our sakes.

It was surprisingly easy to make a reservation and I guess they sensed we needed a “date” because they made us wait a few minutes so that we could have the best table in the house. The menu is full of fresh ingredients (baby beets, house-made ricotta), surprising combinations (white wine and saffron) and besides the shellfish platters, nothing is over $25. And the drinks are some of the best I’ve had in LA. I ordered the Summer Sage which is like spiked spa water and Matt had the Bourbon Street (Bourbon, Grand Marnier, egg whites and orange bitters) which I thought I was going to spit back up on the table but ended up liking so much that we’ve since tried (unsuccessfully) to make it at home.

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boa-sm-dining-room.jpgMy idea of a good time is dragging my sorry ass up the stairs after a long day, plopping down on the bed, snuggling with my husband and watching re-runs of Law and Order or, if God REALLY loves me, a NEW episode of Real Time With Bill Maher. This 4 star vacation is earned after a day of schlepping kids, policing homework and of course the dance of death known as feeding everyone.

I’ve lost the will to live at that point, so preparing food for myself is out of the question.  I hastily eat something over the sink or bring things up to the bed that can be dipped or combined such as pesto with bread and diet coke, or Cheezits and Cranberry Juice. Oy.

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chef-gordon-ramsay.jpg One for the Table has never engaged in deliberate snarkiness. I’ve certainly avoided it as I scrupulously adhered to the motto “if you can’t say anything nice…” But, in this economy, I find myself being a bit cranky when certain chefs hold themselves to a particular standard and humiliate others on national television, when they themselves have a restaurant that is pitiful. Gordon Ramsay has set himself up as the arbiter of quality, but after eating at The London twice now, I can tell you The Emperor has no clothes on.

The first time I went there, I was really excited to have the English Breakfast. I loves me sausages. What I got were these dry, jerky-like, lukewarm salt tubes accompanied by a roasted tomato whose flavor was incomprehensibly bad. How can you mess that up?

The second time I went was because my daughter’s admissions counselor for the college she’ll be attending in the fall was staying at the Bel Age hotel where The London is located. Looking over the menu, I felt like a pinball being battered around from bad choice to bad choice.

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ludosign.jpgAfter watching Ludo Lefebvre on Top Chef Masters I knew I wanted try out his food. Around the same time his episode aired he opened up a “pop-up” restaurant at Bread Bar on 3rd St. On Tuesday night a bunch of my friends and I went. Simply put the meal was amazing. It’s really a mixture of classical french food and molecular gastronomy. Onto the food.

The table that was supposed to be ours decided they wanted to sit and talk for a long time so we had to wait. To make up for this Ludo’s very nice wife brought us out some lobster medallions with daikon & rosemary with a honey-sherry vinaigrette. It was amazing and great indication of things to come. It looked like a scallop and the sauce was very strong and sweet so the lobster was mainly there for texture.

One of the best things about the meal was the butter for the bread. It was a homemade honey and lavander butter.

First came the chorizo soup with cantaloupe and cornichon. It really tastes like the essence of chorizo. It was perfect. When there was only a little left we almost fought over it like junkyard dogs.

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