This may be a must-try, if I can find a place that’s demoing the device. Zabar’s, Williams Sonoma, Sur La Table, anyone? But – is it smoky? Will it taste as good without, you know, the cooking-in-its-own-fat thing?
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I did a quick jump to LA to attend a panel and have dinner with two of my close friends, D and R; it was nearing his birthday and he hates celebrating, so they bought me dinner. That’s my kind of friend!
Normally we hit the master or the alternative, but this time, we opted for a place called BOA. I love staying in Santa Monica – I remember back in the good old days, I’d get the corporate rate at Shutters, stay the long weekend and the money I saved on airfare, I spent on the hotel. And my girlfriend, now Ms. B, would come out. This time I stayed at the Biltmore, a long way from Shutters, but surprisingly not bad.
BOA’s next to Sushi Roku, owned by the same folks apparently. R had recently gotten back from French Laundry, and both have eaten more Kobe and Wagyu beef than I have. On the other hand, I’ve been to the temple, Luger’s, while they haven’t. They were busy extolling the virtues of the stuff; at least once they hit the Kobe while on Microsoft’s tab. That’s the way to do it.
BOA, like LA, is a bit of a scene; the hostess, an Asian woman with cleavage (?!?!?) made me wonder as I often do in LA, if those were real. It’s loud, sort of slick, and yet the ‘heavyset’ guy with the ‘tacky’ looking date looked like then could have been from Jersey and the back of TimeOut NY, if you know what I mean. She had the practice-honed walk according to R, apparently she knows of such things.
We all split an order of raw oysters; they were pretty good. I had the Wedge, iceberg + blue cheese, you can’t go wrong with the nutritionally vapid. Sides: sautéed seasonal mushrooms, mac ‘n cheese and … I can’t remember. Jesus. I’m guessing it was a vegetable, so let’s just say asparagus. Besides, no one goes to a steakhouse for sides, right? And I do know we didn’t finish them.
D and R ordered the filet, and because I think the filet’s tender at the expense of flavor, I ordered the 40 day dry aged New York Strip. Rare, of course. It lacked the intense char of the Luger and Luger spin-off ovens, which at its best, contrasts the pungent crunch with the sweet buttery flesh. It was perfectly serviceable, and the company was great (we talked shop most of the night), and I got to see my two friends in couple-ness. (They just moved in together.)
It is a reminder that LA’s a sushi and Mexican food town. LA sushi crushes NY sushi for the most part (each sushi order is 2 pieces!), though there are some local stalwarts (including our own Sasabune). Mexican? That’s as lopsided as the recent Knicks-Celtics debacle. New York is a steak city – Old Homestead and Craftsteak are near my new office, and of course Ben & Jacks, Wolfgang’s, I’ve yet to try Blair Perrone or MarcJoseph are all offshoots of the beloved cranky Luger’s. (D did go to Ben & Jacks at our friend’s bachelor party.)
We went back to D & R’s house, I had a cellophane-wrapped Japanese cream puff (like Beard Papa) which was delicious. Hung out, then called a cab back to the hotel. Flight was delayed out of LAX, deplaned and wandered off and had a burger at Ruby’s, skipped the meal in United business class – breakfast is the worst of the food service in any class.
Once again, no camera, too dark for my phone and R didn’t bring hers, for once.BOA – Santa Monica
101 Santa Monica Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90401
We weren’t exactly in a fight, but we were having the first major problem in our six-month-young relationship. So the first thing I did at Borough Food and Drink was order a seriously alcoholic but fruity cocktail. I can’t remember what it was, but it tasted good and worked—both to distract me and keep me from freaking out all over the table.
I admit that my mood might have colored my feelings about Borough. I’m not the hugest fan of 5 Ninth, one of consulting chef Zak Pelaccio’s other digs. But I love the super-succulent, gimme-an-extra-napkin Malaysian food he does at Fatty Crab, also over in the Meatpacking.
By the time we got to Borough, BF had eaten, so I was the only one ordering. Nice–arguing AND eating alone, all in one shot! The squash soup sounded divine, but they were all out. I opted for the seared striped bass, which comes with clams, chorizo, spring vegetables, pastis, and croutons. (It’s reasonably priced at $22, not much more than the cocktails.) I thought it was chewy, but liked the clams and couldn’t find the chorizo. BF, who was big time in the doghouse, thought it was excellent. It could be that I’m not enough of a striped bass connoisseur, but because told me two days prior that my size-four body needed to spend more time on the treadmill, we’re currently not taking his opinion into account. Verdict: chewy.
But the food isn’t the problem—or the reason I think Borough is not long for this world. Neither is the block. Across the street is one of my favorite places, Bolo. (Part of a secret relationship took place there.) Tamarind, with its lovely upscale Indian food, is a tad farther east. Right by that is Beppe. (Where I lunched with a slightly crazy woman who had briefly pursued my then-boyfriend, and I knew that, but she didn’t know that I knew, and it gets even more complicated after that…)
Thing is, 12 East 22nd Street is cursed.
Before it was Borough Food and Drink, it was the unfortunately named Caviar and Bananas, which I (and lots of other people) never set foot in. It lasted two years. Before that it was Rocco’s on 22nd, the setting for Rocco DiSpirito’s reality television show. Life span: about a year. And before that it was Russian-themed bar called Commune. It was dark and sleek and kind of cool (Though maybe I think that because I associate it with a man I had a drink with in 2002, not having any clue that we’d be in a relationship four years later. And he is quite the snob.) but often empty.
So it’s not the fault of the owners that Borough is big and open and relatively high-ceilinged, and that its shape doesn’t match the farmhouse décor—open shelves and rough wood paneling—or the Hot97 music or the many dowdy, slightly heavyset women at the tables. (I know how rude and snotty that sounds. But least the place could offer some good gawking.) That address has some bad juju.
Of course, maybe I am the problem. Maybe me and my relationship drama just need to stay off 22nd Street.
OK, this is going to be YAFB.
Yet another food blog.
Man, do we love good food, though.